Homewatch CareGivers is in the business of providing non-medical home care services to people of all ages. Clients range from short-term convalescent care to providing care for hospice cases. Most of the clients are people who have illnesses or are just getting too old to fully care for themselves. This latter group includes victims of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“Home care can be very exhausting to family care givers,” Konkoli said. “We can provide the 24×7 care or we can provide respite care. In some cases we are the only network of support for those people. Two-thirds of our clients live more that two or three hours away from mom and dad, so they really can’t provide daily care. They depend on us to be their parents’ family when they’re not here.”
Brenda Konkoli provided a list of the three primary care programs. “Not everyone requires a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA),” she explained, “so we structure our programs to meet the needs they have now with the ability to add to them as required.”
Companion Care provides the elder with assistance ranging from social outings to general housekeeping, meal preparation, help with laundry and linen, and trips to the grocery store and appointments.
Personal Care includes all the Companion Care programs but expands it to include personal hygiene such as bathing, full toilet assistance, including bed pans where necessary, shaving, pressure sore prevention, incontinent care and more.
Complex Personal Care includes all the above but adds ambulation assistance, bed bound care including bathing, the use of lift devices (Hoyer lift), Oxygen use monitoring, specialty diet meal preparation, total assistance with oral feeding, and total bathing and grooming care.
Beyond that the company offers an array of professional nursing services to keep patient care programs up to date and to ensure there is significant and complete communication with other health care professionals and with family members.
Getting into the system
The easiest way to get into the home health care system is for a family member or senior to pick up the phone and ask for a consultation. When done early enough, this gets the family set for whatever situation may be coming.
Konkoli says it is unfortunate but that phone call is generally not made before there is a crisis and stress. “Most interventions come during a time of crisis, when children who haven’t visited their parents in a while call and say, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea they were living like this.’
“Seniors do not want to discuss their needs with their children or neighbors. Their biggest fear is the loss of independence. As long as they’re living together as husband and wife to some extent they compensate each other for their losses in abilities. Eventually it catches up with them and that is when we get called. Sometimes we go into a home and there isn’t a clean pot, pan or dish in the home. It’s a pigpen, and we have to send multiple care givers in to work together to try to get this house back in shape so one care giver can then maintain it for them going forward. (For a full listing of key indicators that your parents need help, see p. 83)
Ernie and Brenda have expanded quickly but methodically. They try not to overreach their range even if a call is within their franchised territory. “Generally we work within 45 miles of Asheville,” Ernie said. “We have been within five miles of Tennessee in Madison County and we cover Brevard and Hendersonville as well as the Buncombe County area. We’re restricted to North Carolina because of our state licensing. Even within our territory we sometimes have to turn down requests for service because we don’t have enough fully trained and qualified care givers. We are not going to disappoint our clients by providing them with poor service. That’s not who we are.
Nuts and Bolts
Homewatch Care Givers, Inc., is a franchising company located in Greenwood Village, Colorado. They recently received the 2013 Franchising Business Review 50 Satisfaction Award, indicating their franchisees are in the national top 50 in terms of franchisee satisfaction regardless of the type of franchise. Measurements include training, marketing, systems and intangibles rated by the franchisees such as trust, respect, honesty, ethics, and how much the franchiser cares about the franchisees success. For more information on the award go to franchisebusinessreview.com and click on the FBR50 awards logo.
Dawn Wilson, Franchise Sales Coordinator for Homewatch, said there are 111 franchisees worldwide including some with multiple territories. There are 214 total territories in operation including 14 in Candada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico.
“The initial Homewatch franchise fee is $43,000 for one territory,” Wilson said. “Capitalization requirements for the first year run between $77,000 and $125,000 including the franchise fee and startup expenses.”
Wilson, like franchisees Ernie and Brenda Konkoli, stated that HomeWatch University provides an unparalleled service to franchisees, care givers and their clients. Wilson said there are “more than 800 courses currently being offered and 2700 hours are accredited for Continuing Education units in certain disciplines and states.”