Dear Homecare Agency owner,
Thank you for your avalanche of feedback and comments regarding the last three published articles describing the relationship-building process of your Homecare Agency with Discharge Planners.
We know that the process of establishing and cultivating relationships with Discharge Planners is not easy. Relationships are not easy. Relationships have to be organic and cannot be superimposed. They certainly cannot be forced by salespeople. That is exactly why we urge you to MakeOver your process. To move away from marketing and selling, and into relationship-building. Relationship-building takes time. Relationships are based on trust. Trust cannot be bought — it has to be earned. Once a relationship is established, it has to be cultivated.
Today, let’s have a short Q&A session with some of the most often heard questions and feedback we received from you. If a topic that is of interest to you has not been addressed here, speak up. Email us your topic by clicking here.
Why so many hospitals establish their own Homecare Agencies?
The fact that many hospitals created their own Homecare Agencies is a reaffirmation that almost 100% of their Elderly patients desperately want to be discharged back Home. Hospitals are losing their patients, so do nursing homes and traditional large and impersonal assisted living facilities.
Almost all Seniors want to nest and receive care at Home. If you were a hospital administrator, wouldn’t you create a Homecare Agency to try to stop the patient loss? Of course, we are heartbroken that Seniors often are not presented with choices of Homecare providers beyond the hospital-affiliated Homecare Agency. We feel this is unethical, but that is a different fight and topic altogether. This is a fight that should be fought by Eldercare advocates, your Homecare association, your state and federal Department of Consumer Protection.
Since many hospitals have created Homecare Agencies of their own, should I bother trying to build relationships with them?
First of all, that depends on their and your scope of care. You should build relationships only with those who need you. You must research their websites and make calls to determine if they provide skilled nursing care only, or do they also provide non-medical care. Not all hospital-affiliated Agencies provide non-medical care. Research your service area well, and build relationships with hospitals and Discharge Planners that need you.
Second of all, take the hospitals’ service area into consideration. Hospitals, because they have patients traveling to their facility, often have a large, 50-mile service area. Hospital-affiliated Homecare Agencies, because they have to travel to patients’ homes, cannot possibly cover the 50-mile radius. Their problem is your opportunity. Those hospital-affiliated Homecare Agencies may need you to care for patients who are beyond their 10-20 mile service area. Again, this is an opportunity for you.
Keep in mind that hospitals are only one of several types of facilities employing Discharge Planners.
There is only a handful of hospitals within my Agency’s 20-mile service area. I want to grow my Homecare Agency, expand my service area, and build relationships with Discharge Planners that are 30-40-50 miles away. How do I do that?
There are some exceptions, but, generally speaking, the answer is very short — don’t. Why? Because trying to do that is not in the best interest of patients. The Agency that is best able to care for their patients is the Agency that is located in the patients’ backyard. You are best able to care for those Seniors who are in your backyard. You are better able to care for those who are 1 mile away from your office than those who are 40 miles away.
Every Client and, therefore, Discharge Planner, wants a local Homecare Agency. Research your competition. Point out to the Discharge Planner that your service area includes town A and town B, which are in your backyard, and that you are the only Agency that serves towns A and B. When the Discharge Planner has a patient from towns A and B, your Agency may be a natural fit. The key is to accentuate to the Discharge Planner the fact that you are better positioned to serve a particular Client. Discharge Planner wants local Agency. If you enlarge your service area to 30-40-50 miles, you will lose the trust of the Discharge Planner. They know what is and what is not possible. They have been around. Remember, you must always keep your promises. Promising to care for Clients who are 30-40-50 miles away is a promise you cannot keep in the long run. That is a promise you should not be making because you are not positioned to possibly provide them with optimal care.
Exception: There are always some exceptions. If you provide Live-In care and that is your specialty, we all know that such care requires less maintenance. Daily transportation to and from patients’ Homes is not an issue. You may be able to provide Live-In care beyond your 20-mile radius. However, be prepared to demonstrate how exactly is your Agency monitoring and assuring quality of care for patients who are so far away from your office. Is your Care Coordinator prepared for a 50-mile drive that will turn out to be a 3-hour one-way drive in a heavy traffic — especially when that snow hits the road?
If you want to grow and expand, we congratulate you. Contact us and we will guide you through that process with a detailed market research, strategic and data-driven advice. Homecare is not only our specialty — it is our love. The ultimate goal of that guidance is to establish your second, third, etc., office in your potential Clients’ backyards.
There are plenty of hospitals that do not have Homecare Agencies. There are plenty of hospital-affiliated Homecare Agencies that offer skilled-nursing care only. There are plenty of Discharge Planners who need you and your Agency. There are plenty of Seniors who desperately want to age at Home and absolutely refuse to go into a facility.
Thank you for serving the Elderly!
Stay tuned. In future blogs we will touch upon other issues related to Discharge Planners.
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I have worked with hundreds of people, but never with someone more passionate about Homecare, more dedicated to his client, more focused than Christopher. (…) Those qualities, and his unlimited energy, make him a very sought-after partner in the field of Homecare. He is definitely someone you want on your team!
Bruno S. of Los Angeles, California