Tag Archives: Geriatric Care

Common Problems with Private Duty In-Home Care Agencies

While the private duty industry has just released a report indicating that their turnover rate has reached an all-time high of 82% according to the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study by market research firm Home Care Pulse, a review of the common problems of the home health private duty care agencies is in order. Traditionally, hiring a private duty in-home care agency was seen as the only avenue for people looking to care for those with elderly parents who need assistance.  Through out the history of private-pay, private-duty care, working with caregiving agencies is often a daunting task that can be difficult for both elderly parents and their adult children. Part of the problem is that to date, getting a reliable, dependable, affordable caregiver is usually an exception rather than the rule and this situation is only getting worse.

For adult children looking to hire a caregiver or private duty agency to care for the elderly parents, there are many pitfalls that get covered up by private duty agencies. Most people believe that an agency is going to get a matched caregiver to you or your parent’s needs and pay them a decent wage, when in fact most agencies just field the next available caregiver in roster. They are more about making money than servicing the clients.  In case after case we hear about how caregivers at agencies often do not show up, are sleeping on the job, are not trained, or more seriously, sometimes abuse their charges.

In order to save individuals frustration and regrets, it is beneficial to review some of the most common problems with private duty in-home care agencies and how to avoid them. Below is a listing of the top client complaints concerning private duty home care agencies.

  • Lack of consistency of caregiver
  • Caregivers not showing up or consistently late
  • Communication Problems Between Client and the Agency
  • Insufficient Caregiver Training
  • Caregivers focused on technology not the client
  • Unwanted caregiver behavior
  • Cultural differences / not accounting for cultural needs

The most common problem with private duty home care is that either caregivers do not show up, or there is a new caregiver showing up ever other week.  These issues have been a chronic and persistent problem in private duty home care since its inception. While the industry has known about this situation for some time, the problem persists due in a large part to the inadequate pay afforded caregivers, and the fact that agencies tend to hire anyone who applies for the open job, instead of doing a real match to a client’s needs and the caregiver’s personality and skills. The bottom line is that agencies are more concerned with maximizing their profits rather than really taking care of a client’s needs.

Another common problem lies with poor communication from the private duty care agency and/or their caregivers. While you believe hiring a caregiving in-home care agency will give you some relief for people looking to take care of parents who are no longer able to adequately take care of themselves, it is amazing how even acknowledging that the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) are being performed do not get communicated to those who might be paying for those services. This is even more compounded if special needs are involved, or if the elderly client needs to be taken to the doctor or requires some form of clinical therapy.

On top of not paying caregivers adequately, another challenge for the industry is the fact that there is insufficient training for caregivers. In some instances, caregivers are not allowed to provide services in the home due in a large part to the Stare restricting what services a private duty agency can offer. On the other hand, it goes back to in home private pay care agencies just trying to get billings, knowing adult children are desperate to get care for their needy parents and are unable to personally attend to that need. Sadly, even basic skills such as cooking and cleaning, may go lacking with many of the caregivers private duty agencies hire, and should be questioned and evaluated before hiring a potential caregiver.

Technology can be a great tool for delivering care, but at the same time, many caregivers are distracted with their phones, social media and the internet in general, and this distracts them from performing their caregiving duties. While you may not like it, it is very difficult for home care agencies to police their caregivers on the use of their smart phones as a distraction to caregiving.

While the best-case scenario is when a caregiver feels like they are part of the family, it is vitally important to maintain some boundaries with the caregiver. This is especially true if they start to display some irresponsible behaviors. Occasionally, everybody is late, but with private duty home care agencies, this tends to be a chronic condition, and when you start to see a caregiver not show up for care, or have a substitute being called in frequently, it is time to reevaluate the use of this agency. The problem gets worse if the caregiver seems nice, but in actuality is just taking advantage of the situation. Remember, you are relying on a 3rd party to bring someone you do not know of have not vetted or chosen into your home. Too often people make the assumption that a private duty agency takes as much care as they would in choosing a caregiver, but most of the time, that is not the case.

Finally, there are the differences in cultures, likes and dislikes. Some of these are straightforward like language and ethnicity, but others deal with diets, foods, music, cleanliness, and religion. It is important that you address possible language and cultural barriers first. There are some cultural differences between hygiene and eating habits that may pose a surprise problem later on. Laying out expectations from the beginning can eliminate these problems. Working with private duty in-home can be difficult, but it does not have to be. There are new alternatives being offered, like Well Beyond Care, that allows people to how hire your own caregiver and steer clear of the frustrations of working with private duty and at the same time saving a substantial amount of money and letting you choose your own perfect caregiver.  Well Beyond Care teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover. The platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. This solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Study Shows, Wearables Do Not Improve Outcomes

While we are a big believer that technology is a great boon to health care and in improving outcomes, and healthcare in general, we have always had our doubts on the efficacy on wearables in truly improving outcomes, or caregiving in any measurable way. Now a new study conducted by Cedars-Sinai investigators published in Nature Partner Journal, NPJ Digital Medicine indicates that these very expensive wearables have essentially no effect on improving medical outcomes.

As outlined in Health Management Technology’s article, “Analysis shows lack of evidence that wearable biosensors improve patient outcome,” over the past ten years, there has been no significant improvement in patient outcomes with or without wearable. Well Beyond Care has always believed that while technology is wonderful, but without a competent and dedicated caregiver, that any improvement in tech is pretty much useless. The trick is in integrating technology to improve excellent and dedicated caregiving.

The Value of a Healthcare Navigator

Why is having a nurse navigator so important to the well-being of our aging population at home?

Many of us may not know it yet, or have not experienced it yet, but some day, as we or our parents get older are going to come face to face with a new and unexpected complexity in our lives: navigating the health-care and home-care systems.  These convoluted systems make a financial planner’s Monte-Carlo investment simulations look like a game of Shoots & Ladders.

The worst part is that people needing care or family members getting care for the loved ones feel helpless. This is compounded with the onset of old age or chronic illness. Often, older adults and their families can only hope their care providers in the health care system will treat them with their best interests in mind.  Too often doctors and nurses and therapists and other healthcare staff are overburdened and cannot offer the best care nor do their best work.  Remember, hospitals and the healthcare system are huge, and you are just a number in many cases.

In the future, families are going to need someone who can help them navigate these ever more labyrinth entities.  The complexity of the healthcare system in conjunction with the ever-increasing elderly population is going to give rise to a new type of professional known as a Geriatric Care Manager.

These individuals act as advocates and advisors for aging individuals both inside and outside a hospital.  According to a recent Market Watch article, “Is it worth paying an expert to help you navigate the health-care system?; a geriatric care manager is worth between $2,500 and $4,000 per year. These individuals do not personally provide care themselves. Instead they collect and present information, help to design a care plan, and navigate the health care system to implement and facilitate that plan on behalf of the family that pays them. They are guides for families who must travel the sometimes-bumpy modern road of aging.

The most experienced geriatric care managers tend to have years of experience at home health agencies delivering geriatric care management services.  While using nurses in this fashion is common with home health agencies, is rare to find this service used in private duty care. One company, Well Beyond Care has seen this need and offers, as part of its service, nurse navigators to any individuals who join.

“We understand that in-home care for the elderly is more than just getting a caregiver in the home,” states Well Beyond Care’s co-founded and Chief Nursing Offer Lauren Tarrant, RN. “We knew when we started Well Beyond Care that the value we were bringing with our nurses comes from their experience and knowledge of the complex healthcare system, and in helping families navigate their care needs on a personal level.”

“Part of the reason I started Well Beyond Care was because when I had to take care of my mother, there was no service available to help me deliver care from Austin to her in Alexandria, VA,” states CEO and President Jeffrey Fry.  He goes on to say, “there could soon come a time that navigating the morass of the health care system without a healthcare manager will seem just as foolhardy as diving into the legal system without a lawyer or the financial markets without a financial advisor.  We want our nurses to work toward the comprehensive well-being of our clients and their families; and provide them with the information to make well-informed decisions about their loved one’s care. Having this ability can save families thousands of dollars, not to speak of the well-being of their loved ones. Our nurses are there to lower stress and help families make correct decisions.”

Well Beyond Care gives caregivers and those who need care the tools to manage their in-home care online. Caregivers, registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, and geriatric care managers can use the website to be best matched with careseekers looking for care, set their wages, post their weekly availability, receive weekly payment, and build their resume and portfolio with real experience. Careseekers and family members looking for someone to give care for their parents or loved ones, can use the website to search for qualified nurses, CNAs and caregivers, are matched with a caregiver who can best can deliver care to specific care needs, monitor their caregivers’ schedules and payment online and receive personal support from the nurse that is assigned to them when they join. Join for free today at WellBeyondCare.com.

Well Beyond Care Overall Winner of Rice Alliance Pitch Event

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lauren Tarrant, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
Well Beyond Care, Inc.
(512) 809-4057
lauren@wellbeyondcare.com

Well Beyond Care Overall Winner of Rice Alliance Pitch Event

A Health Tech Company Disintermediating Private Duty Care was Selected as Overall Winner over Ten Companies Presenting at the 2017 Startup Pitch Competition

Austin, TX, January 25, 2017 – Well Beyond Care, an online caregiving matchmaker service that is disintermediating private duty care, won the first Rice Alliance-Austin Chapter and Central Texas Angel Network pitch competition on Wednesday night at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.  With overall winner’s prize package is worth more than $100,000 including “in kind” prizes from Andrews Kurth, Capital Factory and other companies.

2017PitchAwardRice Alliance and CTAN picked ten Texas-based seed stage companies out of 67 who applied to present at the event.  Jeffrey Fry, CEO and Co-Founder, came up with the idea for Well Beyond Care after caring for his ailing mom, who lived in Alexandria, Virginia for seven years.

“First it is an honor to have been chosen to present with so many fine Austin startups,” Mr. Fry stated.  “And to be selected the overall winner just gives testament to the pressing need to resolved the “silver tsunami” of geriatric care in the U.S.,” Mr. Fry added.

“Being an engineer, I wanted to create something better than what’s out there. Together with my co-founder, Lauren Tarrant, RN, we created an innovative online platform that allows families to hire their own caregivers and resolve most of the pervasive problems in private duty care.  This platform not only save families $10K to $30K in caregiver cost but families now can hire a caregiver of their choosing, that are matched to their needs, and are dependable, reliable, affordable, and available,” Mr. Fry concluded.

Lauren Tarrant added, “today, more than seven and half million people are getting in home care. The market is $120 billion for in home care, but by the end of the decade it’s going to be $180 billion. And 95 percent of all the people who get in-home or private duty care use an agency. They are first off, extremely expensive and we wanted to now allow a more affordable choice for families.  In addition, the two biggest problems with those agencies are truancy and turnover of workers. So, you get unreliable care. Winning this award gets us one step closer to realizing the dream of affordable in home care.”

Well Beyond Care, founded in 2014, has raised $310,000 in seed stage capital so far. The company is raising additional funds to build new features into its it platform including a mobile app and more administrative reporting.  Project Balance has been contracted to develop this applications and the company is looking to launch their platform in May of 2017.

The other finalists in the Austin Rice Alliance pitch competition included:

Anderson Remplex: This Flower Mound-based startup created a product called ProROX to eliminate pathogens from food products for commercial kitchens and consumers.

HipPocket: This Dallas-based startup created a better search and marketing product for real estate listings using machine learning, data and analytics. The company says it transforms how buyer and sales agents connect and consumers buy homes.

Renovate Simply: This Austin-based startup created a home renovation platform for banks, credit unions and other lending institutions to automate the home renovation process and provide increased transparency and reduce risk.

Cingo: This Austin-based startup provides the technology for companies to embed real time in app customer support in their mobile apps.

Homads: This Austin-based startup created a marketplace for month to month rentals of 30 or more days.

Sandbox Commerce: This Austin-based startup created a simply to use system that allows retailers to create a mobile app easily without any knowledge of coding.

SigTrak – This Austin-based startup created technology for data extraction and analytics for microchip design.

About Rice Alliance – Austin Chapter:
Rice Alliance – Austin Chapter aids entrepreneurs and investors alike, principally through educational events and workshops but also through mentoring, funding, partnership, and networking. The Austin Chapter was formed in 2003 as the successful Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship initiative at Rice University in Houston expanded its footprint. Austin was an obvious choice and the Austin Chapter now claims an important space in the entrepreneurial community in the capital city. Learn more at austinricealliance.org.

About CTAN:
Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN) is the largest angel investing network in Texas, and the #1 most active single-chapter group in the nation (for 2015).  It mission is twofold:  To provide quality early-stage investment opportunities for accredited angel investors, and to assist entrepreneurs and early-stage growth companies by serving as a key source of funding, mentorship, strategic advice, and educational resources. CTAN was founded in 2006 by local investors and community leaders, who believed that early-stage investing could provide a meaningful return for investors while also spurring local economic growth. Individual members of the organization volunteered their time and expertise to review potential investments and assist entrepreneurs.  Learn more at centraltexasangelnetwork.com.