Ramping up Remote Caregiver Programs: Quick Guide & FAQ

Quick Guide

An increasing number of healthcare providers, insurance companies and social service organizations are engaging family caregivers through remote programs. Often this is a change for staff that have traditionally delivered services face-to-face, and instead rely on the phone and digital tools.

We put together a quick guide and FAQ to help organizations stand-up a remote program quickly and painlessly.

Step 1: Configure your caregiver portal to match your needs

  • Set up a dedicated portal and configure for your agency (with your logo and easy web address for your caregivers to remember)
  • Add local content to the existing training and resource library
  • Arrange for delivery of print material for offline users

Step 2: Training for organization staff & subcontractors (~90 mins)

  • Webinar or in-person training to understand how to use the portal
  • Learn to “activate” the caregiver remotely
  • Distribute handouts and quick guides for staff

Step 3: Promote the program to caregivers and partner organizations

  • Co-branded marketing material available (print, social media, video)
  • Tools provided to host a webinar for partners

 Step 4: Invite caregivers via email or phone

  • Identify through assessments, I&R, Case Management and other channels
  • Send invitations to caregivers for unlimited access to resources in the portal

Step 5: Engage & Activate caregivers from a distance

  • Personalize the learning journey to each care situation, and recommend specific content to caregivers
  • Collect pre- and post-assessment data
  • Track engagement and report outcomes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of staff in remote caregiver programs?

When engaging with caregivers remotely, we find most organizations use an initial phone assessment or intake to understand the family’s needs. At this point, staff will identify which programs or services will be most helpful to the caregiver. Many will follow-up these calls with emails offering further information (although it is often reported that clients are not frequently checking email, more on that below). The solutions offered vary by organization, from information and referral (often directing the caregiver to available resources in the community) to enrollment in full case management (depending on qualifying criteria). Our partners are often seeking tangible solutions that have immediate benefit for the caregiver.

Our goal is to equip remote staff with programs that provide short-term benefit and foster self-efficacy. We believe that self-efficacy, often achieved by learning new caregiving skills, leads to increased confidence and reduced burden. By definition, self-efficacy is one’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations – in this case, an overwhelming caregiving situation. There is significant evidence linking self-efficacy to reduced caregiver burnout. Given that staff can’t be in front of the caregiver, it is increasingly important that they have a toolkit of supports focused on improving caregiver confidence.

How much staff time is required?

We believe that a good caregiver support program can supplement your existing outreach and activities but doesn’t have to replace or overhaul the great work that social workers, case managers, and other staff do to engage clients and families everyday. All care situations are unique, and it’s helpful to have programs in your “toolkit” that can be offered without a major staff time commitment. Programs need to be simple and easy to understand – after all, if staff members struggle with the offering (or the technology, more on that below), caregivers are unlikely to perceive that the program is easy to use.

At Trualta, we train staff members to use our portal in a one-hour webinar call. We offer reminders, handouts and quick reference guides to support staff to ramp up quickly. We include simulations and practice questions in training to help staff become comfortable engaging families with our educational resources. We simplify the registration process for families so staff can explain the program and register a user in 10-minutes.

How do you follow-up if caregivers are not using email?

We often hear from agencies that caregivers are not checking email frequently. While this varies by community, in our experience organizations often underestimate the connectivity of their older adult population. Emphasizing ease of use when providing online resources is an important part of fostering buy-in with caregivers that are less inclined to spend time online.

It’s important to remove any friction that may arise from caregivers who struggle with email. For example, if they don’t receive an email, provide a link verbally over the phone with the same information. When it comes to education and skills, we learned that print resources are often important to establish credibility and transition the caregiver online; if you have printed material available, mail it or allow clients to pick up material at a community partner in your network. We find higher engagement with print + digital solutions and try to equip our partners with a combination of material.

What if my staff are not tech-savvy?

In our experience, the more comfortable staff are with a tech-enabled intervention, the more likely caregivers are to engage. After all, it’s hard to encourage clients to use an online resource if you yourself, as the staff person, are not able to confidently use it.

A thoughtful caregiver program is designed to support the staff member almost as much as the caregiver. Aside from a simple and straightforward workflow, it is important to train staff on how to use it. In fact, we quiz our staff at the end of training to make sure they understand how to use and promote the program to caregivers. Staff should be able to access the program as if they were a caregiver, so they understand the resource and have firsthand experience as a user.

Does our IT team need to be involved?

Most technology solutions can be hosted remotely (i.e., “in the cloud”) while still maintaining all privacy and security standards that are critical for healthcare providers, payers and social service organizations. While sometimes a sign-off from IT is required, configuring and delivering a caregiver intervention should not require significant time or resources from your IT department.  

For more information about ramping up remote caregiver programs, contact Leda Rosenthal, Director of Growth, at Leda@Trualta.com or 1-800-214-5085 ext 1.