Since Home Instead Senior Care provides non-medical services, its employees do not need to be certified. The company does require prospective employees to have prior experience, and it tests them for competency. Before working in the field, the firm’s state license requires that its caregivers receive four hours of training that includes safety, communication, overview of general client conditions, and what to do in an emergency. Employees must have a total of eight hours of training every year covering topics such as body mechanics and transferring patients, dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, incontinence, meal preparation, and activities for seniors.
Finding and keeping good employees is always hard work, Harrison says. “There are a lot of people looking for jobs, but we have high standards, and a lot of them miss the mark. As a business owner, my greatest challenge is managing all that I have to do. I handle operations, which encompasses quite a bit in our business,” she says.
Competency testing, reference checks and background checks help select good employees, the NAHC’s Dombi says. Anyone with a criminal background or unstable work history should be avoided, as well as individuals who do not understand that it is a privilege to serve home care clients.
Finding Networks, Getting Results
Dombi says limited capital is needed for businesses that provide health-related services in customers’ homes because these firms need minimal “bricks and mortar” facilities. However, six months’ operating capital is generally recommended. “There is no benchmark on insurance coverage, but most companies carry general liability insurance and professional liability insurance in the $1 million to $3 million range,” Dombi says.
The franchise route for operating a staffing business has significant advantages over starting a business independently. “The franchisee gains the expertise of the franchisor on all fronts, from marketing to human resource management to payroll management to scheduling of services and quality assurance. A neophyte in the home care business is often lost,” Dombi says.
The benefits of being a franchisee for Tia Harrison are operating with a proven business model and having the support of a network of business owners willing to share resources and tools that help her build her business. “It is a worthwhile investment, and the rewards are far greater than the expense,” she says.