How to Get More Referrals From Hospitals, SNF, and Physicians

HHAs cannot survive without a steady flow of patient referrals, especially in areas where there is an abundance of HHAs competing for the same few patient population.

Why is it now harder to get referrals from hospital or SNF discharge planners?

There are several good reasons why it’s harder to get referrals from discharge planners:

1. Discharge planners are bombarded by home health sales reps on a daily basis as competition for patients increases. There has been a 75% increase in the number of agencies across the US. Can you see why discharge planners from hospitals and SNFs are overwhelmed? Many hospitals have new policies prohibiting home health sales reps from calling or dropping in on their discharge planners because it’s takes up too much of their time.

2. With the explosion of home health agencies, and the rules about patient choice and freedom of choice, it is more difficult for discharge planners to make referrals to certain agencies all the time. This is especially true when most agencies have the same wording in their brochures. Nothing makes them stand out from the crowd. Nothing says why the patient should choose your agency over another agency.

3. Discharge Planner/ Case Managers (DP/CM) are under tremendous pressure to get patients out of hospitals quicker, so this makes it harder for discharge planners/case managers to discharge patients from the hospital to competent home health or home care services. The pressure makes it hard for CM/DP to interact with home health sales reps.

Solution: What is a more effective way to get more referrals from Physicians, hospitals, and Skilled Nursing Facilities?

Based on the above information, and just plain knowledge on how the system works. It just makes good sense for home health agencies and personal care agencies to start specializing in providing specific types of care, or target a certain group of patients rather than saying that “everyone” is your targeted market. The truth is that not everyone is your targeted market with so much competition out there looking for the patients. Now is the opportunity for home health and personal care agencies to generate referrals that turn into admissions by telling DP/CM, physicians, and SNF what makes you special. What problem of theirs can you solve?

Your Sales Rep. should be able to tell hospitals, SNF, physicians or their office staffs how you can solve the 30 Day Re- Admission issues that Medicare penalizes them for. If you focus on this 30-day Re-Admission problem that plagues every hospital in the country, then your agency will soar to higher success. Training staff will be the first step you take to guarantee the success of this plan. Your sales rep must be very knowledgeable about what your agency can and cannot do. There’s nothing worse than having a sales rep promising hospitals, and doctors that you can provide services that your agency is not qualified to do. If your agency cannot provide anything more than simple wound care because your nurses are not trained on wound care, then don’t take patients with major wound care needs. You would think this would be common sense, but believe me as a consultant, I have seen many agencies get into trouble by taking patient case loads they are not qualified for, or have enough nurses to provide the care.

How Is Life Review Therapy a Way to Bring Transformation?

Sharing memories take you on an adventurous journey that helps you relive the moments of past. The idea of sharing memories has now become a therapy to treat concerns such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Life review therapy is a way to achieve a sense of peace or empowerment about one’s life. It is often confused by the term reminiscence therapy which is slightly different from it. On one hand, people describe a memory while on the other hand people tell what that memory means to them.

This therapy may not be for everyone but helps a certain group of people to look back into their lives with a different perspective. There is no particular theme for the therapy but it usually revolves around childhood, education, friendship, parenthood, working years etc. You may be asked to bring souvenirs including music, photos, letters, possessions, or even family trees that can help you sketch your story with each minute detail and embellishment.

Life review therapy can be done for various purposes such as therapeutic, educational, and informational. Talking about therapeutic, it is useful for the people to dig deeper into their lives and discover the hidden purpose. Older adults suffering from diseases like Dementia, Alzheimer, depression, anxiety or those diagnosed with a terminal condition and are facing the pain of the loss of loved one can be benefited by this therapy. Secondly, Educational purpose; students these days are asked to talk to their parents and grandparents about their past life and experiences that have taught them various lessons in life for a better understanding. Lastly, informational purpose; sharing memories help to carry forward the family traditions and culture to the coming generations.

Life review therapy is related to ego integrity and despair. Some studies revealed that life review interventions promoted ego integrity and enhanced psychological well-being in older people. These studies showed that life review improved personal meaning, increased life satisfaction, increased self-esteem, and promote adaptation of older people. In addition, studies also revealed that life review interventions prevented despair in older people.

On the contrary, people who have had a miserable past may have ill effects of this therapy as it may bring back all the bad memories associated with one’s life and take them on to a painful trip. There is a platform that has been working for the well-being of older adults by treating them through Life review therapy which they keep conducting on a regular basis individually or in the groups. The advantage of having a group therapy is that you feel light sharing your memories and become strong after listening to other people who might have an entirely different experience. Seniors who would love to share their life experience can do that as well. Because each person has got a story to tell that can empower not only himself but also the person listening to it.

LifeBio is a platform that captures life stories and helps people publish biographies using an online system and journals. Reminiscence therapy is one way they help older adults to stay happy in their life.

An Easy Introduction to Salt Therapy

It is no question that the pharmacy industry grows every day. Any symptom you are feeling can easily be treated with a pill or a daily dose of medicine. It’s very easy to get caught up in how easily problems we have with our bodies can go away. But taking pills or medicine sometimes is not the best option. With reoccurring illnesses or problems in the body, by taking the same drug one too many times, your body can build an immunity to it, requiring larger doses to have an effect. Natural treatments have been becoming popular once again because they can be done safely and effectively at home, and with fewer risks.

A well-known natural treatment is salt therapy. Salt therapy has been around as early as the twelfth century. This natural and non-invasive treatment involves inhaling microscopic salt particles, targeted at cleansing the respiratory system. The salt’s negatively charged ions (which can be found in places like the beach or waterfalls) are found to reduce the amount of mucus and inflammation in the lungs. This effect improves respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus infections, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and many more. By liquefying the mucus and the inflammation going down, the airways become more cleared for the patient. It is also easier to cough and expel what is unwanted out of the lungs.

Salt therapy does more than just cleansing the respiratory system. According to one study published on PubMed, “It inhibits the growth of bacteria and, in some case, kills them. Phagocyte activity is also increased. It has beneficial effect on the well-being of the patients, and a relaxation effect on the central nervous system. It can prevent, or at least decrease the frequency of the respiratory tract inflammations. It produces better lung function parameters, diminishes bronchial hyperreactivity, which is the sign of decreasing inflammation.” By killing the growth of the bacteria, it’s much more difficult for it to spread and infect the body. Due to this, you will find yourself getting fewer colds and infections because of how strong your body has become. Overall, these additional bonuses of salt therapy will only continue improving your quality of life.

Since salt therapy is drug-free, it makes it a wonderful option for children, especially fussy ones. They won’t even notice the salt particles they’re breathing in because they’re so minuscule, making it extremely easy to have them do this treatment. There have also been studies taken on children with asthma and the effects of salt therapy on them. PubMed concluded that “The treatment group showed a statistical improvement in most parameters of quality of life questionnaires.” and “Our pilot study suggests that salt room with halo generator, may have some beneficial effects in mild asthmatic children.” More and more studies show the positive influence and improved quality of life salt therapy had on the patients. Beside recent studies, salt therapy has been used for centuries as folk medicine. Europe has many salt sanatoriums, the treatments being covered by the health ministry in some of the European countries.

Salt therapy can do a lot for you and can also be used easily at home. This treatment isn’t limited to only those who are affected by a respiratory illness. It can help you from preventing many different illnesses before they affect you by strengthening your immunity. It’s safe, it’s affordable, and it doesn’t come with any potential side effects like most prescription drugs do. Go natural and try salt therapy today!

Healthy Living – The Best Tips For Getting Through A Cold

No one likes being ill. But yet every year, there is a good chance you will catch at least one cold or flu bug. Double this if you have children. When you are down and out with a cold, what do you find happens to your diet and fitness plan? Do you abandon ship, telling yourself you will start-up again once you are feeling better? If that is the case, you may want to rethink your strategy to some degree. While you obviously are not going to hit the gym and crash through some personal best records, this does not mean you have to become a junk-food eating sloth on the couch either. Here are some healthy ideas to keep in mind…

1. Drink Plenty Of Water. First, this tip will work double time because not only will it help you stay healthy, but it may just help you get past your cold as well. You should aim to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water even while sick. If you are struggling to get your water intake in, note you can also make your fluid intake from broth-based soups, or teas. Some people find chicken soup, for instance, is the perfect fluid to take in while they are unwell.

2. Get Up And Walk – If It’s Shoulders And Above. The golden rule for activity while ill is if it is above your shoulders, you are free to do any activity you choose. If it is below your shoulders, however, then you will want to rest up for the time being.

Head colds will not preclude you from participating in light to moderate intensity activity. You probably do not want to do anything super intense because that will place a strain on your CNS and in turn, make it harder to recover, but do get up and get moving. The increase in blood circulation can be good for delivering nutrients to all your bodily tissues and this can also help to increase your energy level at a time you may otherwise be feeling sluggish.

3. Eat Sufficient Protein. It is normal to experience some changes in your appetite while you are not feeling so well. What you always want to make sure you are doing is eating sufficient lean protein. You want to get those amino acids in as this is what will help to preserve your lean muscle mass tissue and prevent the loss of muscle while ill.

If you are only unwell for a day or two it probably will not matter too much. But if you are ill for a week or longer and are not eating enough protein, this could start to impact you. Focus on lean sources of quality protein such as…

  • chicken,
  • steak,
  • eggs, and
  • fish.

There you have a few good health tips to keep in mind to use during cold and flu season. Even if you do get sick, do your best to make the most of it by giving your body what it requires to get you through a quick recovery.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

4 Actions Home Health Leaders Should Take

When you become the owner, manager or administrator of a home health agency people look up to you for leadership, to clarify, and guide them in the right direction, even if they don’t ask for it they do want it. When I was thrust into a leadership position a few years back, I kept looking for someone who could guide me and show me “the ropes.” I started reading as many leadership books that I could get my hands on. However, what helped me the most was watching leaders and mentors such as Oprah, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, and a bunch of unknown leaders in various professions in action. YouTube is great for having easy access to top leaders in the world.

I found that it was hard to find a person in a leadership position who would take the time to show me the ropes. Huh! I had to learn the hard way through many trials and errors. I finally understood that in some industries there is no emphasis on the concept of mentoring and coaching the” newbies”. You are on your own, especially if you need help in the home health industry.

So many home health agencies are in need of having an experienced director of clinical services on board, that they are now hiring nurses with no experience in home health that can jeopardize the success of the agency. Having the right person and processes in place is crucial to meet the state and federal requirements. Thus, having someone with great leadership skills, experience and knowledge is becoming ever more important in the home health industry.

What about Homecare (Personal care) Agencies?

While homecare agencies are not required to have a Director of Clinical Services, the Manager still need have specific qualifications required by the state regulations.

As a first-time Administrator, Manager, Owner, or Director of Clinical Services, here are a few strategies that any leader can use to be successful.

1. Be a first-class Listener

To be a good listener you must be present. This means to be physically or mentally focused on what is being said and not being distracted by everything that is happening around you. Being a good listener will make you more appreciative of what the other person has to say. You will be more effective in problem solving. Listening to your staff may take a lot of practice, consistency, and effort on your behalf, especially if you don’t agree with what that person has to say. We must remind ourselves of the benefits to listening more than talking. We must not judge the employee who is speaking, and look at the situation from their point of view.

2. Be a Better Communicator

Being a leader who can successfully communicate will be key to your success. Great communication skills should be a required for all agency owners, managers, or administrators. This is one skill that will vastly improve over time with practice.

3. Have a Vision For Your Agency

A great leader should have a clear and exciting vision for the future of their agency. This vision should be clear to everyone working for your agency, your clients, and business associates. What are your goals for the agency? Share those goals with people who matter and can help your goals manifest.

4. Find a Great Leader to Emulate

As I mentioned before, when I first started out on my journey as a leader, I was looking for someone who would serve as a role model and good leader. Of course, there wasn’t anyone in the home health or healthcare industry for me to emulate. Who do you know that is a successful leader as a home health administrator, owner, or manager? Good question huh! Since our choices are very limited, we have to emulate people from other industries to guide us to success and prosperity.

A leader that can demonstrate their commitment to being persistent, honest, take risks, and discover ways to develop creative solutions will be successful in growing a very profitable business.

Being a great leader will not happen overnight but by simply doing these 4 things you can start to learn a lot about yourself and what good leaders do to be successful. You’ll find what works well for you and what else you need to learn to continue your growth as a great leader. If you enjoyed reading about leadership, then let me encourage you to check out the different online leadership programs on this site.