Always Best Care, AccordCare Making 'Critical' Training Investments To Fuel Growth
Education is emerging as a key tool for home-based care providers as they try to recruit and retain staff.
When utilized correctly, quality education is a resource that can help providers keep up with market demand.
Always Best Care learned education's importance firsthand through its own struggles.
"We did an in-depth study in house," Sheila Davis, senior executive vice president of area operations at Always Best Care, said recently at Home Health Care News’ Capital + Strategy conference. "[Our caregivers] felt like they were insufficiently educated, and they did not have support, so we have really tried to increase the educational aspects so that they have the proper training."
Roseville, California-based Always Best Care is a home care franchise company that operates across 225 territories in 30 states and Canada.
Davis also noted the importance of career development and advancement for caregivers.
"As an industry, we all need to take a step back and look at where we first began in this business," she said. "Are we still in the same position that we were when we first stepped in this business? I’ve been in the business for 33 years, and I started out as a file clerk in my mother's office, but that's not where I wanted to stay. I don't believe that caregivers come into the industry wanting to stay a caregiver for the rest of their lives."
Davis stressed that providers should look into ways that the company can support caregivers on this journey, a journey that often starts with education.
At AccordCare, there has been a greater emphasis on taking care of more clinically complex patients as the company continues to grow its footprint.
Part of convincing health systems and payers that it is able to take on these patients is having properly trained clinicians, according to AccordCare CEO Brandon Ballew.
"It's critical to make sure that you’re able to deliver education on those chronic or acute diseases that are going to allow that person to stay in their home," he said during the discussion at Capital + Strategy. "You can't just wish them to stay there. There has to be actual training, education and techniques delivered onto those clients, so that they can stay better in their home."
AccordCare's service lines include personal care, skilled nursing, clinically complex care and companion services in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.
One thing that will be crucial for personal care, in particular, is more standardization when it comes to training.
"We all know we need to have standardized licensing across the U.S. so that all organizations are held accountable, but I think there truly needs to be a standardized platform developed that all caregivers go through," Davis said. "CareAcademy is one of our great partners that is helping us to do that."
Davis pointed out that, in non-licensure states, it is difficult to determine what requirements and platforms for training are in place.
The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) — a longtime advocate for greater standardization for personal care providers — is working to develop a standardized care track, according to Davis. She is an active member of HCAOA.
On its end, AccordCare has made moves to measure the effectiveness of its training and education programs.
"We track several different things," Ballew said. "[We track] clinical outcomes, both on the personal care and the home health side. Employee engagement surveys are very critical, and a lot of that has education components to it."
Ultimately, for providers looking to recruit caregivers and clinicians, education and training can be true differentiators, giving agencies an edge over competitors that often seek staff from the same talent pool.
"That's one of the things that allows us to kind of recruit and retain people better, offering those platforms," Ballew said. "A lot of our competition does not do that, because it is such a tight-margin business. You’ve got to make the investment, and do it, and it does pay off."
AccordCare, Always Best Care
Joyce Famakinwa is a Chicago area native who cut her teeth as a journalist and writer covering the worker's compensation industry and creating branded content for tech companies and startups. When she isn't reporting the latest in home health care news, you can find her indulging in her love of vintage clothing, books, film, live music, theatre and reality tv.