4 Ways true patient engagement can impact CAHPS scores for home health and hospice

4 Ways true patient engagement can impact CAHPS scores for home health and hospice


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By: Christie McWilliams, RN, Implementation Consultant, CitusHealth

When it comes to the importance of patient engagement in home health and hospice, there’s no better perspective than that of a nurse. In my experience, the more engaged patients are, the more they actively participate in their care. Ultimately, this results in more satisfied patients, which will likely be reflected in higher CAHPS scores.

Whether good or bad, CAHPS scores can be a valuable tool to help agencies understand how patients feel about the service they receive. Asking a laundry list of questions pertaining to the patient experience—this survey explores whether providers discussed medications, treated patients with respect, communicated with the family, offered timely help and emotional support, and much more. By paying attention to these scores, improving care where it’s needed, and engaging patients, they will actively participate in their care and be happier with how it’s provided.

Here are four ways to increase patient engagement—and ultimately increase CAHPS scores.

Give patients control.

Nurses typically encounter patients at a point in their lives where they’re in a challenging situation that they can’t control. By engaging them to participate in their care—deciding how to communicate with their nurse, when they can visit, etc.—they get some of that control back and feel like they are being heard.

Respond quickly.

With a communication tool like CitusHealth, patients no longer need to wait on hold while a nurse is tracked down to answer their questions. If they message their nurse during agreed upon hours, they have a way of getting an instant response to their concerns.

Whether their nurse responds with a message, phone call, or video chat, timely help for patients and their families increase engagement and satisfaction.

Be present.

In this day and age, we chart electronically, which means nurses in the home are often looking at a tablet, typing what the patient is saying. It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that you’re in the patient’s home. Don’t let technology become a barrier to personal connection.

For older generations, making eye contact is a sign of respect and that you’re listening to what they have to say. Don’t keep your head buried in technology, but also communicate how and why the tablet is being used—that it gathers details for the care team to make the best possible decisions and that they can speak up if it makes them uncomfortable.

When nurses are in the home, they are guests. Patients want to feel treated with respect, especially in their own space.

Keep patients informed.

Simply put, informed patients make better decisions. They better understand the whys and will be more compliant with their treatment.

Instead of giving patients medication and telling them to take it three times a day, sit down and explain it in detail. Talk about the name of it, what it’s for, why it’s important to take the correct dose, and what can happen if they don’t.

At the end of the day, they can choose whether to take the medication. It’s up to us to make sure they can make an informed decision.

As a nurse, I love visiting the patient’s home because I can see what’s really going on. They can’t hide sodas in the fridge or candy in the pantry. Being in their environment helps me understand more about their lifestyle, which allows me to tailor the care I provide and communicate with them right where they live. This kind of perspective makes patient engagement and connection a constant priority when I’m in the home and long after I’ve completed the visit.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how CitusHealth can help you improve patient engagement.

Christie McWilliams
Christie McWilliams
RN, Implementation Consultant, CitusHealth

As an Implementation Consultant at CitusHealth, Christie successfully assists healthcare companies to digitally transform their processes using the CitusHealth application. Christie has been a registered nurse for 12 years in various positions within home infusion, home health, and hospital settings. Christie applies the extensive knowledge she has gained during her nursing career to assist CitusHealth customers in utilizing the application to its fullest advantage.