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Are You Paying Enough Attention to Staff Training?

    On top of severe staffing shortages, effective and engaging training programs remain crucial in home health. Despite this, the industry currently faces a growing concern about the lack of engagement in training as it was identified as the number one complaint from staff in 2021.

    A new survey from a care intelligence provider consolidated data from 335 agencies, including private-duty home care, home health, hospice, and palliative care providers. Its goal was to take a look at common training practices and their effectiveness.

    From Training Weaknesses and Barriers to Training Completion

    The inability of providers to engage staff in training was one of the survey’s key findings, with 35.5% of the respondents naming it as the top training weakness. This mostly stems from poor learning environments that prevent care professionals from taking on new challenges, stifling their career growth. The rest of the top five training weaknesses were: insufficient programs to orient new employees, lack of communication, lack of options for virtual training, and the inability to match education needs to job roles or licensures.

    In addition, employee turnover before the completion of training was found to be the top barrier. Other barriers include a lack of efficient training that doesn’t create excess hours of learning; a lack of adaptable training that can be updated to maintain learner interest; a lack of effective orientation training for staff new to the industry; and a lack of focused training for special circumstances.

    A Look at the Current Home Health Training Scenario

    The survey reported that 77% of respondents are using blended learning, 12% are using online training, and 11% are using in-person training. Moreover, 62% of the participating organizations utilize a learning management system that includes documentation, reporting, tracking, and more, while 37.8% do not.

    When it comes to median hours of training completed, home health was at 13 hours, while hospice and private-duty home care were at 12 hours. Organizations’ top training categories were compliance training, client and employee safety, required continuing education, infection control, and on-the-job training.

    Benefits of Better Training Efforts

    While these training challenges are present, the survey also revealed that there has been an increase in training efforts by 25% by most of the organizations surveyed. Better staff performance topped the list of the results of increased staff development and training. Other results include more engaged staff, increased job satisfaction, increased client satisfaction, increased skill development or job advancement of staff, and improved survey, audit, or accreditation outcomes.

    Some organizations provide their teams with career development opportunities such as courses in specialty areas and even mentorship programs. The results have been positive as more employees have completed their training, net promoter scores and satisfaction ratings have improved, and there’s a more reliable roster of long-term employees.

    Putting the Spotlight on Training and Education

    Adding value to training and education will not only increase engagement among staff but will also make a difference in bettering patient care and the quality of clinical documentation. These are vital components, especially with significant industry changes that are underway, such as the introduction of OASIS-E and the expanded HHVBP.

    Leverage your QA program to help improve your training by identifying areas for improvement through data reports from the documentation. Your QA team or provider should be able to give insights on key learning areas and help monitor clinician progress from training to keep them engaged.