Empowering Caregivers with Technology: Tips and Strategies for Effective Use
The technological innovations of recent years have provided home care agencies with new methods for workforce management, care plan management, and communicating with clients. But the more strategic your approach to these digital tools, the greater the benefits will be.
How Technology Can Help or Hinder Your Team
Technology has come to play a significant role in the home care industry, where it’s often used for everything from caregiver scheduling to keeping family members updated and involved in clients’ care.
When used well, digital tools ensure your staff members always have the tools and resources they need to drive better outcomes. They improve caregiver retention levels by giving your care team greater control over their shift times and, consequently, their work-life balance.
And, they streamline communication between you, your caregivers, your clients, and their families. They can boost family engagement in a client’s care services, the importance of which can’t be overstated. Supportive families facilitate better care quality.
But that’s the good side of technology. It also has an ugly side. Care providers can struggle with unintuitive systems that aren’t compatible with workers’ mobile devices. Poor implementation can lead to long-winded processes that waste time and demotivate your workforce. And your staff may lack digital skills.
Technology can also wreak havoc with communication. Your workers can struggle with communication overload, either because you’re sending too many messages via too many channels — email, SMS, phone calls, Slack, Google Calendar, and more — or because they have too unnecessary direct communication with clients and their families.
Alternatively, they may feel unable to communicate. Confusing communication methods can leave them unsure about how to send a message to a manager or even call a client’s family member if nobody’s answering the door. Communication tools can also, if used inappropriately, lead to feelings of inauthenticity. Think of the manager who responds with a sad-face emoji rather than a thoughtful message, for example, or with a read receipt without a response.
5 Strategies to Ensure Your Technology Actually Supports Your Caregivers
#1 Seek Caregiver Feedback
Ask for a free trial before adopting digital tools, and seek feedback from your staff during this period. You might be surprised by how much the caregiver perspective can differ when it comes to whether software is user-friendly. By giving your staff a chance to review these tools, you can make sure that it really will help them.
#2 Prioritize Ease of Use
When selecting new technology, you might be tempted by the software with the most functions and features. Ease of use is just as important, if not more so. Look for tools that are intuitive, with simple and clear user interfaces.
#3 Design Simple Processes
Your technology should simplify your operations so your staff can spend less time on paperwork and processes, and more time delivering care. Review your processes to ensure that they’re streamlined. Look for technology that enables your caregivers to complete all their tasks on one single platform. And eliminate as many steps as possible.
#4 Create Training
The right training will enable your caregivers to develop their digital skills and ensure they understand how best to use technology. Draw up a training program specific to your chosen software, as well as to your internal processes. This will ensure it is relevant.
Consider offering training in a range of formats: video, text, group, and individual. Provide follow-up training at regular intervals. And perhaps most importantly of all, seek feedback from your care providers on the training program.
You might find that your software comes with extensive guides and training materials. This can help you create better training resources for your caregiver workforce, but don’t forget to customize them to your home care agency.
#5 Ensure Privacy and Security
Patient privacy and security are of the utmost importance, but most common HIPAA violations are caused by human error or poor use of technology. They are especially likely to occur in home care, since your caregiver team needs to check and update patient data via their mobile devices. Concerns over data leaks and breaches can cause anxiety among your staff.
HIPAA-compliant tools will help take the stress out of patient privacy by making violations less likely. Look for features such as cloud storage and a mobile app with secure login credentials. Knowing that patient data is safe will help your workforce relax.
Technology that Will Empower Your Caregivers
Technology has a critical role to play in the home care industry. When implemented effectively, and when your caregivers are supported with the tools and training they need, you’ll discover that the right tools can revolutionize your business.
They will help your care team to provide a better quality of care by ensuring that they have the information they need for every shift. They’ll also boost efficiency so your home care provider business can thrive. And, they’ll keep compliant so your clients can relax, safe in the knowledge that their rights are being respected.
ShiftCare’s care management software is built around the needs of home care agencies. It will help you manage every aspect of your business, from onboarding clients and managing their care to scheduling your caregivers and understanding your finances. It is HIPAA-compliant and comes with an intuitive caregiver app for your staff.
Discover how the right tools can support your staff. Try ShiftCare for free.