Daytimer for scheduling

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Successful scheduling of health care visits is important.

Covid dealt a huge blow to the budget of most health care entities. Insurance companies are more demanding than ever for limited visits and detailed reports. Scheduling visits for caregiving has always been challenging. However, more than ever, therapy and home care agencies are emphasizing productivity and caseload.

Visit compliance in health care is challenging.

Compliance with attending planned visits can be challenging for some patients. Many people want to receive health care, but have difficulty overcoming fear, tiredness, stress, or pain in order to follow through with their plan of care. Being aware of what motivates our patients is important. Knowing their goals and what they want to achieve can help us keep the activities meaningful, which can improve their follow through. But we may also need to delve into what concerns they have that might cause them to cancel or limit their participation. Knowing their fears may help us moderate the activity, or allow us to answer questions and give them fear reducing feedback.

Preparation and organization in scheduling is imperative for health care professionals!

If you work in home care or senior care, you already know how important it is to be organized in regard to your schedule. I am not a naturally detailed person, so I have had to develop concrete habits that help to keep me on track. Here are some suggestions that I would recommend after making many of my own time wasting mistakes.

1. On your initial visits, discuss some concrete activities that they would like to see improve, and remind them of those goals regularly. Let them see, or write down, the result of a special test that applies to their goal. Help them keep track of their progress!

2. Ask about and address the concerns they have, and communicate with them what your time together will look like. Make sure they understand and agree with the plan. Some patients need to start off slowly and build up over time.

3. Ask about appointments and followups for each patient at your initial visit, and every first visit of the week that you see them. 

4. Start scheduling patients for the following week on your first visit of the week for them. Don’t wait until the end of the week, when their schedule may already be filled up with other appointments. 

5. Schedule heavier in the early part of the week, so you have room for new patients or missed visits later in the week.  You may want to look at statistics to see which days are heavier with initial visits or evaluations to be ready for add-on visits. 

6. Schedule your patients with dialysis or physician appointments first, and then schedule your patients with more flexible schedules. 

7. Be familiar with your area, zip codes, etc. (Print out a map of your area with zip codes!) Try to schedule people in the same area together when possible. This may help if you work in a large facility as well.

8. Offer “morning” or “afternoon”, and then try to fit the visit into your schedule.  Many patients request a specific time, and I have found that I better maximize my time if I offer a vague option, and then follow up with a more specific time according to my schedule.  

9. Call the day before an initial visit to set up your time as much as possible.  EMAIL YOUR OFFICE OR COWORKERS RIGHT AWAY IF THE PHONE NUMBER DOES NOT WORK!  There is nothing worse than wasting 15 minutes trying to get a hold of a patient only to find out someone else knew the number was wrong, and just didn’t fix it. 🙁 If you make a habit of looking out for your coworkers, then they may do the same for you.

10. Use a system of marking the number of visit, or designation of visit on your calendar to stay organized: 2/6 visits, 30 day reassessment (30D), progress note (PN), ATN, or discharge visit. Give your client a calendar with planned visits written clearly. Post outside appointments on there so you remember to avoid those days. Review the calendar at the end of every visit.

Here’s a freebie calendar printable!

I would love to hear from you! What tips do you have for improved scheduling and compliance?

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If you are new to home health or senior care, here is a link to an ebook for helpful tips and information!

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