Homecare agency owners know that their success is hinged on the ability to provide care that meets and exceeds the expectations of their clients. However, within the in-home elder care industry the term “client” typically does not just refer to the person receiving care. In reality, there are often family caregivers who provide care and companionship when homecare services are not on duty. These husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandchildren and siblings are the faces of the American family caregiver. A population whose worries are centered around the wellbeing of an aging loved one, and who are an important part of homecare agency clientele.
As a homecare operator, your ability to provide the highest quality of care can be enhanced by gaining a better understanding of your clients and their families. ClearCare recently conducted a market research survey of 100 family caregivers paying for elder care assistance. The results revealed that the concerns of family members have common threads running throughout, regardless of each unique situation. Let’s examine a sampling of the findings and how this information can be utilized to improve the service of your homecare agency.
1. Worry: Concerns About Care
When asked to list their top three concerns, 32% of survey respondents stated that they worry about the quality of care. When not in the home, family members wonder if their loved one is being treated with respect and kindness, or if duties are being handled according to the care plan. An additional 27% expressed concern over the competency of caregivers and whether or not the caregiver was trained to handle potential emergencies, or if they would be distracted from their work with personal phone calls or watching television.
It’s not hard to understand that families may be concerned with entrusting the care of a loved one, who may be physically or mentally frail, to an “outsider;” especially in when a new caregiver is assigned. Utilizing ClearCare homecare software provides family members with the peace of mind that caregivers must follow and update their care plan throughout the day, as well as clock-in and out, and record any missed tasks or issues during the day. Making this information available to family clients in real-time via ClearCare’s secure web portal instills a sense of accountability, reliable oversight, and transparency within your homecare agency.
2. Worry: Nutritional Concerns
After quality of care, nutrition ranked as the second highest worry among ClearCare caregiver survey respondents. 25% of the family caregivers we spoke with expressed significant concern about when, what and how much their senior loved ones were eating. Although concerns about skipping meals were prevalent, many were concerned that meals did not meet nutritional guidelines for individuals with conditions that caused dietary restrictions like diabetes or high cholesterol.
Solution: Training & Communication
Tracking meal times, dietary restriction, and the type and amount of food consumed can alleviate concerns about nutrition, and like other tasks, meal tasks can be tracked and communicated via ClearCare. However, in order for your caregiver employees to be empowered to prepare appropriate meals, training is key. Consider hosting a staff training with a registered dietician to help caregivers understand the unique dietary needs of seniors. Meanwhile, employees working with clients who have dietary restrictions can be coached on the basics of preparing low sugar, low-fat, and low-sodium foods. Empowering your employees with knowledge gives peace of mind to your clients, and confidence to referral sources.
The concerns discussed here are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to homecare consumer worries. Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to examine what elements of senior care prove most stressful for your client base, and provide suggestions for solutions that combine the power of ClearCare with training and great customer service. Know thy customer, improve thy service; grow thy business!