BrightSpring Health Services (Nasdaq: BTSG) – the newest home-based care representative on the public market – is trying to solve the same issues most other agencies currently are.
That includes, among many others, employee burnout.
Despite massive scale and resources, BrightSpring is still trying to figure out how it can keep its best workers from feeling burnt out, according to Stacy Bromell, the VP of strategic sales development at BrightSpring.
It’s not just frontline workers, either. Bromell said that, on average, case managers self-report being at an “8” level of burnout, on a scale of 1-10. Home health sales associates self-reported at a 7, while hospice sales associates self-reported at an 8 as well.
“And there’s a cognitive consequence that happens under those circumstances,” Bromell said last month at Home Care 100. “Because what’s happening when they’re under that level of burnout, when there’s that much of a population that has that kind of burnout, they’re in survival mode. And when you look at the literature, people that are in survival mode, they’re under the fight-or-flight part of their brain on an ongoing basis. They can’t think of things past the first crisis.”
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, BrightSpring provides home- and community-based services to complex populations. It provides care across all 50 states to 350,000 patients daily, and provides home-based care specifically to 250,000 patients daily across 40 states.
Bromell’s point is that, no matter how innovative an organization, employees experiencing that level of burnout are likely not going to be particularly receptive to new training, education or technology.
They are just trying to make it to the end of the day.
“Organizational alignment cannot occur under those circumstances,” Bromell said.
So, when there are two burnt out employees on each end of the referral equation, the process becomes more difficult.
One option is obviously to reduce burnout, but that’s easier said than done for home-based care agencies and health systems already short staffed.
“For sales folks in here, I encourage you to evaluate how many open-ended questions are being asked to the hospital versus closed-ended questions,” Bromell said. “Because if there’s a lot of closed-ended questions, your sales organization is in the fight-or-flight part of the brain. And that has to be remedied.”
Employee burnout can be accounted for with better “investigation” on health system and patient needs, in essence. That helps all three parties – the health system, home-based care company and patient.
“In our investigation with a hospital system or a physician, we can ask them [for] specificity,” Bromell said. “And that specificity brings the customer from that fight-or-flight part of their brain to the front part in the brain, and that’s where reasoning and problem solving occurs.”
Ultimately, that specificity leads to better conversations, and, in turn, better outcomes.
“It doesn’t take long to get a customer migrating that direction,” Bromell said. “And if we have this awareness, or we can impart that awareness, good things really happen.”