Enhance the In-Home Patient Experience

Seven Things

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By 2030, there will be 72 million people over the age 65 in North America. For the 90 percent of these who want to remain at home rather than spend their golden years in a nursing home, technology is on their side.  Sales for “aging in place” devices, such as heart rate monitors, safety alerts, oximeters and remote monitoring hubs, are expected to reach over $30 billion by 2017.
 

While the market is ripe, home care providers face challenges from regulatory authorities, Medicare and private insurance billing, which can increase costs of medical supplies and numerous other small business needs.

Keeping pace with market innovations tailored for the home care customer is important, as is finding new ways to provide the best home care and healing environment possible. Here are some tips.

  1. Offer in-home “spa” services – Network with local massage therapists, nail technicians and stylists to offer customers some well-deserved pampering, therapy and beauty services, and then create contractor or referral agreements with these service providers to offer manicures, pedicures, acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy.
     
  2. Socialize your business – This is not simply about Facebook, but rather about strengthening connections between you, your patients, and their friends and families. Apps and software are available to help better connect the circles of family, friends and caregivers related to a patient, such as Caregiver’s Touch, CareZone and Unfrazzle – three healthcare-related social media tools that enable greater participation in your patient’s care.
     
  1. Offer premium and cash-pay products – Many people are not satisfied with the basic products covered by insurance – and are willing to pay for items that will improve comfort, independence and mobility. While some helpful products are not reimbursable, you should consider offering them as great options. Make simple brochures or a website that demonstrates each item and upgrade. Most suppliers will drop-ship the products, deliver them to the patients directly and eliminate the need for you to carry inventory.
     
  1. Create a “wish list” service – Your patients may want products or services but lack a clear way of expressing and fulfilling such requests. Promote yourself as their point person. List and display your ever-expanding offering of additional products and services aimed at making life better for them. Add the wish list to your Facebook page, website or print material. Inform patients and family members about the wish list and different options available. Distribute patient wishes to their social circles through an app or e-mail groups that you create during patient sign up. The wish list should allow friends and family to step in and help fulfill wishes, or simply make a product or service purchase on behalf of the patient. You’re helping your patients, their families and generating an additional revenue stream.
     
  2. Develop a home fitness program – Connect with local physical therapists or use existing staff to offer simple in-home exercise programs. Tailor exercise routines to the patient’s capabilities and conditions and make sure they are cleared by their physician for mild or moderate exercise.
     
  1. Offer animal assisted therapy – Therapy dogs provide emotional comfort and companionship. Available in all 50 states, organizations like Therapy Dogs International exist to connect therapy dogs with those who will benefit the most.
     
  2. Create a respite care service for family caregivers – Your homecare business offers patients professional services, but many times family members are assisting patients on a daily basis. According to Medicare, there are 66 million family caregivers in the U.S. Anyone who has cared for a family member knows how difficult the challenges can be, both mentally and physically. Help families by offering respite care services, including patient bathing, dressing, toileting, laundry, shopping, meal prep and patient supervision.

Providing the best homecare for your patients and building a network of service providers to bring quality and innovative services into your patient’s homes will help you improve their lives and the lives of their families, strengthen your professional longevity, and put you at the forefront of homecare service excellence.

About the Author

Craig Hood, executive vice president of Allegro Medical (www.AllegroMedical.com), one of the Scrip Companies and leading supplier of high quality home medical supplies and equipment, has extensive experience working as a caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities and as a rehabilitation specialist caring for individuals recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injury. He formed Allegro Medical to fill the important need for convenient, high quality home healthcare products and medical supplies in the treatment of post-acute care and chronic conditions.

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