Strengthen your workforce: How Logan Health retains home health and hospice staff

April 2, 2024 |  Home Care, Industry Leaders, Events


At last month’s 2024 Home Care Symposium, my team and I virtually welcomed attendees to our hospital-based home health and hospice agency. In our session, “Agency Profile: Logan Health,” we were excited to share our personal success addressing common industry challenges such as staffing, training, integration with hospital EHR, and IT programs.

During the hour-long session, we focused on two key areas that strengthened our staff retention efforts: a robust onboarding model and dedicated IT support.

The impact of quality onboarding

At Logan Health Home Care, we pride ourselves on our commitment to fulfilling staff needs so they can excel. Then we can also offer our experiences as a resource to peers. As a result of that mission, we’ve found extensive onboarding to be a key factor in significantly decreasing short-term staff turnover.

After our clinical educator retired without a replacement, we had to evolve quickly to meet the demands of educating our new staff. As a result, we implemented a program called The Married State Preceptor Model (MSPM), which follows a 3-phase approach. The model focuses on the power of observation and mentorship, and our version is built specifically around home health nurse qualifications.

The Married State Preceptor Model

Each phase in the new hire stage takes around 2 weeks on average depending on how quickly the employee absorbs information.

Phase 1: A preceptor is assigned to the new employee and they work side-by-side on visits. The preceptee is exposed to the full job by proxy, helping them mentally prepare and ease the transition.

Phase 2: The preceptor and new hire continue to work closely. As competency builds, the preceptor begins to check-off certain skills and let the preceptee take the lead on visits.

Phase 3: The preceptor is available to their preceptee at all times but takes a step back; for example, they will wait in the car or be available in-office. The preceptee applies their new skills to perform the full job, beginning the transition to working independently.

The new hire stage represents a small slice of the large, sophisticated process required of this model. Even after preceptees have graduated from the married state, we require joint assessment visits with field clinicians every 3 months for the first year and in-depth OASIS training with a COS-C certified PT. Establishing the tone right away on the value of education and application encourages stronger results, and we have seen a heartening difference in the competency of our new hires.

Maximizing dedicated technical support

Not many home health departments or agencies can claim they have a dedicated IT specialist on staff, but we’ve seen firsthand the difference this role makes. On day one, new employees are introduced to our IT support, Tom Sturzen, Application Specialist. His role is instrumental in preparing field staff for the technology aspect of their job and setting them up for success.

Tom has been in his role for 16 years and can attest to the trial and error of figuring out the best ways to support home health staff. As he enjoys sharing with other agencies: “One of the most successful things I’ve noted in this role is teaching users how to fix common problems that come up. They love it because people want to know how to take care of themselves and fix different things.”

In other words, teaching digital literacy helps acclimate clinicians to technology’s role in healthcare, building their technical confidence. It also frees up time for IT to address high priority issues, stay informed, and explore new digital tools.

For instance, we’ve witnessed and embraced the mobile device shift across the healthcare spectrum. In our rural setting it can be difficult to find Wi-Fi, but mobile devices allow us to use hot spots so our clinicians always have access to their documentation. Anticipating the future and knowing we had the resources led us to become an early adopter for MEDITECH’s Home Care Mobile version. We had great success with it and enjoyed the opportunity to give our clinicians access to a tool that increases efficiency.

Recommendations to employ the role

There are many considerations to take into account when filling an IT role for home health agencies. We encourage searching for a candidate that embodies or is open to developing these skills:

  • Digital security knowledge
  • Technology and system repair
  • Vendor relationships management
  • Teaching digital literacy basics
  • Passion for researching new solutions

Home health agencies know all too well the difficulties we face when it comes to attracting, educating, and retaining staff. On the plus side, the widespread challenges have encouraged a much needed conversation around how to support field staff in the modern healthcare environment and normalized the act of sharing information among agencies.

MEDITECH’s annual Home Care Symposium presents the perfect occasion to embrace that philosophy. My team enjoyed the opportunity to share our perspectives, and we hope it has sparked ideas for positive change at other organizations.

MEDITECH customers can log in to watch the full Logan Health session, download presentation slides, and find additional resources from the 2024 Home Care Symposium. For additional questions about the complete Married State Preceptor Model applied to home health & hospice agencies, contact Jodie Thole at

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Written by Jodie Thole, RN, Supervisor, Logan Health

Jodie Thole, RN, brings a wealth of knowledge to the table with her 38 years of experience as a nurse, 25 years of experience in home health and hospice, and coding certification, HCS-D. As Supervisor of Logan Health’s hospital-based home health and hospice agency, she enjoys mentoring and helping her team succeed.