Home Instead Elevates Caregiving Profession
Having been a long-term patient at a franchise health system—and, of course, a journalist covering the franchise world—I’ve been curious about how medical franchises can attract and retain quality professionals in the face of competition from big, established health systems.
During a recent interview with Jeff Huber, president and CEO of Omaha-based Home Instead Senior Care, we covered that specific topic as the brand seeks to professionalize careers within the fast-growing field.
“We’re continuing to invest in our caregiver ranks and their development, and try to do everything we can to elevate the role of caregiving, to professionalize it, to make it a true vocation [and] give professional caregivers the tools and resources they need to have a true career, but also to be viewed as a vital part of the care continuum,” Huber (pictured at right) said.
As more and more Americans (and people all over the globe) reach the age of retirement, companies like Home Instead are part of a wave of franchised companies filling the void between relative/family caregivers and the big, timeworn establishment of hospitals, nursing homes and assisted care facilities.
With more sectors of the medical field seeing startup franchise competitors, staffing these companies with quality professionals that are at least the equal of their establishment counterparts may be the deciding factor of whether franchised medicine has a big future here and abroad.
It's important to note that Home Instead is a non-medical caregiving service.
“Aging is a mega-trend,” Huber added, forecasting more competitors to pop up in the franchised senior care space. “We’ve been doing double-digit growth, and we see that for the foreseeable future.”
Just like a long list of other quickly changing industries, senior care has seen a wave of consolidation defined by larger national and international players muscling out some of the smaller startups that have helped transform the senior care industry.
“Society itself is really going to buckle under the current demand,” he said of the future. “We see home care as being a big part of the solution to that, so educating and providing real viable solutions is a big part of what our mission is … we’re really trying to take a leadership role in shaping policy.”
Getting back to the topic at hand—the attraction of quality caregivers—Huber said the key is finding people that have a “genuine concern and love for older people,” and also creating a workplace that’s designed around being an “employer of choice.”
Asked for specifics, he included competitive compensation and an ongoing focus on recruitment, but also that professionalization and elevation of what it means to be a caregiver, and also what it means to make that job an enjoyable career rather than a burden.
Given my own experiences in franchised health care, that sounds like a good start. From what I’ve heard, compensation is a deal-breaker compared to a job at a larger, traditional health system. You get what you pay for.
My hope is that, unlike the fast food industry, medical franchising will not be premised on low-paid staffers, because I’m much more comfortable with a sloppy cheeseburger than I am a sloppy medical procedure of any kind. That goes doubly for anybody taking care of my dear grandmother.