It is essentially two years later, again, and time for another review. Do we still have the same level of passion and commitment? If so, have we done anything to translate that passion into even better care? If not, why not???
The answer is two-fold. Yes, we have at least as much passion and commitment to the cause of elder care and home care. Secondly, we have hired a Gerontologist as Client Services Manager, a Human Resources Manager with ten years of senior experience in this industry, and a very talented Community Relations Manager to run our non-profit Flowers For Seniors program. We have also moved one of our best Home Care Aides, a Certified Nurse Assistant, into the position of Staffing Assistant, to be the first filter for applicants who want to work with us. And, we hired a recent college grad as an Operations Assistant to help our Home Care Aides navigate the rules and regs and requirements of working in this industry. Finally, we continue to answer the phone 24×7, including when it rings next to the bed at 2:00 AM. 🙂
It is always good for an organization to take a look back, now and then, to see if it is still true to the principles it was formed to support or whether it has wandered off down a very different path. I was just looking at a “Key Messages” document we created two years ago, that very much reflected our founding philosophy. I wanted to see where we stand today relative to those principles.
So, true to our “open kimono” style, we would like to share those August 2008 Key Messages, as well as some reflections on where we stand, relative to them, today.
1. Our Caregiver Difference
b. We have to trust them
c. They are our employees
d. Extensive background checks
When we look at this, we realize, yes, that is still exactly where we stand. The heart and soul and the backbone of Support For Home is our corps of Home Care Aides. They are this organization, not the owners or small administrative staff (although they are critically important). We have to trust our Home Care Aides, because they are the members of the organization spending time in our clients’ homes, every single day. They must have the good judgment and intelligence to get it right, meeting the needs of those clients.
To ensure that, we do, indeed, do much more extensive background checks than most California home care agencies. We do not just rely on the California Department of Justice, which would get us the last five years of state and local data. Our national firm costs us more, but we know if there was a crime in Illinois or a federal crime or if there is something on the Sex Offender Registry.
Finally, and we still believe this is critical, our Home Care Aides are our employees. We do payroll, Social Security, unemployment, workers compensation, liability insurance, dishonesty bond, and so forth. The last thing a senior who needs home care should have to worry about is having the State call them asking where the unemployment insurance taxes are!
2. Owners are personally committed, and hence are very hands-on and available 24×7.
When we founded Support For Home, my wife and I promised that when we did not have the passion to answer the phone, personally, at 2AM, we would go back to our high tech / IT careers. We knew that a client or caregiver in need would be on the other end of the line, and an answering service or voice mail was not going to be able to provide that help. Four years later, two years after the August 2008 document, we are still answering the phone, next to the bed, at 2AM — but please don’t test us. 🙂
3. We are focused on a comprehensive plan of care. Where other agencies focus on developing sales channels, we are focused on developing care partners.
This is still absolutely critical, in our view. A plan of care is a pie. We provide only a few slices of that pie. If we are not able to help identify the “ingredients” for the other slices, and the best possible “pie makers,” our clients’ needs are not going to be met. The entire home care experience is likely to be a failure.
We did not then and we do not now have any financial interest in any business providing services to our clients. They are either excellent resources for our clients or they do not get referred.
So, does this mean we are the best thing to happen to home care since raisin bread? That is up to our clients and employees to decide. But, are we still on the same track as when we started and as was renewed two years ago? Absolutely. The passion is still there.
Best wishes, Bert