Not all senior care / home care companies perform any significant assessment when they add a new client. Obviously, that means those agencies do not really create a plan of care, either. You cannot create a plan, specific to an individual, if you have not explored the true needs of that individual.
What made me think of this issue today was reading an article that talked about how many businesses focus on “demographics”, rather than “niches” in their business plans and their approach to customers. As a result, those businesses are not as successful as they might be. My first reaction was, “duh!” However, the very fact that many businesses do operate that way — and I know quite a few of them — took me immediately out of the “duh” realm and into, “Absolutely!”
Our own thinking has been along the lines of the “general” to the “specific” throughout our careers in business, including long stints at Fortune 50 companies. Each client, no matter what the business model, is unique. The more you know about that client, the better you will be able to serve them, whether that is home care or selling shoes. At the same time, each client belongs to multiple groups that share characteristics.
In any business, especially one as critical to the safety and quality of life as in-home care, you need to understand both the group to which your clients belong and be able to differentiate them as individuals. A very, very simple graphic will hopefully help illustrate this critical point:
The illustration above is, as I said, very simple, but hopefully it conveys the point. The needs of, and therefore the care to be provided to a senior with moderate dementia, whose primary caregiver is his or her spouse is quite different from the senior living alone whose issues are centered around Congestive Heart Failure. Are there major areas in common? Yes. Are they more or less important? No. They are simply different, calling for different skills and experience on the part of the Home Care Aide.