Insights on Caregiver Empowerment - Gabrielle Pumpian

Top Approaches for Effective Leadership in Home Care

In the world of home care, where compassion meets innovation, leaders are like the captains steering the ship, guiding caregivers to provide the best possible care. The demand for caregivers is rising, and good leadership is crucial to making sure they can do their job well. To dig deeper into how leaders achieve this, we reached out to Gabrielle Pumpian, Chief Growth Officer, at Cheer Home Care.

With her wealth of experience, Gabrielle offers valuable insights into how leaders nurture a learning culture, empower caregivers, harness technology, and adapt to the changing market of home care services.

Q. How do you perceive the role of leadership in cultivating a culture of continuous learning and growth among caregivers?

Leadership is more important than ever in the home care industry, as the need to employ caregivers grows daily. From a sales perspective, having a strong caregiver pipeline and pool that is constantly moving in the right direction (volume and quality), is the key to building a successful home care business. Leaders who focus on supporting the needs of a Recruiting, Retention, and HR team within their company, will reap the rewards of strong and committed staff, adding to an increase in potential for staffing, and never say no due to staffing.

Engaging with caregivers on a consistent basis, not just when you call to offer work, but showing appreciation, offering training programs, or ensuring they are meeting their financial needs in order to stay happy and healthy, creates a genuine and authentic way to provide leadership and support. Creating opportunities for the caregiver to engage with their agency and internal leadership team outside of their day-to-day duties, shows that the company values every employee, no matter their status in the company. Hosting a company picnic, holiday party, appreciation luncheon, or spotlighting on the company’s website a social media page lifts up the caregivers and can make them feel valued.

Creating a culture of transparency, openness, communication, and accountability is vital to fostering a healthy and successful business. Home Care teams that come together frequently, discuss what’s working and what needs improvement, get creative and innovative with solving for the gaps in the business (such as staffing shortages or retention), and also give each other honest and open feedback, thrive.

Creating measurable key performance indicators that each internal team member is accountable for and frequently reports on to the team, helps foster an environment in which people can learn and, in turn, grow the business. Helping people learn more in order for them to do better at their jobs is one of the most valuable ways leaders of home care agencies can retain great staff and create a culture of learning.

Q. From your experience, what leadership strategies have proven most effective in empowering caregivers to excel in their roles and deliver exceptional care?

Treating people as you want to be treated is rule #1. In caregiving, we are asking our employees to do some of the hardest and most emotionally intense work with people they don’t know very well. Acknowledging who they are as individuals and how they contribute to the lives of others and their organization’s growth, gives caregivers a deeper connection to the agency. Especially in this industry, where many caregivers work for multiple agencies or clients, their connection with leadership can make or break their dedication to your clients vs the other agencies. One of the ways caregivers stay loyal to their employer is to feel secure with pay.

Being transparent about pay rates is vital for leadership, and taking the time to understand what that person needs to make and sustain to feel financially secure empowers the caregiver to deliver exceptional care and be retained by their employer. Without addressing the financial needs of the caregiver, understanding their specific situation, and asking questions about their needs, it is easy to lose great caregivers. Quarterly reviews are also important for caregivers to be evaluated and rewarded for their dedication and hard work, or not.

This allows the home care agency to really get to know what’s working and what’s not with their staff, offer insights for improvement, or take actionable next steps to make changes. Without frequent reviews, some employees who aren’t performing well, or aren’t working can stay stuck and clog the streamline of good staff being hired and retained. Pay differentials are also important to consider when looking for ways to empower caregivers.

Considering their education and life experiences, whether or not they drive, and if they have certificates and special training, all should be considered when hiring someone. There is no black-and-white box that caregivers fit into, and they deserve to be rewarded for their time and effort in strengthening their skills or having specific work experience.

“Leadership is more important than ever in the home care industry, as the need to employ caregivers grows daily.”

– Gabrielle Pumpian

Q. What are your views on leveraging technology to identify and address specific skill gaps among caregivers, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of online training programs?

Using technology is imperative in today’s world. There are so many established and emerging technologies that enhance the communication and support we can offer caregivers. Since the caregiver is very busy and time is usually not on their side, we need to have innovative and effective ways to offer skill-sharpening opportunities. One of these ways is by using an online training platform that does the back-end work for you.

We’ve had a great experience with a program called Nevvon, which manages and offers training modules to our staff. They have a rep that sends out, monitors, and collects the data after the training has been completed, and that data syncs with our internal software system so it’s easily documented in the caregiver’s file. There are hundreds of topics and subjects to choose from, and they also cover the mandatory 5 hours of annual training the state of CA requires agencies to have for their staff every year. The administrative work for managing training can be daunting for an internal team member, so using online programs like Neevon, is a great option. Our leadership team also brings in community resources and offers in-person training on specific topics, such as Hoyer Lift training.

Another way we have offered technology to support streamlined communication is through our software program. The program we use allows us to communicate with staff while they are out in the field via messaging. It also enhances the caregiver experience as they can access care plans, see recent notes from the previous shift, and get details on the case, all from their phone.

Our CEO has implemented this software because of its diverse and innovative functions, which we use and improve on weekly, in order to best communicate with caregivers. It also ensures that no one internal team member is responsible for communication or gets communicated with directly on their work email or cell phone, as all documentation goes through our software. This helps create a better work-life balance for our staff, which our CEO takes very seriously due to the high home care industry turnover rate.

Q. In the rapidly evolving landscape of home care services, how do you envision leadership adapting and innovating to meet the evolving needs of both caregivers and clients?

Home care is an evolving industry and we are coming into the next decade with the largest ageing population of people this country’s ever seen. We, as an industry, have an opportunity to help more people than ever, but we must be sound operationally and somewhat flexible to meet our clients’ needs. The Baby Boomer Generation is going to have more demands and higher expectations for care since they have seen what their parents have gone through and know that there are many options out there to find their right fit agency.

Leaders must keep up and pivot when old systems are worn down, ineffective, and outdated. Finding technology solutions can help, but the challenge lies with the right staff in place to uphold and use the technology. Hiring and retaining internal staff by building a culture of openness, trust, and learning is imperative to the health of a home care organization. Collaboration is key when it comes to keeping ageing adults at home safely, and home care is just one piece of the puzzle.

There are often services and professionals outside of the home care space that need to be involved. Industry leaders are responsible for bringing in those resources, connecting with professionals in the community, and referring to organizations that can offer solutions to the gaps. We have to continue to work at building a care infrastructure, starting with hiring and retaining the best caregivers and finding innovative ways to enhance the quality of care and life of others.

Wrapping Up

Gabrielle Pumpian’s insights provide a comprehensive understanding of leadership’s role in home care services. Her expertise showed the nitty-gritty of how effective leadership contributes to a culture of continuous learning and growth among caregivers, empowers them to excel in their roles, and uses technology to bridge skill gaps. As she mentioned, strong leadership is not just about guiding, but about inspiring and enabling caregivers to provide exceptional care to those in need.

Overall, this Expert Q&A was refreshing. We trust you’ll find it as enriching as we did.


Get to Know the Expert Better

Caregiving Insights with Gabrielle Pumpian

Gabrielle Pumpian

Gabrielle Pumpian brings over 15 years of experience in healthcare business development to the Cheer team. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oregon, she began her career as a Patient Access Services representative at Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center in San Diego. Witnessing firsthand the importance of quality care in a home setting, Gabrielle transitioned to marketing and sales roles in the home care and skilled nursing sectors. She then advanced to leadership positions, managing teams across multiple counties. Her passion lies with helping seniors and their families navigate the complexities of post acute care at home and prepare for the inevitable challenges and changes that come with ageing. She is passionate about creating a systemic change in the home care industry, giving more support and economic stability to caregivers as well as encouraging those who care about seniors an opportunity to work and enhance the lives of others.

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