In an ever-changing health care landscape riddled with staffing shortages and new bundled payment programs, caregiver training becomes increasingly important—especially when it comes to the home health industry.
Enter mmLearn.org, an organization started by senior living provider Morningside Ministries, a San Antonio, Texas-based not-for-profit offering independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing at four communities in the area. The organization creates free staff and caregiver videos on topics ranging from activities to do with someone who has dementia to emergency procedures and what to report to a nurse. More than 300 videos are available, many of which are pertinent to home health agencies, as well as other senior care settings.
“When you look at home health agencies, they have limited staff and limited time to train, but the need for training has been exponential,” Maria Wellisch, vice president of corporate and community education at Morningside Ministries, tells Home Health Care News.
Associates Home Health Agency (AHHA), a Medicare-certified company that maintains a staff of 10 people in San Antonio, has utilized mmLearn.org for about three years as a means of supplementing traditional training methods. Given Medicare’s requirement for 12 hours of continuing education each year, the videos available through mmLearn prove ideal, says AHHA director and owner Debra Garcia.
“The way I use it is, when [caregivers and aides] get a new patient, I’ll look and see if there’s something on [mmLearn] to look at,” she tells HHCN. “Instead of just telling them to read a book, they can listen to the experts, and then we discuss and relate the topics to patients.”
As a result, Garcia says her employees have grown more comfortable with the cases they encounter, and they’re now more likely to notice changes in behavior or symptoms. Another plus is that caregivers can easily fit videos into their schedules, she says, while she provides some guidance as to which ones to watch.
“We have to come at it from a different angle,” Garcia says. “After a while, they’ve heard everything I have to say.”
Presenters in the videos vary, but all are professionals that have some sort of expertise in caregiving and related topics. They teach a live class, which is streamed online and allows viewers to watch as the presentation takes place, but the videos then become available on-demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The goal is to make each presentation engaging and not daunting, with programming typically lasting between five and 15 minutes, Wellisch says, because “that’s how much time someone has to watch.”
“We’re reaching people at a level where they feel very comfortable with the information presented,” she says. “I think for a home care agency to have free, consistent training, it allows them to market that their staff is trained, and this is what they’re trained on specifically.”
Written by Kourtney Liepelt