Elevating Non-skilled In-Home Care with Virtual Care

Context for Non-Skilled In-Home Care

Non-skilled care (meaning, non-clinical help or home care) is one of the greatest long-term needs for individuals who wish to remain in the comfort of their own homes.  As Home Health Care News reported, the demand for home care services is at an all-time high this year but the industry itself has yet to reach its full potential.  Although COVID-19 accelerated the need for in-home care,  the “silver tsunami” (the rapidly aging population in the US) will result in more individuals and families needing home care than ever before.

In the past, home care focused on helping individuals with ADLs and SDOHs.  However, with the pandemic and the aging population, home care agencies are now also taking care of clinically complex, chronically ill individuals – the patients most at-risk for repeated rehospitalizations. Additionally, agencies are starting to develop relationships with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and accountable care organizations (ACOs), both of which seek to curb health care spending and keep their members in the lowest-cost settings possible.

As McKnight’s highlighted, forces of change are pushing home health and home care into more acute care delivery models, such as hospital-at-home and SNF-at-home.  “There are tailwinds for those programs that are going to nudge us more into that space,” said Bud Langham, Encompass Health’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer.  The role of home health and home care agencies “is going to continue to expand,” he said.  He noted that the overarching goal is high-quality services that prevent emergency room visits.

Role of Virtual Care in Non-Skilled Home Care

The use of virtual care technology has expanded beyond home health agencies and skilled clinicians to home care agencies who are also seeking to improve their clients’ quality of life and reduce the risk of ER visits and readmissions.  Virtual care is now embraced by nonskilled caregivers – helping them better engage their clients, family caregivers, and home health staff.

Synzi’s virtual care platform helps aides:

  • Facilitate an upfront “meet and greet” between client, family, and the aide via video and messaging before the initial at-home visit
  • Enable aides to remind clients to take medications on time and assist if a reorder is needed
  • Support clients’ understanding of nutrition and exercise guidance
  • Help clients and aides engage additional remote resources (e.g., family caregivers, home health staff, physicians) on-demand during an at-home visit
  • Allow aides to access a skilled clinician if the client falls or if the aide observes a change in condition
  • Deliver care in conjunction with home health staff
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