COVID-19 challenged home and community-based services (HCBS) providers in ways they could have never imagined. It also made them stronger, and taught them valuable lessons that will serve them now and in the post-pandemic world. We’ve rounded up their most important “lessons learned” below.

#1 – There’s no such thing as too much communication.

Communication is key to maintaining positive relationships, especially in the midst of a crisis. Practical measures such as clear messaging around policy changes, or weekly emails noting available aides and the regions they’re able to support, can help both staff and participants feel connected.

#2 – Stay flexible.

COVID-19 gave us no option but to adapt and learn to roll with the changes. Maintain this flexible mindset, and you’ll be prepared to handle other emergencies that may come your way. 

#3 – Show your gratitude.

A simple “thank you” always means a lot, but for staff who are really going above and beyond, do your best to reward them monetarily.

#4 – Utilize technology.

If moving your in-person meetings online saved you a lot of time, imagine the other ways technology can give your efficiency a boost. Some software management solutions offer functionality to streamline all your processes – from billing to care coordination.

#5 – Provide incentives for vaccination.

There’s no easier way to protect your staff and participants from COVID-19 than the vaccine. For caregivers who may be hesitant, incentives like gift cards or paid time off may do the trick.

#6 – Encourage outdoor activities.

As we adjust to the “new normal” and more people become comfortable venturing outside the home, promote small social events outdoors to maintain a high level of safety. Plus, just being out in nature on a sunny day can work wonders for the mind and spirit.

The information in this blog post was extracted from a presentation in the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation’s Annual Conference entitled “Self-Direction: Resilience & Growth During a Crisis” by Michael Mihalko, Hank Lobb, & Kimberly Corbett of Springbrook; Karen Bryant of Children at Play; and Susan Kittle of Annkissam.