As the majority of older adults wish to age in place, senior living providers are weighing their options when it comes to providing in-home care services in addition to assisted and independent living. One provider with a 60-year history of operating a nursing home, then moving into assisted living, is now adding home care and adult day care to its offerings for seniors.
Van Dyk Health Care, headquartered in Ridgewood, New Jersey, has been providing care since the early 1950s led by a prominent figure in the industry who is a former chairman for the American Health Care Association (AHCA). Now, Van Dyk has two nursing and post-acute facilities, an assisted living community, a recently-established home care company At Home With Van Dyk, and a soon-to-open memory day care center.
Even with talks of the Affordable Care Act being repealed and replaced by the new administration, Van Dyk is not being deterred.
“We started realizing we had to make changes about eight years ago when that Affordable Care Act was being discussed and approved,” Bob Van Dyk, president and CEO of Van Dyk Health Care, told Senior Housing News. “As a former chairman for AHCA, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Washington and watch how the ACA was being developed. I was able to get a better understanding about how the regulations were being formed and where the needs would be down the road.”
Natural Progression Into Home Care
Before jumping head-first into in-home care, Van Dyk utilized outside agencies, but quickly realized a greater need for those services coming with the younger generation.
“We added home care because we felt it was the next step. Our length of stays were getting shorter in post-acute,” Bob said. “We’ve used a lot of [outside] companies over the years, but were having complaints from staff and families about them. They weren’t meeting our standards so we decided to do it ourselves.”
Establishing At Home With Van Dyk also added a level of continuity for the families, which they need in their lives especially when dealing with difficult situations at times, he added.
The new program serves Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties in New Jersey, and focuses on safety and strives to provide a safer environment for patients in their homes. One way the company is doing this is by sending a caregiver into the home to evaluate the environment at the start of an episode of care.
“The industry is growing fast and when things are growing fast, there are not always the right people entering into it for the right reasons,” Van Dyk explained to SHN. “There are so many franchises out there [that] are advertised as the next great investment opportunity, but I’m concerned people are focusing on that too much.”
Though, home care does seem to be working out financially for At Home With Van Dyk. Within three months of the roll out, the company broke even.
Adult Day Care With a Twist
Since At Home With Van Dyk has taken off, Bob Van Dyk has taken on another project to build an adult day center specifically for those people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
“There are other daycares out there and they’re great, but with our memory care populations, their socialization skills are different,” said Van Dyk. “Another focus of the program will be on the caregiver who is at home with their loved one.”
There will be a comprehensive intake process for newcomers and their caregiver that will include finding out things like the greatest challenges the caregiver is having with their loved one, or what’s causing them the greatest stress at home. These two things could be one in the same, Van Dyk added.
However, knowing what the caregiver is going through on a daily basis will help the care staff at the day center tailor each person’s plan. From working with those who come to the day center, the care staff will put together a personalized plan to give to the caregiver every few weeks.
The plans are designed to not only help those with memory impairments, but also teach the caregiver at home how to handle certain situations to decrease stress.
“That is what the missing piece is. Caregivers can have some time away but by dinner they are back with the person, and sometimes night time can be the worst for those with memory impairments,” he said. “We want to help the caregivers better understand the disease and educate them on the resources available to them, so when they are home with their loved ones they can enjoy the time together.”
The first memory care day center is anticipated to open on June 1st this year and will have room for 15 to 20 people per day. And if it is a success, there is the possibility of opening more, Van Dyk added.
“We’ve been caring for the elderly for 53 years, this all just seems like a natural progression,” he said. “People expect a certain level of care from us and we want to exceed those expectations.”
Written by Alana Stramowski