How to Start a Home Health Agency basics include showing new workers how to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.
But thriving home health agencies know that it is important to go much further than that. Orientation is the perfect time to begin soft skills training, and to introduce employees to the Agency, its services, its culture and policies. Adding these items to your home health care forms employee orientation checklist can greatly improve worker satisfaction and employee retention.
While you should tailor an orientation to each type of employee (clinical versus administrative, field-staff versus patient care coordinator) your home health agency should discuss AND TEST each new employee (and annually thereafter) on the following policies and procedures during orientation.
Yes, you need a mission statement.
"A mission statement is vital to the success of a company as a whole. It can unify a company and push them to new heights. Creating a mission statement is just as important for a small company starting out. A corporate vision can focus, direct, motivate, unify and even excite a business into superior performance. The job of a strategist is to identify and project a clear vision," writes John Keane. Go here to get help writing a mission statement.
Incident Reporting: Policies and Procedures
Contrary to the negative implication of “incident reporting”, an HHA must view the data from incident reports as highly valuable, necessary, and a critical indicator of the effectiveness of policies, procedures, and continuing education. Make sure you include what constitutes an incident, how and when to report an incident.
Ethics: Policies and Procedures
Make sure your orientation includes policies and procedures for
- Respecting patient choice
- Protecting patient confidentiality, privacy, and security
- Administering health care services according to professionally-accepted standards and issues prone to conflicts
How complaints should be documented and reported to the HHA, and how the HHA resolves complaints.
Conflict of Interest
- “Agency management personnel, PAC members, and governing body members are not permitted to perform any duties for any other home health care Agency.”
- “Agency personnel are prohibited from accepting gifts of money or any items of substantial value from the patient.”
- “Agency personnel are prohibited from performing duties beyond the scope of the assigned careplan, or contacting the patient or family beyond the scope of the assigned careplan.”
Make sure each employee has a copy of their job description and has signed a statement that indicates understanding of the job description.
With your State’s continuing education requirements in mind, and if your HHA is accredited and/or certified, include the number of continuing education and/or inservices that are required monthly and/or annually.
Security and Confidentiality of Patient Information
HIPAA. Make sure all employees know your HHA’s written privacy procedures for protecting patients’ PHI ('protected indentifiable information') and how the agency physically protects patient records (electronic and other types of technical security). Also, your procedures should include the designation of a privacy officer and an explanation of how to report violations of HIPAA.
Personal Safety During Home Visits
Make sure your policies and procedures include
- How the agency evaluates neighborhoods for safety hazard
- How the agency evaluates the patient and home for violence
- Safety precautions for bathroom, electrical, and fire safety in the home
You need to have policies and procedures on how the Agency handles patient care during natural (and non-natural) disasters. In the event of a flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, wind storm, and any other disaster that affects the delivery of scheduled home health care services, include your plan on maintaining uninterrupted communication between Agency decision makers and caregivers, and uninterrupted home care services to priority patients.
Standard Precautions for Infection Control & Hazardous Waste Management
Standard precautions, recommended by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and mandated in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) bloodborne pathogen standard, is a procedure required by health care facilities for protection of the health care worker from bloodborne pathogens. You should provide orientation and training for the OSHA standards.