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.

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!

Talking Home Care: Amanda Oberlies on “No on MA Ballot Question 1”

Amanda Oberlies of the Organization of Nurse Leaders joins us to discuss why her organization (and the Alliance) oppose Massachusetts Ballot Question #1.

The Alliance’s Pat Kelleher &
ONL’s Amanda Oberlies

Should health care facilities have their nurse-to-patient ratios defined by law? That’s the question put to Massachusetts voters this coming Tuesday. Amanda Oberlies of the Organization of Nurse Leaders joins us to discuss why her organization (and the Alliance) oppose Massachusetts Ballot Question #1. Their conversation covers:

  • Who’s behind the ballot question and why?
  • What is the intersection of staffing-ratios and quality?
  • How does California’s experience with a similar law correlate to the MA proposal?

You may listen to the podcast by clicking the play button below, downloading it directly, or subscribing through iTunes or Google Play. (Length: 30 minutes; Size: 24 MB). If you enjoy it, please give us a five-star review so others can find it.

Host: Patricia Kelleher is the Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

Guest: Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies, PhD, MBA, RN, CENP, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL).


Talking Home Care LogoDon’t want to miss the next episode of Talking Home Care? Subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, or accessing its feed directly.

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Special Guest Blog Post: Recognition and Advocacy During National Nurses Week

by Diane Jeffery, Executive Director of American Nurses Association – MassachusettsANA-MA

In celebrating National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we are, of course, taking the time to appreciate and recognize the daily contribution that nurses make to improving patients’ lives, but we are also focused on improving and advancing nursing as a profession – this week, and every week.

The theme of 2016 National Nurses Week is “A Culture of Safety – It Starts with YOU!” With that in mind, the American Nurses Association (ANA) is asking nurses to take personal responsibility in helping make their workplaces safer to enhance patient care and nurses’ health and well-being. We invite home health agencies to visit to view resources on how you can celebrate and recognize your nurses.

We are also pleased to carry out that vision in our advocacy. At the national level, ANA supports the Home Health Planning Improvement Act, which would allow Advanced Practice Nurses – including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives – to sign home health plans of care and certify Medicare patients for the home health benefit.

While APRNs satisfy Medicaid’s face-to-face requirement needed before home health can be authorized, APRNs are prohibited from signing home health plans of care and certifying Medicare patients for the home health benefit. This creates unnecessary delays and places impediments between an individual and the in-home care that they prefer and medically deserve.

At the state level, ANA-Massachusetts has long been a supporter of An Act Relative to Home Health and Hospice Aides, better known to some as the “Nurse Delegation” bill. It would allow, but not mandate, that a nurse may delegate certain medication administration tasks to a trained and certified home health or hospice aide.

Massachusetts is behind 36 other states that allow some type of delegation. If we are to care for an aging population, reduce costs by strengthening healthcare in the home and create efficiencies in our healthcare workforce, we need to elevate nurses to practice at the top of their license and elevate the aides that are critical team members.

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Boston Globe’s ‘Salute to Nurses’ Recognizes Home Care

Home care had a prominent place in this year’s “Salute to Nurses,” a special section published every year in the Boston Globe recognizing the work of nurses in every health care setting.

The compassionate and high-quality care of nurses from several home care agencies were recognized, including CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice, Comfort Home Care, Emerson Hospital Home Care, Hallmark Health VNA & Hospice, and Home Health VNA. Many more stories from patients, their families and nurse colleagues highlighted cases where a nurse from a setting other than home care arranged for post-acute services or follow-up in some way.

Although it wasn’t from a traditional home care agency, another article was dedicated to Allison Neff, a  nurse in Boston Medical Center’s “Elders Living at Home” Program. The article explains:

Neff joined the Elders Living at Home Program, which prevents homelessness among seniors, in 2008. Her job is to conduct home visits to ELAHP patients who don’t qualify for visiting nurse services provided by the state, but who need assistance with some aspect of their health. Many of her patients are at imminent risk of losing their housing, or were homeless and are now transitioning into housing.

The Home Care Alliance will be recognizing all levels of home care staff at the annual Innovation Showcase & Star Awards on June 14th. Clinicians, aides, managers, physicians and other home care champions can be nominated for recognition at the event’s website.

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CDC, Mass DPH Release Updated Ebola Guidance for Healthcare Workers

On October 20th, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released stricter guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended for healthcare workers treating patients with the Ebola virus.

The new enhanced guidance from CDC is centered on three principles:

  • All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including putting it on and taking it off in a systemic manner
  • No skin exposure when PPE is worn
  • All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker putting PPE on and taking it off.

These principles and other guidance listed on the new advisory appear to be geared towards healthcare facilities and are based on lessons learned from those hospitals and clinics that have treated Ebola cases in the US thus far, including Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

Also on October 20th, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Boston Public Health Commission released updated clinical guidance on sending in patient specimens for laboratory testing for suspected Ebola cases. According to DPH, prior to sending a sample, the facility should consult the MDPH Hinton State Laboratory Institute for specimen collection, handling, packaging and transport advice via the 24/7 lab number (617-590-6390).

More information will be shared as it becomes available.

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HCA Celebrates National Nurses Week

The Home Care Alliance is proud to join associations and medical providers from across the state and country in celebrating National Nurses Week.

Every year on May 6-12, National Nurses Week raises awareness of the value of nursing and the hard work performed everyday by nurses in all health care settings. In particular, the Home Care Alliance thanks the nurses working in home health care – along with the therapists, social workers, aides and other staff that are part of the care team with nurses – to ensure that people can remain at home for as long as possible.

Recently, the Home Care Alliance held the annual Home Care Innovations Showcase and Star Awards where the association recognized Patricia Darling from the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston and Shirley Lucier of VNA Care Network  with HCA’s “Clinician of the Year” awards. Many of the Innovation Awards to home health agencies recognized forward-thinking practices or policies that involved nurses as a vital component.

For those looking to join in recognizing nurses, the American Nurses Association hosts a special National Nurses Week website with resources and reports on the nursing profession and how to celebrate.

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Best Around the Home Care Web IV

Each week, the Alliance scours the blogosphere for the news affecting — and of interest to — the home care industry.  Here are highlights from this week:

How Home Care Helped Save the Day During Hurricane Sandy

Rosita Ortiz, RN of the VNSNY on how home care saved the day during last year’s storm:

What Happens If A Client’s Power of Attorney Designee… Becomes Incompetent?

Making end of life wishes clear is crucial, both for each individual and their family members. It’s also vital to designate who will look out for your interests and desires when the time comes to assure your wishes are honored…

Fast forward five to ten years (or more) in the future and the holder of the power of attorney, the one charged with seeing that your senior loved one’s final wishes are followed, is now incompetent to carry out that role and may even be causing trouble due to their incompetence. — via Senior Care Corner.

NAHC Still Accepting Nurse Recognition Nominations

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has extended the deadline to submit nominations to the Nurse Recognition Program to Monday, April 15, 2013. Each of the 50 state winners will receive a free registration to the NAHC Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, DC, and will be featured in the May issue of CARING. —  Via, HCAF

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Nominate Your Best Nurses for Boston Globe Honors and Annual HCA Event

The Boston Globe will be running a special section called the “Salute to Nurses,” which will be a standalone broadsheet section appearing in The Boston Sunday Globe on May 5, 2013. This section will focus on the stories that readers submit, recognizing the impact nurses have on patients’ lives.

Over the past 11 years, thousands of people have found “Salute to Nurses” to be a meaningful and public place to give thanks to the nurses who have helped them or loved ones through difficult times.

Visit the Boston Globe’s online form and submit your best nurse stories and, for agencies, encourage your patients to do the same if they have had a exceptional experience. This is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the work of home health nurses.

Another opportunity to spotlight the great work from nurses, aides, and other staff is to nominate them for a “Star Award,” which will be given out at HCA’s annual Innovations Showcase and Star Awards Ceremony on April 17th at the Revere Hotel in Boston.

See the posting on the Alliance’s Calendar of Events for more details.

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Skilled Teaching for Dementia Patients

NHIC, Corp. has just released a medical policy article that addresses a specific category of skilled nursing care currently available to Medicare home health beneficiaries who have dementia with behavioral disturbances; A51856 Home Health Skilled Nursing Care: Teaching and Training for Dementia Patients with Behavioral Disturbances.  The category of skilled nursing is called “teaching and training activities”, defined in the CMS Manual System. The Medicare beneficiaries with dementia and behavioral disturbances could receive a patient-centered care plan directed at teaching the family or caregiver how to manage the behavioral disturbances.

Refer to Article A51856 for sample case scenarios and details on documentation, coding guidelines, and potential interventions

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