6 Tips To Grow Your Agency In A Post COVID-19 World
The coronavirus pandemic has affected every part of our lives. For those in the senior care field especially, COVID-19 has changed how we protect older adults and how we do business in general. You are leading your home care agency in the midst of a global pandemic, and it isn’t easy. However, many of the hurdles and challenges you are facing are not unique; home care agencies across the globe are all learning how to effectively operate in this “new normal”.
Here are just a few ways home care agencies are being affected by COVID-19, as well as how agencies are rising to the challenge.
A Focus on Building Confidence
Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles home care agencies are facing is the general anxiety and confusion from current and potential clients. It’s no wonder family members and older adults are worried and overwhelmed; the information about coronavirus comes fast and furious anytime they turn on the tv. Even more troubling is the rampant spread of wrong or inaccurate information. In fact, so much misinformation about COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to start a “Stop the Spread” campaign to stop the spread of incorrect information across social media outlets and press reports.
Home care agencies are choosing to combat anxiety and confusion by communicating with confidence. You can build confidence in your agency by:
- Choosing to only reference and post about information from reputable resources such as the CDC, WHO, or your local health department
- Communicate about tangible things your team is doing to protect your clients, staff, and community
- Post photos of your caregivers in appropriate PPE while working with clients or before entering a client’s home
- Post positive and recent reviews from family members, clients, or referral partners
Choosing to Actively Protect Clients and Staff
An ongoing Home Care Pulse survey notes that more than 30% of agencies have had positive COVID-19 tests from either a client or staff member. If you haven’t had a positive case reported to your agency yet, you likely will by the time this pandemic has come to an official close. However, you shouldn’t wait for the positive test to start planning. Instead, choose to proactively prepare for your first COVID-19 case while also implementing policies and procedures that protect your clients and team.
You can begin this process by:
- Calling your local health department to talk about what to do if a client or caregiver tests positive for the virus
- Working with your custodial company that cleans your office to ensure thorough cleaning and disinfecting happens on a daily basis
- If your town has a COVID-19 taskforce, ensuring a member of your agency has a seat at those virtual or in-person meetings
- Speaking candidly with your clinical team about PPE policy and procedures, along with any changes that need to be made
- Making sure caregivers have plenty of PPE readily available in client homes
- Communicating your policy and procedures to caregivers, clients, and family members
- Creating a way for clients or caregivers to express their concerns about coronavirus protection
Remaining Financially Successful
COVID-19 has left many small and large businesses without a regular source of income. While senior care has certainly experienced some uncertainty during this time, agencies and organizations are staying flexible and creative in order to stay financially successful.
Many home care organizations have successfully applied for, and received, federal, state, or regionally based loans. This is an excellent option to pursue, as is switching marketing strategies in a time when it is more difficult to visit hospital discharge planners or other partners throughout your local area. Keep those partnerships strong by adding these ideas to your quarterly marketing plan:
- Host virtual lunch and learn opportunities for discharge planners and other partners (just send lunch ahead of time and host a Zoom meeting with an educational component)
- Find a way to make virtual assessments easy for the potential client and for the discharge planner (or partner)
- Send happy care packages to your local partners that include a cloth mask, a candy treat, and a gift card for a cup of coffee
- Get involved with your Chamber of Commerce’s virtual networking events as well as any program they have where they feature a local agency on their social media page