The Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) patient engagement survey impacts the bottom line of home health agencies (HHAs) primarily through attracting referral sources and value-based reimbursement. It is imperative for organizations to understand the HHCAHPS survey, and work on improving each measure for maximizing their organizations long-term growth and sustainability.
Care of Patients – Question 24
The question determining if there have been any problems with the care received in the last two months is found in the Care of Patients domain as question 24, and is one of four questions on this subject in the Home Health CAHPS survey. The following can be reviewed during a staff meeting by ensuring all team members understand the question and how to discuss and interact with patients.
This question seeks to get a sense of the perception of the patient on being able to recall any problems with the care provided through the home health agency. It is strategically positioned near the end of the questionnaire, right before asking them about their willingness to recommend the agency to family and friends.
Potential Interventions to Improve
- Empower key employees and roles with the ability to address and resolve patient complaints, and communicate to the remaining employees.
- Provide patients with the primary contact information for patient complaints in the welcome package and ensure it is readily available any time they may arise (e.g. refrigerator magnet).
- Ensure staff reinforces the culture of patient-centered care and communication inquiring about any problems with the agency.
- Review patient HH-CAHPS responses and comments for monitoring patient feedback.
It is important for agencies to constantly review the needs of patients and their care experiences and understand historical and current problematic areas. Regularly reviewing various sources of patient feedback can be employed to keep a pulse on how the services provided are perceived (e.g. Home Health CAHPS results and any comments provided, randomly calling one patient a week or some other regular schedule to check in on their experience, speaking with office staff regarding patient calls and how they are handled). By anticipating patient needs, it is easier for your agency to discuss any key problem areas and create a template for addressing them, and evaluating the patient response to the solutions provided.
Addressing and making right any wrongs committed in providing patient service is an important aspect of working with patients after problems have occurred. Regardless of your agency size, there are always opportunities for service recovery, and there are a number of resources for ideas on how to identify and administer interventions for service recovery within your organization.
Check our blogs for the ongoing series on improving your agency’s HHCAHPS scores by systematically reviewing each of the HHCAHPS questions, and sharing opportunities for improvement.