Finally…Home Care Has a Seat at the Table

It seems like just a blink of an eye ago, but 1981 – the year I officially stepped into the home care arena with my own in-home care agency – was truly, technologically speaking, a lifetime ago. Although it’s incredible to realize, since 1981, we’ve lived through the invention of IBM’s very first PC, soft bifocal contact lenses, Cabbage Patch Kids, DNA fingerprinting, disposable cameras, and Prozac. And that’s just in the 1980s alone.

And through all of that, I’ve watched, waited for and witnessed firsthand the emerging acceptance and appreciation for what many of us in this industry have realized all along:

  • Home care is of great value in the care continuum.
  • Care navigation/care management leads to better outcomes.

Most recently, at the 3-day Post Acute LINK conference, these points were reiterated again and again, from payors, physicians, and everyone in between. With over 400 attendees, mostly the largest providers of healthcare at home and associated industry services vendors, it was an incredibly well-executed event. If you missed it (and I hope you didn’t!), here are some of the main takeaways for savvy home health and home care agency owners to keep in mind:

  • Use creative partnering and collaboration to be able to provide both specialized and a broader range of services to consumers.
  • Offer a variety of payment options.
  • Ensure the highest quality of care, striving to be the top provider in your market.
  • Be open to changes inherent to cultural shifts.
  • Capture, track, and make adjustments based upon data.

Lincoln Healthcare’s President, David Ellis, who facilitates HomeCare 100 and LINK conferences, shared his prediction that, not surprisingly, the need for home care will continue to escalate, and that most health systems will under-compete in value-based care.

I heard, for the first time, physicians and payors discuss the role of ADLs and IADLs in determining risk and not just disease states. I actually heard the words “social model” used when discussing the best ways to follow up and follow through post-acute.

It’s heartening to know that the benefits of professional in-home care, allowing frail elders to safely age in place where they’re most comfortable, is finally beginning to get the recognition and understanding it so deserves. And I tip my hat to those of you who continue to sacrifice so much to make it a reality for the older adults you serve. The industry is on the brink of exponential growth. Are you ready?