We can all agree that the pandemic was a shock to our economic infrastructure, social norms, and entire way of life. For the home care industry, COVID-19 has compelled us to take a step back and find more efficient and safe ways of conducting ourselves with our patients. Our franchise owners have had to find unique ways to market themselves while social distancing and new ways to educate their employees about the virus.
Franchise networks have the daunting task of helping home care franchisees navigate this uncertain time. Homewatch CareGivers® has come up with a few ways to support owners during year two of the pandemic.
Normalizing Personal Protective Equipment
One thing that’s more noticeable about year two of COVID-19 is the mandated use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and face shields. Before, when someone mentioned PPE, it was usually a reference to gloves while working. Now, healthcare and home care professionals are donning face masks, protective eyewear, and gowns simply to see individuals, as well as when treating them.
For franchise owners, agency staff, caregivers, and clients of Homewatch CareGivers, we encourage the consistent use of PPE. We’ve taken extra precautions as new strains of COVID-19 have appeared in different parts of the world, as scientists are reporting that these new strains can be transmitted more easily, making PPE all the more vital. We’ve empowered our franchise owners to implement guidelines and normalize PPE across the board.
Educating on Vaccine Availability
Knowledge is power, and one of the best things franchise networks can do is provide education and information about vaccine availability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of adults have received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 7.6% are fully vaccinated. At Homewatch CareGivers, our franchise owners have been leading the charge and setting examples for their employees about vaccine efficacy and education. Some of our franchise owners have joined vaccine trials to encourage their clients and employees to get vaccinated. This kind of action helps others see that franchise owners understand their influence on their counterparts.
Navigating Pandemic Fatigue
Few would argue that 2020 was a grueling year for every industry, but more so for healthcare and home care. The pandemic has taken a lot out of all of us. Franchise owners, especially, have had to navigate this uncertain time with the temporary closure of their small businesses to slow or stop the virus’s spread. Since most stay-at-home orders have been lifted, the demand for home care professionals has surged. With the necessity for caregivers increasing, franchise owners have been meeting those demands and trying to combat other ailments, such as pandemic fatigue with their staff.
Many franchise owners are aware that their caregivers are some of the only people seniors have had any direct contact with for several months. The need for social interaction for staff and clients has caused franchisees to participate in programs to ensure health and wellness outside in anticipation of widespread vaccinations. Our goal at Homewatch CareGivers is to help our franchisees persevere through this phase until (and after) vaccines are more widely available.
Developing a Mobile Communication System & Helping Franchise Owners Implement It
One of the best ways to reach an entire franchise network is through technology that can transmit one message and have it be received by everyone. At Homewatch CareGivers, our electronic communication route (mobile app, text messaging, and email) can relay succinct information across the board and reach franchise owners and caregivers to ensure they’re healthy and safe.
With a robust communication system in place, training franchise owners to use it appropriately should be the next step in the process for franchising brands. Technology during the second year of the pandemic can be a real investment when appropriately implemented. A communication system can help home care franchise owners create operational efficiencies that weren’t otherwise there before COVID.
Developing “Open Door” Policy for Owners with Coronavirus Questions
Another way franchise networks can be an indelible resource for franchise owners is by developing open forums and scheduling seminars specifically to allow franchisees to ask questions. Uncertainty seems to be the theme for this second year of COVID-19, but providing a place and a way for owners to discuss their challenges will only strengthen a network’s foundation. Additionally, franchise owners want to have a central location regarding government affairs, lobbying, and federal and local policies directly affecting their business.
Scheduling Periodic Meetings for Franchisees to Connect
Being a part of a franchise network means you always have the support of others facing similar situations. The ability to provide franchisees with peace of mind, knowing they have experts in the field directly supporting them, is invaluable. Whether on a monthly or quarterly basis, giving franchise owners a forum to talk through relevant topics can ease the burden of COVID-19 on them and their employees.
As 2021 continues to introduce ambiguities regarding COVID-19, franchises have to use the roadmaps already developed to deal with what we currently know about the virus. At Homewatch CareGivers, we’ve implemented practices to help our owners better care for their staff.
Some of the procedures we’ve presented include:
- Providing wellness checks for caregivers and clients
- Enhancing cleaning methods
- Minimizing the effects of loneliness for caregivers and clients
We know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but as we continue navigating through this second year of the pandemic, we must be able to rely on our fellow franchisees and the wealth of knowledge we have to keep moving forward.
For more information about our COVID-19 protocols, click here. To learn more about joining a franchise network that cares about its franchise owners and is on the cutting edge of the industry, call us today at (888) 718-5318.