HCA Member Publishes Article in Caring Magazine on Employee Engagement

In the January issue of Caring Magazine, Executive Vice President for MetroWest Home Care & Hospice Jane Pike Benton published an article on engaging employees to foster a successful culture within home health agencies.

Benton writes that recognizing employees and showing appreciation is critical. She shares some of the strategies that MetroWest Home Care & Hospice has implemented and some of the processes and planning the agency went through such as creating a Great Expectations (GE) Team, which was assembled with highly motivated and engaged employees who were already setting an example. This team the established a set of standards and values by which all employees on the agency were held accountable and that appears at the top of each performance evaluation.

The article beings on page 20 of the January edition of Caring Magazine.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Celebrate and Raise Awareness: November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

Every year, the home care and hospice community celebrates and raises awareness of the services that help keep people independent and at home for National Home Care & Hospice Month and National Family Caregivers Month in November.

With the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction debating proposals to reduce the nation’s debt by trillions of dollars, the advocacy focus for this year must focus on opposing suggestions to impose copayments on Medicare home health services. A message also has to be sent that home care paid it’s fair share, $39.7 billion over ten years to be exact, for implementing the Affordable Care Act as well as how the industry has been thrown years of regulatory reductions.

Home care and hospice are cost-effective methods that care for people in the setting where they are most comfortable and familiar. Please help the Home Care Alliance raise awareness of these important issues and services, but also celebrate the great work performed by aides, clinicians, managers and all staff that make those services possible.

Here are some ways to celebrate and raise awareness for National Home Care & Hospice Month:

For Providers –

Press Release: Tailor this press release on National Home Care and Hospice Month to include information about your agency and the services you provide. Then, distribute to your local newspaper and/or local senior newsletter (Please contact the Alliance if you would like assistance or have any questions). There is also a separate press release template for hospices.

Op-Ed/Letter to the Editor: Select from the Opinion-Editorial drafts below depending on your interest (HCA would be happy to work with agencies on more specific or localized op-eds or letters to the editor).

For Everyone –

Facebook: Go to the Home Care Alliance’s Facebook page and click “like” on the most recent status regarding Home Care Month.

Twitter: add the hash-tag #homecaremonth to your tweets this month and especially if you’re helping celebrate and raise awareness.

Posters: Download and print the posters below. Post in your home or office, or send to friends and colleagues.

Advocacy: Send an email advocacy message to legislators from HCA’s Legislative Action Center.

Resources for Caregivers:

-Order the Home Care Alliance’s new 2012 Guide to Private Home Care Services and see HCA’s other helpful publications.

Alzheimer’s Disease caregiver tip sheet from the National Family Caregivers Association.

Guide to Advance Care Planning from the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization.

-Information on the Home Care Alliance’s Home Care Accreditation Program.

-Read President Obama’s Proclamation to honor National Family Caregiver’s Month.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Home Care Alliance Promoting DEA Drug Take-Back Program

Unused Drug DisposalThe Home Care Alliance and participating member agencies are encouraging home health patients and their families to participate in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Across the state and the nation, collection stations will be available at police stations, fire stations, senior centers and other facilities so that people can turn in unused and unwanted medications so that they can be disposed of safely. This year’s event marks the third annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, where the first two programs combined to collect 309 tons of prescription drugs that were turned in, according to the DEA.

The Alliance has a press release template for member home health agencies interested in participating in this program and can contact James Fuccione at HCA for details.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Home Care Accreditation Reaches 60 Agencies

The Home Care Alliance is proud to announce that the Home Care Accreditation Program offered to private pay agencies, has now reached 60 providers!

See our press release on this important milestone below:

Home Care Accreditation Program Reaches 60 Agencies

New Stricter Standards for Private Pay Home Care Providers

Boston, MA – With brand new standards that are more stringent to protect patients, improve quality care and promote ethical business practices, the Home Care Accreditation Program offered by the non-profit Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts for private pay home care providers, continues to grow and has now reached it’s 60th agency.

“These new standards for Accreditation raise the bar for agencies, which only can lead to positive things for patients looking to remain independent in their homes,” said Home Care Alliance Executive Director Patricia Kelleher. “We hope the public realizes that this simply isn’t a stamp of approval, but a strong display of our commitment to quality and assurance that these agencies are meeting strict standards. Families deserve that peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the best services out there.”

In the absence of meaningful licensure requirements for providers of home care services in Massachusetts, the Home Care Alliance established this Accreditation Program for Private Pay agencies, which do not receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid.

The standards were developed over several months in consultation with 14 agencies throughout the Commonwealth.  These standards require that agencies submit an application and documentation to the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.  Alliance staff and member agencies then review the application to ensure that applicants meet all of the standards. Recently, the Home Care Alliance’s Board of Directors approved stronger standards that are meant to show the organization’s commitment to maintaining quality services.

Agencies seeking accreditation answer questions in fifteen categories, including training requirements, administrative protocols, and business practices.  They are required to show documentation in answer to questions regarding service plans between clients and the agency, procedures around responding to complaints, and their oversight of caregivers.

“We wanted to provide leadership for an area that is becoming more and more important in Massachusetts,” added Kelleher, “These standards highlight our agencies’ best practices, which will help guide members of the public as they choose who will take care of their loved ones in their homes. We aim to approve as many private care agencies as we possibly can in Massachusetts to prove our state’s commitment to quality home-based care.”

A full list of accredited agencies from across the state, and more information about the Accreditation Program standards, is available at www.thinkhomecare.org/accreditation.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

How Home Care Can Help Family Caregivers

In a moving piece at The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch describes the enormous strain — both physical and psychological — he of being a family care giver:

In the early weeks, I was protective of his independence. He believed that confinement in a nursing home would kill him, and I understood that his autonomy was the thread by which his emotional health hung. But his motor control was not cooperating. By summer, he was having trouble getting out of bed. Many days, he relied on the maintenance man to dress him, or never managed to dress properly at all. On several occasions, I arrived in his apartment to find him lying on the floor, unable to get up. He was no longer able to manage his own mail or appointments. Often his slurred voice on the phone was barely intelligible. When I called, he would manage to pick up the phone but said only “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” before hanging up. Continue reading “How Home Care Can Help Family Caregivers”

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