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Why Home Health Leaders are Stressed Out, Burned Out, and Out of Focus

By Stephen Tweed

How are you FEELING Right Now about how things are going in your agency?  

That’s one of the questions I ask team members when we are leading an Executive Strategy Retreat for a home health agency or hospice.  It’s part of the assessment phase of strategic planning, and we begin with the intuitive assessment.

The term I hear most often is “Overwhelmed”.  

What is causing you to be overwhelmed?  Often I find that it’s lack of focus.  And lack of focus comes from trying to do too many things at once and not carving out quiet time for creative and strategic thinking.

A survey by an organization known as The Energy Project and reported in White Collar Salt Minethe New York Times shows that 70% of white collar workers do not take regular time at work for creative and strategic thinking.  The same survey shows that 66% are not able to focus on one thing at a time and 60% do not have the opportunity to do what is most enjoyed.

The study also shows that most workers are not able to achieve a high level of meaning and significance from their work and do not connect with their company’s mission.

Does that sound like you?  

Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity, draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.

What Can You Do About it?

There’s no easy answer.  Home Health Care and Hospice are under siege right now from federal and state governments that want to cut back on reimbursement and reduce the number of agencies serving Medicare and Medicaid.  But there are some things you can do to relieve your stress, overcome your overwhelm, and enjoy what you are doing.

1. Set aside time for creative and strategic thinking.  Begin with an off-site retreat for your leadership to focus on a strategy to grow your business and get ready for the future.  Then set aside some quiet time each week to reflect on your strategic road map, focus on two or three highly important projects, and create ways to get your people more engaged.

2. Focus on one thing at a time.  The biggest myth in business today is “multi-tasking”.  No one is more productive by multi-tasking than by focusing on one thing at a time.  Don’t work on doing 1,000 things at once. Work on doing 1,000 things one at a time in rapid sequence.  Better yet, as a high level executive, focus on the three most significant projects that will take your agency into the future, and get them done in rapid sequence.

3. Remember what you love to do.  You got into home health care because you bring a passion for helping people.  It might be a passion for helping patients, or it might be a passion for developing the members of your home care team.  You bring a unique set of gifts and skills.  Take some time to reflect on what you love to do most.  Find ways to do more of that, and find ways to delegate the things you absolutely do not like to do.

Measure Your Results

Nothing brings more satisfaction to a home health care leader that seeing the results of your labors.  Take time on a regular basis to review and analyze the quantitative results of your agency, and celebrate your successes.  Set aside time with your leadership team to make a list of your agencies accomplishments over the past six months or a year, and applaud these accomplishments.

We all want to feel valued and appreciated, and celebrating our successes is one way to do that.

At Leading Home Care, we are here to help you grow your business and get ready for the future.  That includes finding ways to reduce your stress, increase your level of appreciation, and achieve measurable results.  Let us lead you and your organization through a process of strategic thinking that will define your road map to success and help you feel less burned out, stressed out, and out of focus.


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