Patient safety is a standout opportunity this March

National Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 11-17. It’s an easy opportunity for home health care and hospice providers to tout their services while promoting patient safety. You not only will promote yourself as a credible resource for patient care, you will be improving the overall health of your community.

Here are some great tips to help you get started.

  • Visit the United for Patient Safety website to learn more about the observance and ways you can kick-start your company’s efforts.
  • Don’t forget to download their free campaign materials, including posters, table tends, and more.
  • Home health and home care providers, highlight your fall prevention efforts and promote your fall prevention assessments and services.
  • Arm yourself with statistics from the National Council Aging on seniors and falling and then contact your local TV news media. Let them know that even though one-quarter of all older Americans will fall each year, they are not an inevitable part of aging. Tell them about your fall prevention efforts and offer to discuss fall prevention and the elderly on their morning or afternoon news programs.
  • Visit independent living facilities in your area and host a class on senior safety. Focus on medication safety, fall prevention and family caregiver safety. Be sure to hand out flyers and that highlight your agency’s services to those in attendance. Branded night lights are another great handout that will help increase their home safety while subtly reinforcing your brand message.
  • When you visit with physician referral sources during the observance week, be sure to take along your fall prevention patient education guide to illustrate how seriously you take your patient care partnerships.

Cardiovascular referral sources should move to the forefront this February

Hearts are everywhere this time of year, including on all your collateral focusing on heart month. While you may be prepared for Valentine’s Day, National Wear Red Day, and even Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, you’re may be leaving out an important heart-related health observance that can help you market your office this February.

Feb. 11-17, 2018 is Cardiovascular Professionals Week. It’s a time to stop and shine a spotlight on the professionals who work tirelessly to keep hearts thumping and patients healthy. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Caring hearts healing hearts.”

Make a commitment to celebrating the cardiovascular professionals in your community this February. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • The job of cardiovascular professionals literally is to try to fix broken hearts every day. Create buttons with an image of a heart with an adhesive bandage announcing Cardiovascular Professionals Week. Distribute these to all the cardiovascular professionals you encounter, including physicians, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and more.
  • Valentine’s Day is falls right in the middle of this important observance. Deliver clever Valentine’s Day cards with a healthcare theme to all your cardiovascular referral sources. Be memorable by using a cardiac themed message – maybe try something like “We’d never BYPASS a chance to tell you how much matter.” Don’t forget to include a small heart-shaped lollypop or other sweet treat.
  • Write a post for your company blog about cardiovascular professionals and all the good they do for your community across the expansive discipline. Make sure to share the link via your social media profiles.
  •  Visit the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals’ web page for this observance. Find additional ideas there, including a planning guide.
  • Get branded stress balls in the shape of a real human heart and distribute them to your physician referral sources for a low-cost promotional product they’ll hold onto for years. Call TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 for available options.
  • While you’re in the room with these referral sources, make sure you show off your relevant Home Health Compare scores in a format that assures them you’re the best choice to care for their cardiovascular patients in need of home health care.

Dementia care matters. Show your commitment this February.

Americans are enjoying longer a life expectancy than ever before. One unfortunate fact that accompanies a longer lifespan is the increased likelihood that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today. This could grow to as high as 16 million by 2050.

Home health care and hospice providers are in a unique position to strengthen their Alzheimer's and other dementia care services and become community leaders in education and awareness.

Feb. 14-Feb. 21 is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Staff Education Week. Use this health observance as a springboard for a year of enhanced attention for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

  • Start with a visit to the official observance page of the National Council of Certified Dementia Providers. While you’re there, you can download a free Staff Training In-services and Tool Kit to help kick-start your efforts. The kit includes a Power Point presentation, interactive exercises, and more.
  • While it won’t be appropriate for all providers to develop a dementia care specialty, all providers can benefit from improving their knowledge of current best practices when it comes to dementia care. Make sure all of your in-home care providers receive a digital copy of the Alzheimer’s Association’s guide “Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Professionals Working in a Home Setting.”
  • Contact your physician referral sources and underscore your commitment to treating patients with dementia. Take along a copy of the patient education guide you use with to help educate patients and their family members as you integrate them into their care.
  • Don’t limit your educational efforts to professionals this month. Provide additional support to those who are providing care for a loved one with dementia. Create a flyer about the care fundamentals for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias --  be sure to include the resources available within your organization.
  • Increase your visibility at community events this February and distribute brochures or flyers that highlight the services you provide for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Start 2018 with big plans for cancer outreach

More than 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and about 12.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Even with more than 100 different kinds of cancer and so many people developing the disease, many people still never think it could happen to them.

Studies have shown that through education, lifestyle changes and screening, many cancers can be prevented or detected early. February is National Cancer Prevention Month and the perfect time to remind and educate your local community.

  • Call on oncologists and surgeons to educate them about the care you provide to patients with a cancer diagnosis. Take along your comprehensive patient education guides that help your patients stay on track and achieve better outcomes.
  • World Cancer Day is Feb. 4, 2014. Visit the World Cancer Day webpage and discover ways to become engaged on this important topic. You also can see what others around the world are doing. Be sure to visit their materials page for tons of ready-made collateral you can use, including an outreach toolkit.
  • Hospice providers,
  • Host a free community education class on chronic disease management t local senior centers. Check out TAG Partners’ ready-made class on this topic that is designed for a non-clinician to present. Call 866-232-6477 for individual component pricing.
  • Become an advocate on social media by using your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts to push cancer prevention tips and facts to followers and friends throughout the month. Check out the National Cancer Institute’s fact sheets for tons of great information to help you get started.
  • Contact your local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and get information about sponsoring a mammography voucher program. These programs provide education, counseling, breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income women in your community. Ask your partner hospitals and women’s centers to offer the diagnostic screenings at no cost for women who qualify.
  • Create a flyer with basic guidelines patients can follow to increase their success of preventing cancer. Leave these in local physicians’ waiting rooms. Some basic information can be found at the National Cancer Institute’s website. Call a TAG associate at 866-232-6477 if you would like help creating a flyer.
  • Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for tons of free cancer-related fact sheets, posters and other educational materials, including materials in Spanish. You can even order a limited number of free printed copies of many of the materials.

Educate your community about seniors and blood donation this January

Start 2018 off right with a community action campaign for National Blood Donor Month.

Since 1970, January has been declared National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and with good reason. Above all other times of the year, it’s the month that presents the most challenges in recruiting people to give blood. When combined with holiday accidents, a drop in donations as people bustle through the season can strain blood supplies.

The need for blood, platelets and plasma is constant, but only three in every 100 Americans donates blood. Start an information campaign and brand your agency as a local leader in this important community service.

  • Many  incorrectly assume that people can simply be too old to donate blood. Visit senior centers in your coverage area and educate them about blood donation, focusing on the myth of a blood donation age restriction. Barring the presence of certain medical conditions, people of any age can donate. Learn more about the topic here and here. Contact all your local newspapers and radio and TV stations to further spread awareness of this issue and your place as a health advocate for seniors and for your community.
  • Work with your local branch of the American Red Cross and volunteer a clinician to go to blood drives. Set them up at an Ask-A-Nurse consultation table and brand your agency as a community resource of health and safety information. Have plenty of collateral to pass out from your agency and your partner providers in the community. You can even ask a local hospital representative to help you man your table; it is a great co-marketing opportunity.
  • Consider becoming a permanent Red Cross instructor this year. Lots of your referral source sectors need CPR/First Aid/AED training every year.
  • Sponsor an onsite open bloodmobile blood drive at your agency. Invite your agency’s employees and their families as a start.
  • Bake goodies for your local blood drives. The donors need to eat after they give blood. And you can be really creative in getting your marketing messages out to the donating public by wrapping your cookies and treats in informative packaging.
  • Contact your local Red Cross and sponsor or co-sponsor 3 to 4 blood drives this year along with some of your area hospitals and physician’s offices.