Announcing our "Home, Not Alone" Speakers Bureau Campaign

The Alliance’s Home Care Speakers Bureau can bring presentations on careers and other subjects to nursing schools, job fairs, or student assemblies.

Health care is moving out of the institutional setting and into people’s homes. Nursing and other allied health professional positions are following a similar path as the percentage of nurses moving into work a in hospital setting continues to decrease annually. Yet, newly graduated nurses often leave school not having been exposed to the nursing opportunities and high degree of complexity and independence in home health care practice.

Our Home, Not Alone campaign seeks to drive interest in, and confidence about, making a nursing career in home care or hospice.

Our dedicated speakers will bring presentations on careers and other subjects to nursing schools, job fairs, or student assemblies. Here is just a snippet of a presentation:

For more information about the program, visit the Home Care Speakers Bureau on our website.

Star Awards Shine Spotlight on Home Care’s Best

Last month, the Alliance recognized six outstanding individuals as our 2019 Home Care Stars. These are their stories.

Last month, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts gathered the industry at Granite Links in Quincy to honor six amazing individuals who represent the best of home care.

(L-R: Nicole Geddes, Me McBride, Vinette Tyme, Gerry Sanderson, Robin Pelletier, Sandy Hurley)

Since 1989, this fantastic event has celebrated the hard work of individuals and organizations who exemplify home care’s best values. More importantly, awardees are nominated by their colleagues and supervisors; winners are then selected by the Alliance’s Membership Committee.

Here’s a look at this year’s awardees, with excerpts from their nominations:

Me McBride, South Shore VNA, Aide of the Year

Imagine being the family member of a once-strong, determined man whose mind has been crippled by Alzheimer’s. You pray for help, and your prayers are answered in the form of an “earthly angel” named Me McBride.

She enters your home and takes charge with compassion and experience but — most of all — with respect for your loved one. For Me, the patient always comes first.

Vinette Tyme, HouseWorks, Aide of the Year

Vinette is a passionate home health aide, often described by colleagues and clients alike as “a dream” to work with, due to her dedication and exceptional skillset. She has an innate ability to anticipate clients’ needs and form personalized and effective strategies that work for them.

No task is too big or too small for her.

Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP, NVNA and Hospice, Clinician of the Year
Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP

Gerry has cared for hundreds of patients and families in the South Shore and her devotion to her patients is second to none.

Her approachable and positive demeanor is reflected in the way her patients interact with her, creating a safe and nurturing environment for all involved.

Nicole Geddes, LPN, Aberdeen Home Care, Clinician of the Year

Nicole delivers care, no matter what. If there is a need, she is there. She’s a roll-up-your-sleeves nurse, willing to jump-in and help an aide when needed or to manage a crisis in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or on Christmas Day.

She knows what to do and does it with tremendous skill.

Robin Pelletier, RN BSN, Southcoast VNA, Manager of the Year

Robin has successfully led Southcoast VNA’s Supportive Care Center since October 2016, where she guides an interdisciplinary team of 75 people. Her greatest accomplishment has been the extraordinary growth and quality of hospice services, doubling Southcoast’s average daily census and average length of stay.

Sandy Hurley, Commonwealth Clinical Services, Home Care Champion

Sandy embodies everything we value about nursing in the community. She is best known for “doing what needs to be done” from home visits, to setting up clinics, to teaching high school students about healthcare, to playing the piano at just about any function.

This year, Sandy extended her professional talents and skills to the mountains of the Dominican Republic, helping provide over 100 patients a day with health assessments, medications, and critical supplies.

As 2019 comes to a close and the industry prepares for a historic year of changes, the Star Awards allows us to pause and remember the dedicated workforce that makes home care such a success.

Congratulations and thank you to the 2019 Star Award Winners.

The Alliance Revamps Its Advocacy Action Center

The Alliance’s redesigned Advocacy Action Center makes it easier for members to communicate with their elected officials on the pressing issues facing their agencies.

HCA CapitolFor the first time in many years, the Alliance has redesigned its Advocacy Action Center website, offering members an enhanced advocacy experience so they can easily communicate with their elected officials on the pressing issues facing their agencies. This  post will highlight some of the key changes so that you are prepared to take action and make a difference!

Main-Page Scrolling Advocacy Feature

The main Advocacy Action Center page now features a scrolling banner of key advocacy initiatives that the Alliance and its members are working on. The banner has a functioning link which you can click on to bring you directly to the action center to quickly send an email to your elected official.

Main-Page Buttons

Under the scrolling banner, you will see three buttons linking to sub-pages. This organizes the Advocacy Action Center into three easily accessible topics: Legislative Priorities, Testimony/Comments, and Facts & Figures. Note: The Facts & Figures sub-page is currently being updated.

Legislative Priorities Sub-Page

Among the biggest of changes, is our newly designed Legislative Priorities page. For the first time, members now have a centralized landing page which organizes all of the Alliance’s legislative priorities in one place. You’ll see the page is split in half, organized by State and Federal priorities.

You’ll also see that each legislative issue has a brief overview of the issue and the solution that HCA supports. Underneath each blurb are links to download the fact sheets for, or take action on, the issue!

We hope that you will find our new advocacy center easier to use so that you can engage with your elected officials, while focusing on running your agency!

Talking Home Care: Building (and Keeping) a Better Workforce with Technology

Pat Kelleher is joined by CareAcademy’s Helen Adeosun and HouseWorks’s Andrea Cohen to discuss tech solutions to the workforce issues challenging the home care industry.

Helen Adeosun, Andrea Cohen, and Pat Kelleher
Helen Adeosun, Andrea Cohen, and Pat Kelleher

For the 11th episode of the Talking Home Care podcast, we are joined by two home care leaders to talk about solutions to one of the industry’s biggest challenges: recruiting, educating, and retaining care givers in a competitive market.

Helen Adeosun and Andrea Cohen both started their careers in home care as caregivers. Later, Helen would launch CareAcademy, an online learning platform, while Andrea would found HouseWorks, one of the largest private pay home care agencies in Massachusetts. In addition to their personal insights on workforce issues, the two also discuss their companies’ recent collaboration.

(If you’re a return listener from iTunes, please re-subscribe to the podcast; we’ve moved the feed to a new location).

Listen on iTunes
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You may listen to the podcast by clicking either of the podcast images, clicking “play” above, or downloading it directly (Length: 39 minutes; Size: 31 MB). If you enjoy the podcast, please give us a five-star review so others can find it.

Specific topics include:

    • How agencies can attract and keep their best employees by offering a career path to all positions.
    • How a mobile education platform can serve a mobile workforce.
    • How online education streamlines on-boarding and makes time available for hands-on training.
    • How technology — whether for training or other purposes — can give agencies actionable data about their operations.

Host: Patricia Kelleher is the executive director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

GuestsHelen Adeosun is the co-founder and CEO of CareAcademy. Based in Boston, CareAcademy is one of the most innovative online training platforms for the home care industry. Andrea Cohen is the CEO and founder of HouseWorks, one of the largest private care home care agencies in Massachusetts.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

2019 Private Care Guides to Help Families Find Home Care

Now in its 13th edition, the Guide to Private Home Care Services has connected tens of thousands of families with the home care agencies that best meet their needs. While our Resource Directory is intended for professionals who make regular referrals, the Private Care Guides are designed for consumers and are always available at no charge. Choose from among three regional editions:

(Click one of the thumbnails to place your free order).

The Guides contains county-by-county cross-references, as well as short essays about:

  • What home care is;
  • How to pay for it;
  • How to choose an agency, and;
  • What the advantages are of working with an agency over other options.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Report on the Massachusetts Serious Illness Coalition

The MA Serious Illness Coalition pushes to bring awareness and focus on end-of-life issues.

“It is my goal that every nursing school in MA embrace that a nursing student must see a dying patient with the same fervor that they embrace that every nurse must see a baby being born.”
— Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, RN
Director of Research, Care Dimensions, Inc

Last week, the Massachusetts Serious Illness Coalition hosted its annual meeting welcoming more than 100 attendees to the JFK Library in Boston. The message from the Coalition’s leadership – as articulated by Blue Cross Blue Shield MA President and CEO – is that “the momentum is building.” From the Coalition’s beginnings less than five years ago, Dreyfus has focused on a long-term strategy to achieve the Coalition’s six goals. These include the ideas that everyone in Massachusetts 18 years or older has a designated health care decision-maker and that all Massachusetts clinicians have appropriate training to communicate comfortably with patients around advanced care planning and serious illness. Dreyfus has likened the work to that done in years past on smoking and on car seats, where steady force and public messaging achieved near-universal changes in public thinking.

The progress on clinician education – from a provider association perspective – is perhaps the most engaging and encouraging news. Dr Atul Gwande, as eloquent as ever, declared that the work to date has shown that: “People have priorities in life beyond just surviving, but you must ask them. Suffering happens when care doesn’t match our priorities.”

In addition to a public education campaign about engaging in advanced care planning conversations, Dr. Gwande announced that the Coalition is in talks with all four Massachusetts medical schools about a cooperative effort to require training of med students in serious illness communication as a graduation requirement.

But it was Dr, Hurley’s remarks that struck home for the home health and hospice agencies in the Coalition. In addition to the above comment, Dr. Hurley spoke of being a young nurse “totally unprepared as to how to talk to the dying.” Along with her subcommittee co-chair Anne Marie Barron of Simmons College, she is working on recommendations on core competencies for nursing education related to serious illness care. These are to be presented in the near future to the Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing. What a great achievement that would be!

For those following the Coalition’s work, these may also be of interest:

  1. End Games, an Academy Award-nominated short documentary on hospice and palliative care executive produced by Shoshana Ungerleider, MD. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was acquired by Netflix.

2. The Coalition’s public message research and draft public facing marketing approaches.

Commendable progress!

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

HCA and Northeastern University Partner on Nurse Symposium in June

These days, it seems like every week a new report is published sounding the alarm of a rapidly aging population across the United States and a shortage of workers prepared to care for this barreling silver tsunami. So much of the media coverage and research is focused on the paraprofessional workforce.

See for example, these reports/publications:

However, the Home Care Alliance member surveys indicate that the problem is broader than just a shortage of home health aides. The availability of a trained nursing workforce to meet a growing home-based health care delivery system is also emerging as an issue. Compounding challenges are impacting our ability as an industry to attract nursing students into home and community-based settings after nursing school.  That is why, on June 7th the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts and Northeastern’s School of Nursing are hosting a symposium on the very topic of building a home care nursing workforce at Northeastern University from 9AM – 3PM.

The event, titled: Nursing Call to Action: Building a Nursing Workforce to Deliver Complex Care at Home, will bring together more than 25 nursing schools and 25 home health providers for a day-long session. The program will kick-start a dialogue brainstorming new approaches for preparing and exposing Massachusetts nursing students for an increasingly intensive health delivery system in the home.

This event will look past the issue of reimbursement rates or ever-changing reforms at CMS, and instead will focus on four key areas:

  1. Identifying knowledge and skills gaps for LPN/RN new-grads and what changes can be made to address the gaps and develop competencies in executing highly complex services
  2. Elevating the visibility to nursing schools of the growing demand for home-based services and the need to expose students to possible careers in home care nursing
  3. Identifying strategies on recruitment as new-grads and experienced nurses prepare for possible careers in home care nursing
  4. Identifying barriers and strategies to get home health agencies more involved in clinical placements for nursing students

If you would like more information on this event, please reach out to Jake Krilovich. Please note: There is limited space for this event!