Here is a marketing tool that can turbo-charge your marketing and relationship development efforts in facilities. Home Health Aids!! That is right, HHAs. These unsung heroes are in facilities more than any other professionals from our interdisciplinary team. I have held numerous marketing training programs over the years and to date, this HHA training session was amongst one of the best. Several ideas that surfaced from this training I still use today. With some coaching and tools, your HHAs can help build your facility based business.
There are some HHAs that I would want to care for my mother, but there is no way I would ever let them into a facility. While they were wonderful, compassionate, skilled caregivers, they were also the proverbial bull in the China shop. You know what I mean and can probably name a HHA or two like this in your organization.
So, the first order of business before any training occurs is to meet with your clinical director and identify those key facilities you want to grow your censuses from 3 and 4 to 5 and 6 and more. Once that task is done, you look for those HHAs that will be great fits in these facilities. I know this is easier said than done, but something you need to do if you are serious about growing your facility census.
My first HHA marketing training program was in 2001 with Hospice of Michigan. We were a state-wide organization with a census of 800. State-Wide we serviced 50 to 60 facilities with strong census. I created a one-day training program for all the HHAs that worked in facilities. The logistic of scheduling this was the hardest part of the whole day. There were 25 HHAs that participated in the training.
The training day consisted of a combination of service standards review and brainstorming new and better ways to exceed the expectations of the facility based customers. The patient him/herself and then all the staff members in the facility.
Here are some of the service standards and brainstorming ideas that came out of our session.
- Communication, communication and more communication: A module on customer service and satisfaction was presented. We talked about and role played ways the HHA would enter their facility, who in the facility they would let know they were there, and when they were getting ready to leave, who they would check out with.
- Customized Note Pads: We created customized Note Pads with the HHA’s name on them so they would write notes to facility staff to let them know how their patient was doing and also as a way to create high visibility.
- Table Top Tents: During our brainstorming sessions the HHAs said they would receive comments from the facility that they didn’t know when the HHAs or Nurses were in the building. To correct that we created Table Top Tents that said “Mary Your Home Health Aid Was In The Building.” We ended up making these Tents for all the HHAs and Nurses who worked in facilities. Every time one of our staff entered the building, they place these Table Top Tents at the Nurse’s
- Stations. We asked permission of the Administrator to display the Table Top Tents and they always agreed.
Conflict Resolution: Many of the HHAs wanted training on how to deal with staff in the facilities who were sometimes less than friendly. We did a 90-minute session that provided phraseology our HHAs could use when encountering tension or conflict in a facility.
The results! After 90-days we saw a 68% increase in census from 57 facilities that had a HHA attend the training. Overall, we grew our Senior Living Community census by 35% in an 18 month period. The HHA marketing strategy was one of the tools that helped us achieve this goal!