The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

What Can Home Care Learn from the Cinco de Mayo Holiday?

Posted by Burgess Harrison on May 3, 2016 12:35:18 PM

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From Wikipedia we get that "Cinco de Mayo. Spanish for "May 5th", or literally, "Five of May") is a celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16."

What Can Home Care Learn from this Error?

In home care, our goal is to have a victory over inaccuracy. Something as simple as Cinco de Mayo we should get right. We feel the same about our services. We should make sure that our caregivers are executing everything that our supervisory staff put on the care plan. If we're working on a Medicaid waiver program, we should make sure that we're providing exactly the right number of visits and hours so that our client's care experience is maximized. When it's time for an audit, we should have 100% confidence that our clock-ins and clock-outs are right. When it comes time for billing or payroll, we need it to be on-time and correct. All of these potential errors should be prevented by your home care software and the software should be simple to use.

What Should You Look for in Home Care Software:

Here are a few of the minimum things you should be getting from your home care software:

  • You should be able to on-board a client in 2 minutes
  • When you set schedules, they should stay in effect until you change them (no need to recreate them week after week)
  • There should be no opportunity for a disagreement in care plans.
  • You're caregivers shouldn't have to enter codes to indicate what work they did, they should be prompted to report on every item in the care plan
  • Visits that don't match your screening criteria should be flagged in real time. This can include incorrect clock-in/clock-out times, incorrect visit duration, incorrect care plan items reporting, clocked in from wrong phone number or wrong GPS location or more.
  • When it's time for billing and payroll, these should be calculated automatically
  • Your software should also help you to differentiate from competition:

The bullets above represent the minimum functions that your software should help you with. In addition, your software should help you stand out. Some features that can help make you different are as follows:

  • A family application to keep family members in touch with their loved one's care
  • Ability for caregivers to clock in with telephony or a smart phone
  • An ability for caregivers to apply for a job on your website and feed directly into your software
  • Similarly, an ability for potential clients to request a consult on your website
  • The ability to manage care transitions, making you a candidate to get referrals from hospitals
  • Remote monitoring to alert you when a client might be trending towards a hospitalization

A Cinco de Mayo Bonus
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So now you know the real meaning of Cinco de Mayo, be sure to test your friends at your next gathering or happy hour. While you are at please enjoy  awesome recipe for guacamole from Chipotle that is sure to delight the taste buds of you and your guests on Cinco de Mayo or any other day.

If you're interested in a demo of Ankota's software solutions, just click the button below:

Click Here for a Free Demo

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, May 2016 Newsletter

10 of My Favorite Things About Customized Policy Manuals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 28, 2016 10:21:08 AM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

Running any organization requires loads of paperwork – and a homecare agency is no exception. From employee files to policy and procedure manuals, the amount of documents you need to manage can quickly become a nightmare in disguise. When purchasing customized policy manuals, the task of writing and creating more paperwork is removed from your to-do list.customized policy manuals

What I Love About Customized Policy Manuals

Need convincing that purchasing customized manuals is the right chose for you? Take a look at my 10 favorite things.

1. Designed to meet needs for a specific type of manual based on each agency’s individual requirements.

In the world of homecare, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to policy manuals. Each organization has different requirements due to their location and the kinds of services offered. From Non-Skilled Home Health manuals to Medicare Home Health manuals and beyond, customization is key. This is especially true if your agency is housed in California, where the state requirements are particularly specific.

2. Personalized with your agency name.

Maybe you’ve shied away from pre-made manuals because of a lack of personalization. You want something designed and written especially for you, meeting your specific needs. With customized policy manuals, the name of your organization is displayed throughout.

3. Allowance for further customization by you.

Because these manuals are electronic, you can easily go to every page if desired and customize to match your organization’s culture. For example, tailoring information specific only to your organization may include:

  • Hours of operation;

  • Community-specific disaster plans;

  • Names of governing board members;

  • Agency organizational chart.

4. Include policies to meet licensing, Medicare and/or CoP requirements.

Every type of homecare organization has differences. It can get overwhelming trying to maneuver through the jungle of licensing and regulations. Customized policy manuals are already complete with everything you need to meet whichever requirements apply to your agency. And making licensing and accreditation surveys a breeze.

5. Meet ACHC & CHAP accreditation standards.

Accreditation is an important step for your homecare agency. But staying organized to be sure standards are implemented into policies and updated is difficult. Customized manuals give you peace knowing that your’re covered with the required policies to meet accreditation standards.

6. Saves you time and money.

Need manuals for a new Medicare agency starting up, an established agency wishing to update and refresh its operations, or a non-skilled agency seeking accreditation? Customized policy manuals provide exactly what you need. But without wasting time and money reinventing the wheel and writing policies from scratch.

7. Improve client care.

Client care is only as good as the people providing it. Customized manuals give your staff a complete, up-to-date, centrally located resource to follow and reference as needed.

8. Written by professionals.

Who would you rather have write your manuals? Some average Joe you hired off the street, or someone with years of experience in the homecare industry? Work with experts who have the knowledge to ensure your agency is compliant in all areas.

9. Designed with professional quality.

Customized policy manuals are written and designed with you and your staff in mind. Cross referencing makes it easy to locate specific policies. This is critical when preparing for and passing a state or accreditation survey.

10. Create a higher level of organization for your agency.

Most importantly, custom manuals allow you to take control of the documents necessary to run your homecare agency. The ability to update policies quickly makes your life simpler and less chaotic.

Customized Policy Manuals From Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we know how to create the perfect document meeting all the needs of your specific agency. Our years of experience gives us a keen insight into the homecare industry. Reach out to us today to learn more.

This article, 10 OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT CUSTOMIZED POLICY MANUALS, first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent care transitions whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon

Google Reveals Ranking Secrets for Your Home Care Website

Posted by Jed Hammel on Apr 22, 2016 11:45:16 AM

Google doesn't generally share a lot about how to make websites score well in searches.  I'd presume that this is for two reasons: 1) they don't want to give anyone an unfair advantage, and 2) they change their criteria frequently.  But in a rare occurrence uncovered by home care website expert Valerie Van Booven, Google shared a 160-page document that offered guidance for how to optimize your site. 

Google Tips for Better Search Rankings

Here are a few of the tips:

  • For a page to rank, Google looks for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (and they use the acronym EAT)

  • They look for new content and consistency (and frown upon old content with updated dates)

  • For a strong ranking, you need one or more of the following:responsive_web_site_-_computer.png

    • A satisfying amount of "main content" (longer articles with references)

    • A known author with high EAT score

    • Good reputation of either the author or the website on the topic

    • Supplemental content (links to more information on your site)

    • The website functions well and is well maintained

  • The site is Mobile Friendly (note that more websites are viewed on phones than on the web)

Many Responsive_web_site_-_phone.pngApproaches to Websites

There are numerous approaches for creating and maintaining a home care website ranging from inexpensive do-it-yourself websites with services that are available starting as low as $9.99 a month, to high end web site services that include authoring of fresh relevant content on a regular basis.  If you are exploring options to create or update your web presence, Valerie offers these high end services.

For more best practices in the Home Care space, you can download our white paper, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.   If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

 

Click Here for a Free Demo

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

Why I Chose Home Care Instead of a Nursing Home for My Mom

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 21, 2016 12:24:18 PM

Today's guest post is from Sara Fields.  "Sara is a businesswoman from Boston. In her free time she enjoys blogging and writing on various topics, such as elderly home care and healthcare in general."  I think it's always interesting to hear the perspective of someone shopping for care for their loved one.  Please enjoy Sara's article:

Once a great American politician, Frank A. Clark, said that we are putting more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it. And I could not agree more.

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When several years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my first reaction was that I will not leave her side, just like she never left mine whenever I needed to be taken care of. Since long working hours prevented me from being full-time family caregiver, I had to find a suitable alternative in order to avoid quitting my job.

Like many other elderly folks, she too expressed her desire to age in the comfort of her home where she has been living for the last 47 years. I always hated the light blue facade of that house, but the memories we have of that place, memories that are a present tense to her, were simply too precious to be so easily disregarded. Even there she would get lost on her way from the store, the route that was very much familiar to her. She started misplacing items around the house, could not manage finances anymore, but most importantly, she put herself in danger way too often. Poor decision making caused by Alzheimer’s more often than not compromised her safety and I knew it was time to either put her in a home or hire a caregiver. After careful consideration, I decided it was best to find a professional to take care of her in her own house.

Before going into details when it comes to details of the thorough research I conducted, I would like to emphasize that I have no regrets whatsoever when it comes to opting for home care instead of nursing home. My mom enjoyed utmost comfort and was completely independent. Every meal she ate was prepared according to her taste, she could do whenever she wanted to do and go wherever she felt like, the only difference being that she had a reliable person by her side. One thing is certain – she would have never had such freedom in a nursing home. Finally, when it comes to finances, we ended up saving much more than we initially expected. People told me that home care pays off in the long run, but I was still pleasantly surprised once I did the final count.

Norah, our license14488562814_4b6a587210_b.jpgd practical nurse that comes to my mother’s home only once a week for a regular checkup, whereas Linda, the caregiver is with my mother from Monday to Friday, 5 hours a day in two shifts. She would work for one hour in the morning, help her dress and then prepare the meal. Later in the day she would return to help her eat, clean up after she finishes and then spend some free time doing different activities. Linda would either read a book while my mother drank her green tea or she would take her for a walk around the neighborhood. My mother simply adores her and loves spending time with her. I take over on the weekends, and when lucid, Linda is all my mother talks about.

Let me just tell you that at first, I did not disregard nursing home as an option completely. I flipped through a multitude of brochures of local nursing homes and even visited a fair number to get to know the places and the staff in person.

Internet too was my source of information. My research went so far that at one point I ended up browsing and learning about home care in Austria. I was amazed with the outstanding platform they established that connects all home care services providers in the country and enables you to find the one that is nearest to your home.

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After browsing through both home care services and nursing homes in Boston area, I thought to myself that I cannot rely solely on the promises they made on their websites, nor testimonials of strangers. I turned to my friends and family who were in similar situation and asked for recommendations. Interestingly, every single person was an advocate for home care and were totally against putting my mother in a nursing home.

Some of their strongest arguments included the lack of privacy and individuality. They warned me that even though my mother would move to a place where she will have people her age to socialize, that place is not her home. It is not the environment she is used to and the place she feels most comfortable in. Furthermore, what made home care even more attractive option in this unfortunate state of economy is the fact that it is much more affordable in comparison to nursing home. Once I put everything down on paper, home care stood out as an obvious choice. In the end, all of their stories turned out to be true and in the future I’ll certainly recommend home care to people in who find themselves in similar situation.

We are certainly hoping to have Linda by my mother’s side everywhere she goes for years to come. She is an absolute professional and I can rest assured that she will tend to my mother’s needs no matter how serious health issues are. Home care is definitely shaping the realm of elderly care

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Ankota offers a number of useful white papers, including,  Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies,  Click the link or the picture below to download it.

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care-4.jpg

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology

6 Useful Homecare Start-up Lessons: Dancing With The Stars

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 18, 2016 12:05:20 PM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

“Dancing with the Stars” has been blowing viewers away for 21 seasons. What’s their secret? It’s hard to nail down one single factor that contributes to the show’s success – there are numerous things that go on behind the scenes, things we as viewers can’t even comprehend. Just as with all the great shows on television, embarking on a homecare start-up takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of work. But the return is well worth the investment.

Comparing “Dancing with the Stars” and a Homecare Start-up

To get you headed in the right direction, here are six lessons from “Dancing with the Stars” that can be applied to your homecare start-up efforts.

Lesson 1: Production Begins With a Plan

bigstock-Notice-What-s-Right-75088081-300x208.jpgBehind every amazing production – whether it’s a million-viewer show or a homecare start-up – is loads of planning. For a show like “Dancing with the Stars,” that planning includes finding the right cast, staging, practicing and much more.

When launching your homecare agency, planning means determining the services you’ll offer, finding a place to hang your hat, meeting licensing requirements and hiring staff. But before you do any of that, it’s crucial to perform adequate market research. This research will help you make the rest of those important decisions.

Lesson 2: Promotion Creates Buzz

A show – and a homecare agency – can’t succeed without the proper promotion. With a major show, promotion is TV ads and social media. But how do you promote your homecare start-up before it’s even launched?

Creating a buzz around your agency before it opens is one of the best ways to ensure success. Here are a few ideas:

  • Network with medical professionals in your community and let them know about your plans

  • Place ads with your launch date in local publications

  • Speak with an industry expert for more ideas

Lesson 3: Community Is Key

Ever heard the expression, “it takes a village”? That’s not only true about raising a child; it’s also relevant to putting on a TV show and starting a homecare organization. TV shows require camera crews, actors (or contestants, in the case of “Dancing with the Stars”), directors, producers, and musicians.

For the best chance of success with your homecare start-up, surround yourself with plenty of behind-the-scenes support. What does this look like? Basically, it’s your staff. Managers, office assistants, aides, and others supporting roles all have a huge impact on the way your organization is run.

Lesson 4: Practice and Perseverance Make Perfect

We’ve all been told practice makes perfect, but that’s only partly true. Any successful producer or business owner will tell you it’s not just the practice that gets results – it’s the perseverance.

Whether it’s a big-time TV dance competition or a homecare start-up you’re pursuing, there will be times you want to give up. But the only way to attain your goals is to keep pushing. Even when that means working on your business plan past midnight!

Lesson 5: Everybody Needs a Coach

If you’ve watched “Dancing with the Stars,” you know each star gets paired with a pro dancer – a coach. These coaches not only teach their partners dance steps and correct form, but they also serve as a foundation of encouragement. Coaches push the beginners and celebrate when goals are obtained.

Engaging a coach or expert in the homecare industry to guide you through all phases of a start-up is a very powerful tool. Their knowledge and experience will pave your way toward success.

Lesson 6: The Show Must Go On

In show business, there’s a popular saying: “the show must go on.” No matter what happens offstage, the audience is waiting for a performance.

In homecare, focus on your clients – the frail and elderly – that depend on your services. No matter the effort or delays, focus on your goals. With planning, promotion, perseverance and an experienced coach your homecare start-up can be a reality!

Achieving Homecare Start-up Success

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we’ve got the experience and the know-how to guide you on the path toward homecare startup success. From customized forms, to recruitment strategies and aide education, we’ve got you covered. Contact us to get started now!

This article, 6 USEFUL HOMECARE START-UP LESSONS: DANCING WITH THE STARS first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

Ginny Kenyon is the founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, a home health consulting firm that gives agencies a market advantage, promotes creative product development, and offers viable ways to achieve and sustain organizational and fiscal success.

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One of Ankota's recent care transitions whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon, May 2016 Newsletter

Caregivers Can Aid Seniors’ Health by Growing a Garden

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 13, 2016 8:06:22 AM

Today's article is an encore guest post from Heather Roberts.  Her previous post, was on cleaning tips. This new post is just in time for spring and recommends gardening as an activity for caregivers to get their clients outside and give them a sense of purpose and pride.

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Getting some fresh air is always helpful to people’s health, but if combined with some physical activity, this will really encourage seniors’ well being. Yet, aged people are less likely to get involved in exercising just for the sake of exercise. An excellent idea for caregivers to promote the outdoor activities of their clients is to help them plant and grow a garden. This way the regular exercises will also provide them with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

 

Strengthens the Caregiver-Senior Relationship

When caregivers and their clients work on something together a deeper and stronger connection is created. Caregivers may help the senior with the lawn care tasks or they can also weed, water, and finally pick the fruits of their common labor. The caregivers’ company and gardening assistance will also be very beneficial to the social skills of the senior and will help them remain active, communicative and kind. It is very important that the caregiver makes sure that seniors hydrate, often have little rests and do not push themselves much. Knowing that the person who takes care for them is a reliable and attentive person will let the seniors feel way more comfortable while doing the garden maintenance or whatever activity.

Supports Emotional Health

Seeing the results of their work will surely boost the emotional well being of elder people. Planting and watching the greenery grow will make every senior feel fulfilled. Knowing that they are still able to take care of something and having control over the gardening process will help the preserve the sense of independence which many elder people lose when they start to need daily assistance. Being outside, connected and contributing to nature is a great way for the client to become more positive and the physical labor will undoubtedly improve their mood.

Improves Socialization

Caregivers_Can_Aid_Seniors2.jpgElder people usually take great pride in several things – their children (and grand-children, of course), their homes and their gardens. Having an exquisite vegetable or flower garden can make seniors extremely proud and also very popular amongst their neighbors of the same age. With more neighbors coming to their house to take a look at the garden or just to exchange some gardening experience, seniors’ social life will really improve. Exchanging advice and produce with other people will help the elder client make new friends and feel much happier.

Promotes Healthier Eating

Seniors will be more than happy to consume the herbs, vegetables and fruits they have grown on their own. They will also be excited to treat everyone with their produce. Eating fresh and organic products will surely support the organism of the senior and it will also be more affordable than a ready-made salad from the store. Having a personal garden provides people with much more healthy eating options which taste a lot better.

Every senior will certainly take a great advantage of having a garden and with a little bit of help by the caregivers, this will be an absolutely achievable and exciting experience

One of the key habits in our white paper,  Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agenciesis to differentiate.  Perhaps prospects will choose you if they know you'll do gardening with their loved ones.

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care-4.jpg

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology

Care Transition Nurse Explains Her Role

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 10, 2016 10:41:16 PM

The following post was shared by Housecall Providers of Portland, OR.  Housecall Providers has embraced the concept of healthcare at home and they provide primary care, transitional care services as well as hospice and palliative care in their community.  Their website features stories that can help provide inspiration to home care organizations who aspire to broaden their impact in helping their clients stay healthy at home and avoid hospitalizations.

In Her Own Words, the  Role of a Care Transitions Nurse

Click Here for the orignal article

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What exactly is a transition nurse?

I work with a team of nurses and social workers that help prevent our patients from going into the hospital, as well as assist with the transition to and from different care settings (hospital, skilled nursing facilities, and back home).

What was your last job?

I was a team member on Portland Providence Medical Center’s Cardiac Telemetry Unit.

Tell us what an average workday looks like.

The transition team meets in the morning and we discuss which of our primary care patients are in the hospital, who needs a follow-up visit and what their discharge plan involves.

We also look at who recently went home and who might need a phone contact or a nurse to visit. Are any urgent visits coming up? Those are visits where a primary care provider (PCP) has asked the transition team to check in on a patient because either they, a family member or caregiver are concerned about a patient’s failing health.

We prioritize our day and assign the calls and visits. I typically see about three patients a day because they may be spread across the whole Portland metro area.

How do you find out about who needs to be seen? How does the information flow to you?

Ideally, our caregivers or family members would call the office and let one of our carecoordinators know that a patient isn’t doing well and that they are either considering sending the patient to the hospital or have already done so. Sometimes they are unsure what course to take and the care coordinator will contact the patient’s PCP so that they have an opportunity to respond to the caregiver’s concerns and possibly prevent an emergency room trip.

If the PCP believes that an in-person visit is important but isn’t able to see the patient, they may request that a nurse goes out and then we communicate back our findings. We are also notified every day by the area hospitals if a patient of ours was seen in the ER or was admitted. Every patient gets a phone call after discharge, and if the conversation is sounding like they need to be seen, and the PCP is unavailable, we will go out to do the follow-up visit.

How do you see your job fulfilling the mission of Housecall Providers?

We are able to really meet patients where they are and support them so they can stay in the home and out of the hospital because most of them do not want to go there. A lot can be lost in translation when a patient goes to the hospital or nursing facility and back home again. We make their transitions that much easier.

What is your favorite part about working here?

I like that it’s a smaller group of people and you really get to know who you work with every day. Even though we are not a large medical provider, we have a huge impact on the community and are a leader in managing transitions and providing health careat home.

What do you love about Portland?

I like being close to everything; we have the mountains and ocean, rural and urban areas and its pretty much got everything you could want. It’s a fun, quirky place to live!

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On a related note, one of Ankota's recent care transitions whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

14 Ways Your Home Care Agency Can Make a Good 1st Impression

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 8, 2016 10:28:40 AM

Lolly_Daska_Ankota_Homecare_blog.jpgMy experience with Ankota has given me a chance to speak with hundreds of home care agencies, many of which are start-ups.  The advice I always give to start-up home care agencies is that the key to their success, will depend more than anything else on marketing and relationship building.  Especially with referral partners like senior living communities where residents would prefer to stay in independent living with home care support than to move to assisted living.  This has been the topic of numerous other blogs we've written, such as this one introducing Steve "the Hurricane" Weiss, entitled The 1 Thing You Need to Do to Increase Home Care Leads and Referrals.

Making a Good 1st Impression

If you're with me so far, you realize that your networking skills are critical to your success.  I recently wrote a piece called 5 Networking Tips for Home Care Professionals, and recently came across an article called How to be More Creative in Self-Introductions and First Impressions by Lolly Daskal, CEO of Lead from Within.  Here I'll give you Lolly's list of14 items, but if you read her full article, it will tell you how to be successful using these techniques.

14 Ways to Make a Good First Impression

  1. Remember their names

  2. Dress to Impressfirst-impression-264x300.jpg

  3. Speak their language

  4. Act confident

  5. Project positivity

  6. Be a problem solver

  7. Strive to inspire

  8. Be interesting

  9. Look for Common ground

  10. Seek the story

  11. Listen attentively

  12. Share a compliment

  13. Have a winning smile

  14. Be helpful

We hope that these tips will help, but again the most important thing is to get out there and network.  On a  related note, we invite you to download our free whitepaper that expresses habits of successful home care agenciesSeven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.   

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology

Preventable Readmissions - A Doctor's View

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 3, 2016 2:46:44 PM

A recent New York Times article, entitled Most Dangerous Time at the Hospital? It Might Be When You Leave gives a doctor's perspective on the causes for readmissions.  I'd encourage you to read the full article, but here are some high points.

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They first walk us through the case of a patient who came to the hospital with blood in their stool.  The doctors recognized the patient as having low blood pressure, so they stopped his Lasix (a diuretic he took for congestive heart failure) and proceeded to perform an endoscopy where they were able to find and clip the source of the bleeding.  So far so good.  They sent the patient home with instructions to see primary care so that the Lasix could be restarted and the dose reviewed.  The patient didn't see primary care and ended up being readmitted for congestive heart failure.

The Committee for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has estimated it's annual cost for preventable readmissions to be approximately $17B (out of a total readmissions cost of $26B).  In other words, CMS believes that 2/3rds of readmissions can be prevented.

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Dr. Eric Coleman has been a pioneer at preventing readmissions.  His evidence based methodology, the Care Transitions Intervention, is based around four pillars of transitional care, as follows:

  • Managing Medications,

  • Use of a Personal Health Record that engages the patient in understanding and documenting their care and sharing that knowledge with all care providers,

  • Making sure that there's a follow-up appointment with primary care, and

  • Understanding and managing red flags.

Note that The Care Transitions Intervention® and all of its materials are the property of the Care Transitions Program®. All content on this website is © to Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH.

 Had the Coleman method been followed, the patient in the NYT article would not likely have been readmitted.  Let's review:

  • Medication Management: FAIL - should have gotten back onto Lasix

  • Personal Health Record: FAIL - clearly not in place

  • Primary Care Visit - FAIL - it was prescribed but not attended

  • Red Flags: FAIL - patient should have recognized increased congestion as a red flag

The doctor who inspired the article, had numerous other valuable observations, as follows:

  • Doctors prepare daily plans for all admitted patients.  The plans are often developed by a resident, reviewed with a more senior resident and approved by the attending physician.  For discharge, however, no such rigorous plan is put in place.

  • Often discharges are rushed because either the patient feels better and wants to leave or a bed becomes available in a post acute facility and they rush to take advantage of it.

  • In the hospital, vital signs are constantly monitored, whereas at home they are not

  • Sometimes a patient's urgency to be discharged, or the hospital's desire to clear the bed result in a premature discharge

  • There's a practice whereby hospitals should notify the patient's primary care physician about the patient's hospitalization, but often it's not done.

  • 30 percent of patients are discharged with orders for more tests, but a third of these never happen

  • As many as 40% of patients are discharged with open orders for required lab tests but often the physicians are unaware of these and they are inadvertently cancelled when the patient is discharged

  • There are numerous effective techniques for avoiding preventable readmissions, including the Coleman method, automated follow-up phone calls, pharmacist led interventions and more.

Why Does This Matter?

CMS is driving a major shift in the way that home care agencies are compensated.  They are aggressively moving away from the fee-for-service episodes of care and moving instead to bundled payments, value-based payments, and more.  All of these new payment methodologies favor post acute care with a strong track record for preventing avoidable readmissions.

Upcoming Free Educational Webinar 

Wed, Apr 27, 2016 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

How Home Care Wins in the Bundled Payment Era with Ken Accardi

This webinar will explain how to be a successful post acute care provider in the era of bundled payments.  Hospitals will look for organizations with the best outcomes at the lowest cost.   Successful organizations will think differently about how to organize and staff their offerings using a combination of professional care, paraprofessional care and technology. The winners will be highly profitable and win a disproportional share of referrals.  This webinar will explain how to be a winner.

Click here to register.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology, Care Transitions, eric coleman

Non-Medical Home Care Plays Key Role in Recovery After Hospitalization

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 30, 2016 12:11:40 AM

Today’s guest post is from Henry Kingston.  Henry is a passionate blogger, and loves writing as it's his obsession. He has written on various topics like healthcare, home care for the elderly and about different other aspects of life. Follow @Henrykingston30 for more updates.

What I find especially compelling about Henry’s post is that it focuses on the very important role non-medical home care played in post-acute recovery for his aunt.  I also recently heard a presentation by Bob Roth from Cypress Home Care in Phoenix.  Bob was speaking on the role of non-medical home care in the accountable care organization model.  While we generally think of post-acute recovery as being the role of Medicare-certified home health care, Bob reminded his audience that home health only stops by once or twice a week for around 45 minutes.  Looking at clients in his agency he observed that his average client receives 28 hours of care per week whereas clients who have just been discharged from the hospital average over 40 hours a week of care.  I had knee surgery myself this past summer and while I’m a younger person who didn’t require home care, I found that the surgery took a toll on my energy level and that it was harder to complete activities of daily living.  We’ll write more about this as we explore the role that non-medical home care agencies can play in bundled payments.

How Home Care Helped My Aunt 

My aunt, Sara, aged 75, had become physically very weak and her movement was restricted as she had undergone a hip replacement surgery, and was also a diabetes and hypertension patient. Since it was not possible for me to tend to all her needs, it became necessary to look out for a homecare assistant who could help her out with her day to day activities.

We contacted several home care agencies and finally found a young woman named Alice fit for the job. Alice was a petite woman, strong and physically fit with a pleasant disposition, with the added advantage that she was a retired nurse. The home health care agency had specifically instructed Alice about caring for my aunt, her medications and other requirements.BcaKn7R7i.gif

Initially, my aunt was a little skeptical, keeping in mind her age and condition, but Alice was really compassionate and tolerant and soon she became comfortable with her. In the initial days just after surgery, she was in a lot of discomfort and pain, and it was Alice who took care of all the daily chores, general housekeeping to maintain sanitary conditions in the home environment and personal grooming and also aided Sara with her recovery, both physically and psychologically. After all the senior home care agency’s service seemed promising.

Alice was a natural where caring was concerned and often lifted and turned my aunt to prevent bed sores as she was bed-ridden and also a diabetic. She would often lift her very cautiously to make her bed and change the linens regularly. She took extra care when transporting and taking her for the doctor’s appointment. She also prepared the meals and would often feed her too, gave her medications timely, did her laundry, and was always available to run any little errands for my aunt. She would check on the wound to see if it was infected, kept a watch on the vital signs, monitored her fasting and post-meal sugar levels.

My aunt had to be sponged regularly, and as she wore adult diapers, they, too had to be changed. Alice did these with discretion and never did my aunt feel her dignity at stake. As my aunt got better and could sit and move around in a wheelchair, Alice would keep aunt busy with reading aloud to her favorite segments from magazines, newspapers and also play card or board games with her to keep her mentally active and alert.images-4.jpg

With time, Alice and my aunt developed a bonding with each other and would often spend time solving crossword puzzles, word searches and art and craft activity that my aunt particularly enjoyed as she had been an art instructor in her younger days. Aunt Sara made decorative frames and vases from discarded material and Alice enjoyed giving her ideas and helping her out. Sometimes they would spent time on the front porch or in the backyard to just enjoy the weather or over a cup of tea or coffee to bask in the sunlight.

Soon my aunt, was taking baby steps with the help of Alice and the walker. Alice had been with my aunt for almost a year, and now although fully recovered, Sara enjoys her companionship and Alice is glad to be there for her whenever required.  

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 One of Ankota's free white papers, "Why Care Transitions is the Next Big Thing for Home Care", is available to download by clicking the link or the picture below.

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, April 2016 Monthly Newsletter

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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