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Four Ways to Successfully Drive Client/Resident and Family Engagement (Without the Admin Overhead)

Published on November 27, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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In recent years, really knowing your customers and understanding their needs, goals, and preferences has become critical to business success no matter what industry you’re in. 

There’s no doubt that consumer behavior and the standards of engagement that customers expect have seen significant shifts since the pandemic, driving changes in business strategy. 

Home care is no exception.

The rise in demand for home- and community-based care services, coupled with its relationship to clients’/residents’ engagement needs, has been an ongoing trend since 2020.

Forward-thinking home care providers have recognized the vast potential in delivering effective client/resident engagement and the untapped opportunities it presents for enhancing person-centered care, quality of life for seniors, and improved business indicators. 

The biggest challenge lies in finding ways to drive client/resident engagement successfully without consuming vast amounts of additional admin time and increasing costs.

In a recent report, 34% of home care providers expressed  that they don’t have the tools and staff to engage clients/residents meaningfully and purposefully.

In this article, we look at how home care providers – whether agencies delivering services to clients in the community, or senior living communities offering on-demand care services to residents – can build more effective and meaningful engagement with their clients and residents without increasing admin overheads.

The benefits of mastering client/resident and family engagement in senior home care 

Before we get into the ‘how,’ let’s first take a quick look at ‘why’ it’s so important for your home care business to master the art of effective engagement.

Benefits for your home care business include:

Senior patient with home care nurse, Happy senior woman talking with female caregiver in living room at home health care visit, Elderly care concept

Benefits for your clients/residents and families include: 

  • Encourages active participation in the planning and evaluation of their own care services
  • Empowers clients/residents and their families to be proactive by keeping them regularly informed, educated, and up-to-date on health and wellness matters
  • Improves the consistency and continuity of care services provided
  • Increases client/resident safety in their home and improves outcomes
  • Positively impacts clients’/residents’ social determinants of health
  • Helps to bridge generational gaps

What does client/resident engagement mean in home care?

In home care, client/resident and family engagement is more than simply providing excellent customer service. 

It’s about putting your clients/residents at the very center of their care provision and delivering an exceptional, personalized client/resident experience.

It’s also about taking the time to build genuine connections, creating strong relationships built on mutual respect and trust, and fostering a true sense of community. 

Within the home care setting, this can be achieved in multiple ways – for example, through excellent caregiver-client matching, actively involving family members, and regularly asking for feedback. However, without the right technology, tools, and processes in place these can be incredibly heavy on admin time and resources, particularly when your client base begins to grow, and you need to scale.

Similarly, regularly engaging with your clients/residents and family members through phone calls, personal emails, face-to-face visits, online webinars, etc., is all well and good when you have ten of them. But what happens as your home care business expands and you have a hundred or more clients/residents to connect with consistently? 

Engagement strategies can place a considerable burden on your admin staff if they aren’t streamlined, efficient, and well-organized. Having the right technology in place is the only way to avoid adding to the workload of your existing teams or having to take on more staff to keep the momentum going as your business grows.

Four ways to enhance admin efficiency and elevate your client/resident engagement  

1. Securely collect, organize, and store all client/resident data in one place

Doctor Using Computer in Clinic

The key to engaging clients/residents and families meaningfully is to know each of them well and anticipate their every need. This requires home care providers to collect, organize, and store data about each client/resident and record every interaction at every touchpoint.

It also involves ensuring this data is secure and accessible to relevant team members, especially those in direct contact with your clients/residents.

If your admin team still relies on pulling data manually or endlessly creating pivot tables in spreadsheets, it’s time to upgrade!

Investing in a modern, cloud-based ERP system like Smartcare will enable you to effectively unite teams in a shared view of up-to-date, accurate, and complete client/resident data through a central hub – providing everything they need to be able to interact with every client/resident and family member in a personal, meaningful, and relevant way. 

2. Adopt Machine Learning (ML) to make great client/caregiver matches

Making great client-caregiver matches is another way that home care providers can build a solid foundation for a person-centered care model that will have a significant impact on client/resident (and caregiver) engagement and satisfaction.

Good relationships built between clients/residents and caregivers will naturally extend to their family members and lead to long-lasting, collaborative, and trusting bonds for all parties.

However it is incredibly time-consuming for staff to sift through data on caregivers and clients/residents to match them up on criteria – including physical, medical, personality, scheduling, location, lifestyle habits, language preferences, and more – without tech tools to do the heavy lifting.

Fortunately, software tools like Smartcare’s unique machine learning (ML) technology and matching algorithms, means home care providers can easily identify best matches between caregivers and clients/residents, quickly and accurately scheduling, every time. 

It’s in every home care business’s best interest to create, support, and maintain happy, engaging relationships between their clients/residents and caregivers, and it’s well worth investing in the right tools to get it right. 

3. Utilize a client/resident and family portal

A group of senior friends at home, using smartphones.

Making great client-caregiver matches, ensuring on-time, EVV-compliant home visits, and connecting with clients/residents and families via your social media channels are all ideal starting points for effective engagement and satisfaction.

However, it’s crucial to open up and maintain a two-way dialogue outside of home visits to develop relationships further and strengthen communication – keeping the whole care triangle connected and engaged at all times.

By investing in technology, like Smartcare, the integrated Client/Resident and Family Portal will not only reduce the admin burden of maintaining regular contact with everyone on your books but also elevate meaningful engagement at every touchpoint. 

For example, the right portal will allow you to:

  • Send real-time updates and notifications on care notes and activities
  • Provide details and information about care plans and schedules
  • Manage billing and payment – also allowing private payers to track approved hours and spending history
  • Interact with clients/residents and families through secure messaging
  • Market additional, augmented care services
  • Securely upload photos to share with the whole care triangle via the “Memories” function

Accessible via the Smartcare mobile app, clients/residents and families also have easy access to instant feedback features, where they can rate their experience of shifts, caregivers, overall performance, and more. When ratings are completed, notifications are automatically sent to your team to review/run reports, providing valuable insights into your current engagement strategies’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges.

While the mantra “right message, right channel, right time” remains true, engaging in real-time is still the top priority for home care providers serious about achieving highly effective engagement. 

Using technology like Smartcare will help you automate and deliver real-time, personalized communications, coordinate care services, and regularly engage with your clients/residents and families. 

This is a surefire way to reduce the workload on your admin team and optimize your engagement strategy with ease.

Tip: When investing in any new technology to support your engagement strategy, be sure to take the time during onboarding to walk your clients/residents and families through the functionality – and consider creating an accessible handbook that they can reference, if needed.

4. Use data to identify what boosts engagement (and what doesn’t!)

Client/resident and family engagement is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to continually evaluate and adjust your strategy based on client/resident satisfaction, outcomes, and their changing preferences and needs. 

The right home care management software, like Smartcare’s complete home care platform, will ensure you capture all the data you need (including client and family feedback) in real-time – enabling you to run reports and visualize trends with customizable KPI dashboards, giving you valuable insights.

By regularly tracking, measuring, and reviewing the right metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to ensure that your strategy is constantly evolving and improving.

Successfully drive client/resident and family engagement with Smartcare Software

Shot of a mature husband and wife together using a smartphone

Implementing a successful customer engagement strategy is essential for home care businesses looking to build strong relationships with their clients/residents and drive better results. 

By following best practices and utilizing the right tech tools, you can build an engagement strategy that is effective, meaningful, and tailored to your clients’/residents’ specific needs – without overloading your admin team.

With a firm understanding of what drives client/resident engagement within your business, a robust strategy for ongoing improvement, and the right tech tools in place, you can transform operations, excel in client and family engagement and retention, and boost your business reputation to rise above your competitors and achieve sustainable growth.

The beauty of Smartcare Software’s complete home care platform is that it’s fully integrated and provides one simple solution to all your client/patient engagement challenges and obstacles to growth – and a whole lot more!

To learn more about Smartcare’s customizable suite of tools discussed in this article or how our talented team can support your home care business’s success in other ways, please give us a call today or request a complimentary demo.