Monthly Archives: May 2016

Improve home health outcomes for more referrals

If you’re a home health provider, you know high levels of positive outcomes are more important than ever. The CMS Quality of Patient Care star rating and Patient Experience of Care star rating are powerfully persuasive when it comes time for prospective patients to find in-home care.

Is your company doing everything you can to improve your Home Health Compare outcomes scores? If there’s still room for improvement — and there always is — here are some tips that can help.

  • Focus on staff training. If your staff receives proper, ongoing training on company procedures, best practices, and new ways to engage with patients, the investment can have a huge impact on your outcomes scores. Spell out everything they need to know, including agency policies and general care instructions, in a comprehensive professional caregiver handbook.
  • Emphasize patient education. The cooperation of your patients is among the biggest factors in whether the patient will experience a positive outcome. Create an easy-to-follow care plan that incorporates detailed patient education and involvement. Integrate a condition-specific patient education guide as part of your program. Not only will your patients benefit, but the educational piece can help persuade referral sources to send their patients your way for their best chance for a positive outcome.
  • Further help your patients understand their condition and communicate their daily progress with health log booklets. TAG Partners offers scorecard logs, health logs, blood pressure logs, glucose monitoring logs and pain and symptom logs.
  • One more group of tools you can place at your patients’ disposal is Zone Flyers designed for their specific conditions. These provide at-a-glance guidance about whether symptoms being experienced are normal, warrant a call to their home health nurse, or need emergency attention.

When all of your efforts lead to CMS outcomes scores that you’re ready to highlight, call attention to them in eye-catching brochures that easily convey to referral sources how patients benefit from their experience under your care and exactly how your relevant outcomes scores compare to state or national averages.

For more information or to get started on creating your own materials, contact TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 or visit www.partnerwithtag.com.

5 ways to improve your brand’s visibilty

You’ve hired a great team and have solid educational materials to promote your services. Now what? Polishing your image and marketing yourself goes far beyond your logo, staff training, and agency collateral. The essence of who you are is ingrained in the details, big and small.

It’s important to step back and make a big-picture assessment of who you are, how you are being interpreted, and whether the message you’re conveying is the right one. Are you doing everything you can to maximize your positive visibility in your community?

Here are five ideas that can help:

  1. Make a great first impression. At minimum, your company should have a clear outdoor sign that makes it easy for visitors to find you. Once this is accomplished, you should review the elements on the interior of your office to ensure your brand is represented strongly and cohesively throughout your property. Even though your clients may never see the interior of your office, your employees, community stakeholders, and business partners will. Make sure this impression is a good one with strong signage, wall coverings, and more.
  2. Don’t overlook the obvious. There’s a way to make sure community awareness of your agency increases exponentially: turn your company cars into mobile billboards for your services. This can be as simple as a decal or magnet affixed to your door or as snazzy as a full vehicle wrap. This is a surprisingly affordable option that has a great ROI.
  3. Stand out. Whether you’re participating in a health fair or hosting a community presentation, make the experience more professional with branded retractable banner stands, table throws and hop-up tension fabric displays. Items like these will give your presentation an enhanced air of professionalism and authority.
  4. Improve recall with branded promotional items. Hand out useful promotional items that tie in with your presentation and feature your logo and contact information. Some ideas for this include branded nightlights for fall prevention presentations, branded pill boxes for medication education events, and home-shaped stress balls or collapsible hand fans for community events. Make the most of your investment by making sure your giveaways are not throwaways – useful and memorable items are key.
  5. Make your referral sources’ day. When you’re considering what to leave behind at physicians’ offices, the best branded materials are durable, educational and useful. Consider branded clipboards with referral criteria, guidelines for admission flip charts, or pocket reference guide for home health or hospice. There also will always be a place for items like adhesive notepads and pens – make sure yours are memorable by choosing something  a little unusual (like a pen with a built-in stylus tip to make working with EHRs a little easier).

If you’re ready to take the next steps, TAG Partners can help. Together with our parent company, Brand Imaging Group, we can help you showcase your brand and stand out in your market.

 

Shine a spotlight on headache awareness this June

One unexpected aspect of aging has a huge impact on the lives of many older adults: fewer headaches. Migraine headaches tend to occur less often and lessen in severity as people age. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity also often decrease.

But when older adults develop headaches for the first time or their chronic headache pattern changes, it’s important to investigate whether an underlying condition is at work. June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Join the effort and spread the word about headache awareness.

  • Visit the Migraine and Headache Awareness Month observance webpage of the National Headache Foundation to learn more about the observance and how you can participate.
  • Visit a local senior center and lead a discussion about headaches and different ways to relieve headache pain, including acupuncture, massage, meditation, stretching, yoga, heat and cold.
  • Partner with a local ophthalmologist to man a booth at a local health fair to provide information about how headaches may relate to vision changes or vision loss. Be sure to have plenty of agency information on hand.
  • Create a flyer about the various age-related causes of headaches in older adults, including arthritis, degenerative changes, vision problems and poorly fitting dentures. Distribute it at adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and independent living facilities.
  • Post an item to your municipal government’s regular meeting agenda seeking to recognize Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Invite local migraine specialists to attend and participate. Be sure to speak during the reading of the agenda item or during the public comment period about the important work these professionals do. Find migraine specialists through directories from the American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education, the Migraine Research Foundation and the National Headache Foundation.

A perfect outreach opportunity: Men’s Health Week

According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, men need to take a greater interest in their health. It states that men are more likely than women to smoke, drink, make unhealthy choices, make risky choices, and postpone medical care. June is Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week is June 13–19, 2016. Make an extra effort to connect with men in your community and take advantage of this opportunity to help them improve their health.

  • Start by visiting the website for the observance at www.menshealthmonth.org. Here you’ll find a ton of logos, posters, flyers and PSAs to use during your efforts this month.
  • Hire a barber or hairdresser for three to four hours and treat your favorite senior community referral sources to free haircuts or shaves for their male residents.
  • Contact your local newspaper or television news station and invite them to shadow a longtime male provider in your agency as he cares for a male client. Be sure to get advance clearance from the client and have him sign a form to consent to the coverage.
  • Create a checklist of the health screenings men need as they get older in order to stay healthy. Distribute it at the senior centers and assisted living facilities in your area. Find a list of these screenings and the reasons for them at the website of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  • Remember that men’s health doesn’t just affect men. It affects the women in their lives, too. And these women often have great influence on the decisions and actions of their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. Encourage the women your agency encounters to help the men in their lives adopt healthier habits. Find tips to help involve women in your efforts at the website of the Men’s Health Network.
  • Host a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a local clinic’s indigent fund with an earmark that it help pay for the care of men in your community.

Here’s a great community marketing opportunity

It’s time to focus on fall prevention, medication safety and home safety. June is National Safety Month, an observance sponsored by the National Safety Council. Help raise awareness about home safety and how improving safety measures can help adults age where they want to age: at home.

  • Most bone fractures among older adults result from falls. Volunteer to teach a class on fall prevention at your area’s adult day care centers. Find a ready-made class here. Distribute branded promotional items such as nightlights to assist seniors in their fall prevention efforts. Call 866-232-6477 to learn more about the many promotional items available to you.
  • Host a senior home safety program at a local church that addresses safety and older adults. Topics can include preventing a home invasion, protecting against scammers who prey on seniors, and making the home less likely to be a location for accidents. Invite your local police, an alarm company representative, and a financial safety expert to participate. Make sure your agency is the expert speaking about fall prevention and home safety. Promote the fact that your agency can come into the home for a free safety evaluation.
  • Distribute flyers about home safety and medication safety to the waiting rooms of the offices of general practitioners in your area.
  • Visit area senior centers and take along a sample disaster supplies kit. Educate attendees on the importance of such a kit and what should go in one. These kits are essential in case of fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or other disaster. Find a recommended supply list and other information here.
  • Lend your agency’s public support to an injury-reducing safety initiative, such as improved lighting in parking areas.
  • Partner with a local pharmacist for a medication awareness event at a local library. Educate seniors about medication safety and the need to talk to their pharmacist about all their medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about older adults and drugs. Download, print and distribute to participants the My Medicine Record provided by the FDA.