Training is an essential part of running a home healthcare business. Caregiver training not only helps your employees provide the best care possible to your patients, but it may also be a requirement to run a home health agency in your state.
A strong training program can also help you retain staff. Hiring new caregivers is expensive, so keeping your best staff members can help reduce costs. Caregiver training helps build your employees’ skills and confidence. If they feel empowered on the job, they may be less likely to leave your agency for another.
Here are five ways to improve caregiver training, so you can run your business more efficiently, stay on the right side of the law, and put your patients’ care first.
1. Train for skills, not personality
There are many qualities that make a good caregiver:
- Empathy and compassion
- Patience and diplomacy
- Common sense
- Creativity and problem-solving skills
- Positive attitude
However, these character traits can’t typically be taught or changed during a training session. Assessing these personality qualities may be best left to the hiring process. That way, your training sessions can focus on skills that can be learned and practiced more easily, such as communication and conflict resolution.
2. Set a training schedule
Creating a structured training schedule makes it easier to track each employee’s progress and allows them to build on their previous lessons. Most home health agencies have an extensive orientation to help new staff gain the skills necessary to do their job and understand the company policies they will need to follow.
However, your training program shouldn’t be limited to new hires. Ongoing training and refresher sessions can help staff brush up on their skills and remind them of your company policies. You may also need to implement new training sessions to cover industry changes or new local or federal laws.
3. Use a variety of teaching methods
Not everyone learns the same way. Using a variety of teaching methods can help improve caregiver training at your agency and help your employees remember key information. When designing your caregiver training program, you might consider using teaching techniques such as:
- Classroom lectures
- Hands-on/real-world training
- Computer modules
- Visual aids
As you might imagine, some of the above teaching methods make more sense in certain contexts. For example, CPR and first aid training should include hands-on practice with first aid dummies, but instruction around the law could be delivered through a lecture, computer module, or handouts.
4. Cover first aid and emergency basics
As a caregiver, you and your employees will work closely with patients. First aid and emergency care are essential skills, as you may be working with the elderly, chronically ill, those with a disability, and other special needs patients. This training may include:
- How to provide CPR
- How to use a defibrillator
- Assisting someone who is choking
- Administering emergency medications for anaphylaxis, asthma, and other conditions
- Immobilization techniques
- Treating sprains and strains, fractures, non-life-threatening bleeding, and shock
First aid certifications must be renewed every few years. Offering this training to your employees can help them stay current without needing to get re-certified on their own time.
5. Offer more advanced training options
Members of your staff may be interested in more advanced or specialty training to help them better care for their patients and progress in their careers. Many home healthcare agencies offer low-cost or free certified nursing assistant (CNA) training to their employees. You can also pay employees’ tuition if they agree to work for you for a specified period.
You may also offer specialized training on common conditions that your staff may encounter, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Mental health awareness training may also be important for interacting with homebound and chronically ill patients.
Regularly assess your training program
Once you’ve created your caregiver training program, you’re done, right? Not quite. To truly Improve your caregiver training program, you should make it an ongoing process.
The structure and teaching plan you’ve created now may no longer work for your business next year or even next month! Business growth, new employees, and other changes to your company may mean that your caregiver training needs updating. You might also gain access to new resources that can improve your caregiver training and how it is delivered.
Training caregivers checklist
Here’s a short checklist if you are creating a new caregiver training program or improving an existing one:
- Decide what skills your caregivers must have, so you can ensure that their training covers the essentials they’ll need on the job.
- Incorporate different teaching techniques into your courses to accommodate different learners and help staff retain the information presented.
- Match training courses to appropriate instruction methods.
- Create an onboarding and ongoing training schedule.
- Consider offering specialized training and emergency/first aid certification courses to help staff upskill and provide more tailored care to each patient.
Protecting your caregiving business
Training your staff is an essential part of building a successful home healthcare business. Properly trained caregivers are able to care for patients and help ensure their safety and wellbeing. However, accidents do happen. Even the best-trained caregiver could make a mistake that could result in a claim or lawsuit for your small business.
Caregiver business insurance can create an extra layer of protection for your home healthcare business. Coverage options, such as General Liability and Professional Liability, help safeguard your finances against common risks that come with working closely with others. This includes giving advice, providing physical assistance, and entering clients’ homes.
In most states, you are required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance before hiring your first employee.
Learn more about caregiver business insurance for your home healthcare agency. Compare quotes now and get covered in minutes!