Fall Prevention Checklist for Non-Medical Home Care Workers

Senior care patients who choose to remain in the home experience more independence, while still remaining healthy and safe. However, home care business workers should keep a close eye on their patients’ environments for anything which might put a patient at risk for falls. Among the elderly, falls are the most frequent cause of injury-related death, but they can also lead to reduced mobility and a decreased sense of security. Here is a brief checklist of hazards for non-medical home care workers to help keep their patients safe from falls:

Perception Problems

Seniors often experience hearing loss, vision problems, mental confusion, and decreased feeling in their feet, which can all cause them to misjudge situations when moving around the house.

Medications

Medications such as vasodilators, anti-hypertensives, sedatives, or pain medication can have side-effects which affect perception. Be aware of what types of medication the client is taking.

Physical Conditions

Many chronic conditions and disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis can make moving around difficult.

Previous Injury

Prior falls and previous injuries can make it difficult for seniors to navigate environments which previously gave them no trouble.

Improper Footwear

Shoes with rubber soles, slippery soles, or heels greater than 1.5 inches can cause problems. Avoid these types of shoes, and suggest walking shoes with elastic laces.

Floor Hazards

Scatter rugs, uneven surfaces, bathroom rugs, and thick plush carpet can all cause problems for seniors. Where possible, suggest they repair damaged flooring and install more consistent surfaces.

By keeping a lookout for falling hazards, non-medical home care business employees can keep their clients safe in their homes.

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Time is Money: Finding More Time To Manage Your Home Care Business

As a home care business franchisee, it’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day operations, leaving little time to consider larger decisions and the direction of the business. In order to function effectively, a franchise operator should have as much optional time as possible, but finding it can be a challenge. Some strategies to increase optional time include hiring new employees, delegating certain duties to others, automating certain functions, or even dropping certain responsibilities which are no longer necessary for successful operations. Ideally, delegating more responsibilities to employees is considered a positive, but in order to do so, employees must be qualified and capable of assuming added responsibility.

One mistake home care franchise operators can make is taking ownership of problems or situations which employees have brought to them for help. Rather than giving employees the opportunity to learn to perform the task or make the decision, the operator continues to do it because it seems easier and less time-consuming than training the employee to do it. Taking over the problem seems easier, but the better decision is to allow the employee to retain the responsibility for the problem and tell the franchisee how he or she plans to handle it. The process to allow this can seem time consuming, but ultimately it will result in better results. A franchisee should make sure his or her employees are fully and properly trained and when problems arise, encourage and allow them to offer solutions. The more challenging situations should be monitored more closely. With time and encouragement, most non-medical home care franchise employees can learn to stop running to the owner or manager every time there is a problem. Good employees will learn to successfully solve problems independently, in a manner that is consistent with the wishes of the owner.

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Manage and Motivate Your Non-Medical Home Care Franchise Employees

Whether you’re just starting a home health care business, or you’ve been operating a non-medical home care franchise for some time, it’s likely that you realize your staff is your main product. Because home care franchises are often small businesses, the loss of one employee can really put your operation at risk. Because your home care staff is crucial to your success, it’s important to help your employees feel motivated. Here are a few tips to help you motivate your greatest asset:

Think Like a Larger Company

While your home care business will start small, it’s important to recognize key factors which make larger companies successful. In medium and large companies, there are policies for employee time off, performance evaluations, and salary reviews. Similar policies in your smaller operation could make your employees feel confident that they are being treated fairly.

Transfer Your Knowledge to Your Employees

While you and possibly your spouse or business partner have been trained by your franchisor regarding the ins and outs of the home care business, your employees have had no such advantage. It’s up to you to provide training to your employees. You’ll want to be able to rely on each member of your team, but you can only do so if each of your employees is familiar with his or her role in your company.

Establish Accountability for Each Employee

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of your home care franchise that you fail to hold your employees accountable for performing their duties properly. As the owner of a small business, you will need to make time to evaluate employee performance, offer coaching in areas of weakness, and help employees set goals.

Accept Feedback

Remember that each employee has something to contribute, and be willing to accept suggestions and feedback from them.

Treat Employees with Respect

Whether you have one employee, or one hundred, it’s important to respect everyone who works for you, not only as employees, but also as individuals. People want to feel appreciated. Remember to provide positive feedback on employee performance, and not just focus on where they need to improve.

Employees look to the owner of the franchise for both leadership and motivation. If a home health care franchisee gives his or her employees a clear idea of their duties, as well as training, feedback, appreciation, and respect, it’s likely the employees will be motivated to perform to the best of their abilities.

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Six Most Common Non-Medical Home Care Responsibilities

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Six Most Common Non-Medical Home Care Responsibilities

When you first start your home care business, you may be doing all the jobs yourself, from handling incoming calls, to going out into the field as a non-medical home care provider. Here is a short list of responsibilities non-medical home care workers provide as part of the business:

Companionship

Non-medical home care primarily provides companionship. An ideal home care aide does offer assistance with daily tasks, but also builds a relationship with the client, and helps him or her participate in activities both in and outside the home.

Meal Preparation

Depending on the visitation schedule, a home care provider may be required to prepare a number of meals and snacks for the client, and usually does cleanup afterwards.

Errands and Transportation

Grocery shopping, pharmacy pickups, taking pets to the vet, transporting the client to appointments, taking the client shopping or to the post office are all examples of typical errands a client may require.

Mail Sorting and Light Bookkeeping

A home care provider can help sort through the mail and help the client decide what must be kept or thrown away, and which bills need to be paid, as well as what to do with any other personal correspondence. Often, depending on what the client and the family have decided, the care provider will assist with check writing and balancing the checkbook register. Unless any other services have been designated legally, most home care workers will not be required to get more involved in the client’s finances.

Housekeeping

Some tasks can be done by the care worker, such as vacuuming, dusting, making beds, laundry, cleaning bathroom and kitchen, and changing light bulbs. Other tasks will require the home care worker to assist the client in arranging for professional services.

Personal Care

Most responsibilities in this category include assisting with bathing or showering, oral care, assisting the client in and out of the bathroom, hair care, dispensing medication, and dressing.

Naturally these responsibilities can vary, depending on the client’s needs and the specific nature of the home care franchise or business. It is important to agree on these responsibilities in the beginning of the relationship with the client, as well as the fee schedule and the times these services will be required.

 

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Find Your Unique Advantage: Employee Retention at Your Home Care Franchise

We often think about the hiring process as the employee selling his or her skills to the employer. But because of the nature of the home care business, the single biggest barrier to growth in the first three to five years will be the ability of your business to attract and retain the best staff possible. Your home care staff is vital to your franchise, and you want to offer a high quality product to your clients. The key to your success is finding and keeping the best people to work for you. How can you accomplish this task, when recruiting and retention can be such a challenge? Why would someone want to work for your in-home care franchise instead of all of your competitors’ agencies? Creating a competitive recruiting advantage is just as important as creating a competitive marketing advantage. Examine your business to see if it possesses one of five qualities employees are seeking:

Meaningful Work 

Home care can be a very rewarding profession. Prospective employees want to work for a company they can be proud of while feeling that their work makes a difference in other people’s lives.

Opportunity for Advancement 

Most employees want an opportunity to learn new skills and grow within their profession. Some wish to move into positions which involve more responsibilities and challenges. Does your company promote personal and professional growth?

Work Relationships 

The average person spends 2,000 working hours per year. They want to work with people who like them, and they want to like the people with whom they work. Is your company an enjoyable place to work? Do your employees get along well?

Appreciation and Recognition 

No one likes to feel like their work goes unnoticed. Do your employees feel appreciated? Are there incentives for good performance?

Compensation 

Someone who is just working for the sake of making a paycheck is not likely to be supporting your marketing strategy or your franchise’s mission. However, it’s important that your employees feel they are being fairly compensated for their work and are earning competitive wages.

Once you’ve found which of these aspects embodies your unique recruiting advantage, be sure to focus on it when you’re hiring to staff your business. Create a message that is exciting and interesting, and which makes people want to work for you.

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Finding Your Direction: Four Strategies to Grow Your Home Care Business

Before you can expand your in-home-care franchise, you will want to decide how you plan to grow. You may wish to consult or even revise your home care business plan, which can offer a roadmap for your company. There are also other methods you can use to grow your business, and after assessing your company’s needs and current status, you can decide whether you want to use one strategy or a combination of many.

Sell more of your existing services to your existing customers. 

This is the simplest strategy for growth. Loyal customers and referral sources are already familiar with your home care or senior care franchise. Remind existing customers of all the services you offer. It could be that some of them are thinking of expanding their in-home care programs, or some of your clients’ needs are changing. You can use newsletters or other methods to stay in contact with your customers and remind them of everything you can help them with.

Expand to a new market. 

Here is where things get complicated. In home care, a new market often means a new geographical location. You will need to decide how you plan to expand to a wider area or open a new location, what the expenses will be, and how you will break into the new market.

Try something new. 

Look into new technologies you can integrate into your existing home care business. Develop a new program for a certain group of home care patients, or train employees to offer additional care.

Diversify. 

This is possibly the most dangerous of all company growth strategies. If you develop new programs and services to sell in new markets, you run the risk of entering unknown territory. However, an in-home-care business is closely related to senior residential services and other assisted living options. Be sure to carefully research and explore all opportunities for diversification before making a decision.

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.