Leading a Remote Team: 7 Key Strategies for the Home Healthcare Workforce

Home healthcare has seen explosive growth in recent years, driven by an aging population, a desire for care in familiar surroundings, and advancements in technology that make remote care more feasible. The home healthcare workforce in the United States is estimated at more than 2.5 million individuals providing essential services in patients’ homes. Employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 22 percent from 2022 to 2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This model offers flexibility and personalized care, but it also comes with a unique set of management challenges. 

It’s estimated that the home healthcare industry sees 15 million patients and executes more than 600 million patient visits each year. That’s a lot of employees and visits to properly manage while ensuring compliance and patient care. But the number of companies overseeing all those visits continues to decline. Overall, the home health industry has seen the number of active agencies decrease since 2014. 

The increase of home healthcare need combined with the decrease in management companies overseeing those visits creates some challenges: 

  • Communication Gaps: Home healthcare workers often operate independently, leading to potential miscommunications or delays in sharing critical information. This is compounded by the fact that home care aides had the highest turnover rate of all home health positions in 2023, 36.53%. 
  • Isolation and Morale: Without the camaraderie and support of a traditional office environment, remote workers can feel disconnected from their team and the organization they work for (another factor in the retention rate). 
  • Performance Monitoring: It’s more challenging to assess performance when you can’t directly observe daily work. This can make it difficult to identify areas where an employee might need additional support or training.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Home healthcare is a highly regulated industry. Ensuring staff adheres to complex rules and regulations while working remotely can be a significant concern.

Strategies for Success: Managing a Thriving Remote Home Healthcare Team

Our experts at Titan Health Staffing, understanding the unique challenges of the home health workforce, suggest seven key strategies that home health companies can implement to better manage their team of workers, whether it’s five or 500. 

  1. Invest in Robust Communication Systems: Invest in communication tools that go beyond email. Consider video conferencing for team meetings, instant messaging platforms for quick questions, and project management software to track tasks and deadlines. Encourage (and live) a culture of open communication and create a safe space for staff to voice concerns.
  2. Foster Connection With Virtual CheckIns: Home health work can be quite stressful. Schedule regular one-on-one virtual meetings with each employee individually. These check-ins provide a forum for discussing performance, addressing challenges or concerns, and offering support to the employee. Additionally, consider setting up an online community where all your employees can “gather around the water cooler.” Set up a chat channel or forum where staff can share non-work-related updates, photos, or stories.
  3. Have Clear Performance Metrics: Develop clear, measurable performance expectations for remote employees. Use a combination of quantitative data (e.g., patient satisfaction surveys, visit completion rates) and qualitative feedback (e.g., patient testimonials, peer reviews) to assess performance.
  4. Offer Continual Education: Make compliance training a continual piece of your company’s onboarding and ongoing education program. Rules, regulations, and healthcare itself updates constantly. Partner with an educational provider, such as micro-learning leader www.golearnery.com to offer engaging education in short bursts, keeping staff informed and engaged.
  5. Streamline Scheduling: Utilize scheduling software to optimize routes, reduce travel time, and ensure equitable distribution of workloads.
  6. Prioritize Safety: Implement safety protocols for home visits, including buddy systems, emergency communication procedures, and personal safety training.
  7. Build a Culture of Appreciation: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your remote team. Send personalized thank-you notes, offer small bonuses or incentives, and highlight individual successes in team meetings or newsletters. This reinforces the value of their work and fosters a positive team culture.

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Managing a remote home healthcare team is undoubtedly challenging, but with thoughtful planning and the right strategies, you can create a highly effective, engaged, and compliant workforce that provides consistent quality care to patients.

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[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm
[2] https://homehealthcarenews.com/2023/11/the-number-of-active-quality-home-health-agencies-continues-to-dip/
[3] https://timeero.com/post/how-can-home-health-agencies-improve-employee-retention

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