How To Start A Home Health Care Business

To stay in their own home for many people who need assisted living means help with transportation, shopping, preparing meals and perhaps personal care guidance such as bathing or dressing. Providing non-medical home health aid is a growing need.

There are numerous reasons why the home care industry is seeing such accelerating growth, including:

  • Increase in need. Millions of people are reaching an age where they will need some sort of homecare, increasing the expanse of the industry. With so many people in need, the industry will respond by growing to accommodate the demand.
  • Affordability. Many people are realizing that home care is a much more affordable route to providing people with the assistance they need. This is especially true when compared with such things as assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
  • Aging in place. People are beginning to understand the importance of helping the elderly be able to age in place, or stay in their own home. This helps them maintain some independence, be happier, and be able to stay in their familiar surroundings. Home care is the option that allows them to do this.
  • Convenience. In some cases rather than taking the elderly or sick out of the home for appointments the homecare industry can bring many of those to the person. This provides a convenient route to getting people the assistance they need.
  • Safety. Most seniors live alone and in some cases isolated. They become depressed and withdrawn and often will not ask for help and in some cases not aware of their own safety concerns. Home Care helps ensure safety for the elderly by being there to provide or assist with activities for daily living.

If you are interested in starting your own Non-Medical In-Home Care Agency here are bits of information to get you started.

Get the experience you need to start your own non-medical home health aid business or research the industry carefully. If you have no experience caring for others in their home, get a job in the field first or offer to assist a family member or neighbor who may need some help. Be sure you know the difference between home care and medical home health care. Medical home health care targets those who are recovering from injuries or illness and need licensed nurses or therapists, in other words, required medical or skilled care needs. Non-medical will cover basic living support such as all activities for daily living. Basic ADLs consist of self-care tasks that include, but are not limited to:[5]

  • Bathing and showering
  • Personal hygiene and grooming (including brushing/combing/styling hair)
  • Dressing
  • Toilet hygiene (getting to the toilet, cleaning oneself, and getting back up)
  • Functional mobility, often referred to as "transferring", as measured by the ability to walk, get in and out of bed, and get into and out of a chair; the broader definition (moving from one place to another while performing activities) is useful for people with different physical abilities who are still able to get around independently.
  • Self-feeding (not including cooking or chewing and swallowing)

One way to think about basic ADLs is that they are the things many people do when they get up in the morning and get ready to go out of the house: get out of bed, go to the toilet, bathe, dress, groom, and eat.

There is a hierarchy to the ADLs:" ... the early loss function is hygiene, the mid-loss functions are toilet use and locomotion, and the late loss function is eating. When there is only one remaining area in which the person is independent, there is a 62.9% chance that it is eating and only a 3.5% chance that it is hygiene." [6]

Research your state’s regulations on home care. The health industry constantly changes and so do the rules. Obtain all licenses or permits required and implement policies and procedures for your operations. Hire a business lawyer to help make sure you conform to all local requirements. Consider hiring a consultant who can explain the rules and how they relate with your operations of your new business. Also, consider a Franchise system who have already established success.

Form a business plan. A well-written business plan will help you obtain financing, explain the demand for home care services in your area and keep your company focus in line. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses in the home health field and any new trends you intend to pursue. Include how the people you have hired around you will help in taking advantages of opportunities. Describe how you will match and excel the local competition.

Hire and train staff. First, hire people who already have the training, licenses and experience to help you get going. These key employees can help you hire other aides and have insights to get your business up and running within quality guidelines. Put a training system in place for new employees that include ongoing classes. You as the owner should also take the training you require your staff to take. Usually, even non-medical services will require employees to have CPR and first-aid certifications in most states.

All states require home health businesses to run a criminal background check on all its staff. Regulations vary, so call your local department of public health to find out how to comply with the laws in your state.

Be prepared to wear many hats as an owner of a home care agency. There are many moving parts to operating a successful agency. Seek help from those who have experience in the industry to help you avoid common pit falls.

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