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Stay Ahead of the Pack: Winning the Post-Acute Care Trifecta

Some people say bad luck comes in threes. In the competitive post-acute care environment, your organization must deal with the triple threat of regulatory changes, continuing high turnover, and competency challenges.

Just remember, though, good luck can also run in threes. Think about horse racing as an example; it would be a dream to attain the trifecta.

Unlike horse racing, however, the trifecta in post-acute care is not predicting who will finish in first, second, and third place.

Your bet is on your business. And that means working toward long-term success, not top honors in a once-in-a-lifetime race.

To finish ahead of the competition consistently, you’ll need to pay attention to a trio of strategies:

  1. Improving outcomes
  2. Increasing client and family satisfaction
  3. Generating revenue growth

Let’s delve into these three elements of the dream trifecta—which all revolve around staff expertise— to see how you can win long term.

1. Improving Outcomes

Just as with horses, the key to a great clinical outcome is building strength and consistency via training. One-off annual compliance training won’t cut it.

Consistent onboarding will ensure that your team shares an understanding of your policies and procedures, no matter how far from the main office they work. An online curriculum can help because assigning standard courses can foster consistency and assist with gradual building of professional strengths.

Many education administrators find it helpful to assign training plans based on job roles. Then employees can see how they fit within the organization.

Instilling the organization’s expectations and culture in your new hires is an important part of onboarding too. One large post-acute care organization recognized this fact and took action. American Health Partners revamped its onboarding to get everyone on the same page at the start. When you have consistent onboarding, you can support your brand identity and reputation for quality.

Then you can work on boosting individual skills via targeted training. No matter how talented your team members are, they all have room for improvement.

Of course, before implementing a training program, you will want to identify what skills your staff members already have and what your organization’s performance record is. Conducting baseline assessments will help you gather that information. After analyzing the results, you’ll know where the weak spots are, and you can focus your training on improvements in those areas.

Villa Healthcare serves as a case in point. The post-acute care organization looked at its rehospitalization numbers and took a targeted approach to staff education, increasing nurses’ access to short modules available on mobile devices. When Villa intentionally focused on patient outcomes and staff education, it reduced its rehospitalization rate from 21% to 11% in just four months.

If your business implements consistent onboarding and continual training options, you can elevate the care provided in each facility or in clients’ homes. When staff members understand how they contribute to the organization’s mission, they take pride in providing high-quality care that leads to the best outcomes.

2. Increasing Client and Family Satisfaction

Besides being steeped in the standards of care and your organization’s policies, your staff members need to know they are valued. Respect breeds respect.

When you provide training, managerial and peer coaching, and praise for a job well done, you will build a relationship with your staff that nurtures high performance.

Of course, leaders also continue to struggle with high turnover in post-acute care. When tight margins limit staff pay increases, leaders do have other options to attract and retain talented employees. A survey by Glassdoor indicated that many employees valued opportunities for professional development over pay increases.

Providing access to online learning for all employees can be a welcome benefit. That way you can give your caregivers and nurses options for gaining more specialized skills and certifications at a time and place that suits the individual’s schedule and professional goals.

While encouraging professional growth, it’s wise to build your leadership and management team’s skills so they can coach staff members, keeping them engaged and informed.

Soft skills are also important to promoting positive interactions with clients and their families. Making sure your staff and managers are well versed in communication, setting boundaries, critical thinking, and other professional behavior will support client satisfaction, positive reviews, and referrals, which in turn support revenue generation.

3. Generating Revenue Growth

A static business approach will not promote growth in the current post-acute care climate. Of course, ensuring that your team is educated in the basics is an evergreen expectation. Training in client assessment, assistance with activities of daily living, clinical skills, and ICD-10 coding are just some of the basics in staff education needed.

However, change requires responsiveness. Amid regulation changes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, including new payment models, your team needs to stay on top of shifting competency and documentation requirements. In addition, avoiding hospital readmissions continues to be vital to your quality reporting program and your bottom line.

You’re also likely to be considering whether shifts in your business focus might help draw in more revenue. As payment models emphasize care for the whole patient rather than episodes of therapy, having staff with specialized skills such as knowledge of wound care, respiratory interventions, and dementia care may be a stronger need in the future.

Building a specialized care team requires specialized education and often certification. Convenient access to training in areas such as wound care and dementia care will help promote that type of professional growth for your staff.  Gaining specialized expertise can build your nurses’ sense of pride and confidence and lead to better client outcomes. Those in turn pay off in terms of quality ratings and referrals.

As we’ve already acknowledged, you’re betting on your business in this competitive race for clients and healthcare dollars. Although you’re in it for the long haul, your clients might be viewing their interaction with your team as a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. So remember that every client visit is important, as is every staff member.

If your team treats every client encounter as a step in the race to be the best, you just might attain your own version of the trifecta.


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