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The Changing World of Home Care: Education and Training

By Ginny Kenyon, Founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

Years ago, we seldom heard much about education and training for those involved in private duty home care.  Many states didn’t even license non-skilled/medical home care.  Much has changed since then.  More states now require licensing for non-skilled/medical home care agencies. Additionally we’ve seen an increase in the requirement for ongoing education and training for your home care staff.  We only need to look to the changing landscape of health care to help us understand the changing requirements.  Many home care agencies and state and federal governments have recognized the need to educate the home care caregivers.  No longer can we afford to keep the home care aide/personal care worker ill-equipped.

A typical caseload for a home care agency has 75% to 85% of their clients experiencing chronic diseases. Many of their clients usually suffer from more than one chronic illness.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) indicates that the top five chronic diseases – CHF, COPD, Diabetes, Dementia,Depression – are leading contributors to readmissions and extended hospital stays.  Caregivers who provide the most direct services to our clients/patients must be informed and educated. Their education needs to include the different diseases, causes, treatments, red flags, and their role in the care of the client/patient with a particular disease. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Affordable Care Act included major funding for demonstration grants to test different structures of care. The hope is to find better ways to care for the elderly and chronically ill with less cost and better outcomes. Those outcomes include healthier and more stable individuals and more satisfied patients and employees.

Throughout the years, pulling home care staff out of the field and into the office for regular education has proven to be challenging and costly. With advances in technology, we now have the ability to provide the needed education and training online. With online access to ongoing learning, caregivers are “in the know” as they are “on the go”.

Although a growing number of companies provide education online for the home health and home care workers, most of that education has centered on the fundamentals of caregiving, bathing, ambulation, transferring, etc. There is a growing recognition that caregivers require much more than the fundamentals of care to achieve the desired outcomes of decreased hospitalizations and less ER visits.

For the above stated reasons, Kenyon HomeCare Consulting is developing a certified continuing education program for home care aides/personal care workers in the areas of COPD, CHF, Diabetes, Dementia, Depression, and Medications.  The courses are 8-12 hours in two-hour modules. Each module concludes with a test.  The aide will need to pass each test before they can go on to the next module. There will be a final test that they must pass to receive the certificate of completion.

In addition, we have developed one-hour self-learning modules in the areas of Arthritis, Depression, Diabetes, Dementia, Lung Disease, Safety for the Elderly, Patient Rights, Infectious Diseases, Gastrointestinal Conditions,and Care and Urinary Tract Infections.

The education offering will be available through the Aide University in the Education division of the Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Marketplace by the end of the fourth quarter of this year. In the mean time if you need assistance in development of other education materials and offerings specific to your home care agency staff, contact gkenyon@kenyonhcc.com for assistance. We are here to help.

©2013. Ginny Kenyon. All rights reserved.
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