How Home-Based Care Providers Are Doing More With Less Staff

As staffing remains a top issue for home-based care providers, leaders are finding themselves having to utilize workers in a way that will allow the stretching of resources.

At The Pennant Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PNTG), utilizing technology has been key for that.

“Using technology effectively would be at the top of my list,” Pennant COO John Gochnour said during a recent Axxess webinar. “Our technology partners have done such a good job of providing different ways to look at things and different ways to flag things in our system, so that we can make adjustments and changes throughout the care planning process.”


The Eagle, Idaho-based Pennant is a holding company of independent operating subsidiaries, with a network that includes 95 home health and hospice agencies and 51 senior living communities across the U.S.

Pennant also leverages its innovation team.

“[They] are meeting on a regular basis and reviewing new solutions that are presented,” Gochnour said. “There are so many amazing people doing so much amazing work and we want to be on top of it. We don’t have the bandwidth to do everything, but we want to find the best solutions.”


In addition to technology, Gochnour stressed the importance of leadership involvement.

“Do we have the right level of clinical leader involvement, of workflow support … so that, particularly, as we drive younger clinicians who have less experience, they feel like they’re not on an island, even though they’re out providing care on their own,” he said.

Trisha Crissman, vice president and COO at CommonSpirit Health at Home, believes that improving productivity and visit management is a tightrope.

“Falling off can pull us backward around our progress toward the retention of employees, and it can be a slippery slope to just kind of increase productivity at the risk of increasing turnover again,” she said during the webinar. “To say that we’re mindful of our varied approaches is an understatement.”

Currently, CommonSpirit Health operates more than 1,500 care sites and 140 hospitals across 21 states.

The health system’s home-based care arm CommonSpirit Health at Home is headquartered in Milford, Ohio. It offers specialized home care, home infusion, hospice and medical transportation services nationwide.

After receiving feedback from its staff, removing obstacles for workers has been top of mind.

“We’ve put substantial effort into moving the redundancy and duplication in our EMR — which was a response to their feedback,” Crissman said. “We continue to work on reducing and streamlining our documentation, so that clinicians can spend more time with their patients and less time documenting.”

The company also makes sure that its staff are practicing at the top of their licenses.

“[We are] coaching our therapy staff to work closely with our nursing where their skills overlap, such as in chronic disease management and wound care,” Crissman said.

CommonSpirit Health at Home is also augmenting its approach to care planning through strategic use of remote video visits.

Ultimately, it’s all about using multiple strategies in order to achieve more.

“It’s all been through this kind of combination of these approaches that we’ve seen our productivity increase, and visits per episode decrease, all while increasing our retention and improving quality and patient experience scores,” Crissman said.