Homecare is a fairly young industry, only having been around for 20 years. The challenge we face, outside of recruiting and retaining caregivers, is the sea of sameness. At the core, most homecare agencies offer comparable services when you look at them side by side.
This makes it difficult for consumers to discern which providers best fit their loved one’s needs. This same challenge also represents an opportunity for providers to specialize and focus their service offerings to appeal to specific populations and their unique needs.
Some examples of specialization in homecare include memory or dementia care, continuum of care assistance or transitional care support and technology. Let’s dive deeper into each one and explore how you can implement specialization into your homecare business.
1. Specialization in Dementia Care
There are approximately 5.8 million people in the U.S. living with dementia. That means that there are 5.8 million families in need of quality dementia care, creating a deep market need for trained and qualified homecare providers and caregivers.
In this industry, most agencies recognize that a high percentage of their clients are likely living with dementia. In terms of a homecare agency, that means so much more than just a diagnosis, it means:
- Providing caregivers with specialized dementia training and support to increase their confidence and improve the lives of the clients they care for
- Educating the public and family members about in-home care services as an option that can fulfill their loved one’s needs as well as respite care
- Recognizing the importance of person-centered care practices and care plans
We have started to see dementia care as a rapidly growing service line. That still proves true today. Specializing in dementia care will provide families with peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the highest level of quality care.
There are 53 million family caregivers across the United States, and with the progressive nature of dementia symptoms, it’s not always sustainable for a family or family member to take on caring for someone with dementia alone.
If your agency or franchise wants to specialize, dementia or memory care should be a front-and-center focus.
2. Specialization in Filling Gaps in the Continuum of Care
You’ve heard them called various names: skilled nursing facility (SNF) at home, hospital to home, acute care at home, etc. Homecare agencies have been caring for higher acuity clients each year, and those of us providing non-medical care need to work with hospitals, home health agencies and hospice agencies to fill needed gaps.
Patients at the hospital may need care more urgently or consistently than a hospital’s staff can provide. Family members may not always be available or skilled in certain areas to fill that need. One-on-one care is essential to help people manage their conditions in skilled nursing facilities, continuum-of-care retirement communities, hospitals and beyond.
For example, in early 2022, home health rejection rates were upwards of 58%. This creates a high-risk scenario for all settings of care, no matter where the patient is receiving care.
The senior living market is not quite back to business as usual, and homecare providers can play a role in facilitating the return to normalcy. Helping clients to transition from home to community, and providing one-to-one supportive care, can ensure that all clients receive care in the right place.
As much as aging in place may be the goal for many, the more important—and realistic—metric is aging in the right place. We are trusted advisors and influencers in the lives of many families, and it’s our responsibility to help them in all the ways that we can.
Referral opportunities are boundless—but only when we can fill the gaps in knowledge and education that our acute and post-acute colleagues have. Specializing in the entire continuum of care from a non-medical perspective will be the key to success for many in the future.
3. Specialization in Technology
Health care is a rapidly evolving industry, and technology has been at the center of that change. There is a case to be made for a “high-tech, high-touch approach” to homecare. As more home-based technology solutions surface, there are more opportunities to promote client safety and extend round-the-clock care.
Age tech is an increasingly popular niche for start-ups, and it’s time for us to evaluate the market and see what’s available. For example, fall prevention and detection is a huge focus in the industry and we need to take advantage. This helps us to continue what we’re doing while optimizing service offerings to better suit the needs of families.
From the agency management programs that we select, the training programs we choose, to the remote monitoring solutions we elect, these are all decisions driven by technology. Families deserve these options too, and it’s up to us to let them know that they exist.
It’s a large ask to go from having family assisting when they have a chance to visit, to a more formal homecare arrangement with a core team of caregivers. Introducing remote care technology can reduce barriers to accepting care and make the transition more seamless for all stakeholders.
Specializing in technology is one that pays off on all ends. How are you staying ahead of the curve?
The Homecare World is Your Oyster
There are boundless opportunities to specialize in various service offerings for the people in your community. Rather than just picking one and going with it, it is worth your time to conduct some initial audience research first and survey your community for needs.
Once you have a concrete idea of what your prospective clients and families are looking for, the pathway to specialization will make itself known.
Our franchise partners come from unique backgrounds, and they lean into those strengths in each of their businesses. Some specialize in working with hospitals, while others lean more heavily into working with adult clients.
Your homecare agency can lean into the strengths that you bring to the table and stand out from the competition through specialization.