“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times that the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.”
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US is not fully understood yet, but it is stretching both our business and social fabric. It is important that Homecare agencies take steps to protect both their caregivers and their clients during this time and continue to fulfill their mission to those who rely so much on their service and support.
Listed below are a few tips to help you and your team get through this difficult time.
- Be visible to your caregivers, team members, clients and other stakeholders. These people look to you to inspire confidence. Communicating with them honestly, openly and transparently will build their confidence and increase their trust in you.
- Tell them how they can safely fulfill their mission of providing service to the needy people they support, but be honest and transparent about the risks involved. Provide them instruction and tips about how to eliminate or mitigate their risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Let them know you are concerned for their personal well-being and how grateful you are for their commitment. Make sure you have supplied them with every means to protect themselves and your clients.
- Monitor the changing COVID-19 guidelines, adjust your plans and procedures to reflect these changes and communicate information frequently. Remember, people don’t remember everything – especially when they only hear it once. Be sure to err on the side of overcommunication by repeating and updating your communications often via multiple methods, e.g. e-mail, web, conference calls, meetings, etc.
- Align with other homecare agencies to help one another out. Between supply shortages and potential caregiver shortages, having a good partner may be important to assure that you can meet your mission of service and support to your clients who are so reliant on your team.
- Acknowledge and celebrate their heroic contributions. Remind them that heroes are common people faced with extraordinary circumstances.
- Listen to your team members. This is a scary time for them too. Active listening and responding with empathy can go a long way.
These ideas are just a start and you will undoubtedly have your own ideas on how to protect and engage your team during the COVID-19 crisis, but hopefully some of these suggestions will work for you and stimulate additional ideas on your part. It is times like these that not only make a difference for what happens today and the quality of your caregiver and client relationships, but will also impact how your agency is viewed in the future.
Remember to be open, thoughtful, compassionate and prepared. Your caregivers and your clients will appreciate you for your efforts. Most importantly, be visible and continue to communicate with your staff, caregivers, clients/patients and their families.