Education and training for in-home care providers is an ongoing process, and can be considered as one of the driving forces in combatting the industry’s talent turnover issues.
“Learning happens over a period of time; it can’t be a one-stop methodology,” Helen Adeosun, cofounder and CEO of Boston-based CareAcademy, an online training resource for home health care professionals, told Home Health Care News.
Driven by this motive, Adeosun and CareAcademy recently sought out seed funding to further develop its online training portfolio, ultimately raising $1.675 million, and catching the attention of big names in the education sector as its primary investors, including Rethink Education, Lumina Foundation and Techstars Venture Capital Fund.
“The fundraising was [centered] around thinking not only about the capital resources necessary for CareAcademy to carry out this larger vision of training the next generation in the workforce, [but] was also thinking about who could bring some of the strategic alliances and the focus that we’re looking at for our next period of growth,” said Adeosun.
For Adeosun, home care is all about relationship building, and it was through fostering CareAcademy’s relationship with current investors that the company was able to get their buy in.
“I think the biggest thing was building relationships with people who shared our vision,” said Adeosun.
Founded in 2016, CareAcademy currently services roughly 50 home care agencies—including Home Instead Senior Care, CareLinx, Grace Homecare, and Guardian—with its online educational and training platform. More than 9,700 home care professionals are currently enrolled in CareAcademy courses.
The classes are “bite-sized,” typically lasting an hour to an hour and forty-five minutes, according to Adeosun, and cover a range of topics, including infection control, nutrition and meal preparation, dementia, fall prevention and safe patient transfers.
CareAcademy performs a review and updates its curriculum quarterly. The newly acquired funding will not only help in performing these regular updates, but help the company expand its curriculum in several aspects.
“We want to learn and improve over the next year and be able to provide more classes, and also learn the technological best ways of being able to involve caregivers,” said Adeosun.
For CareAcademy, this approach involves better language accommodations, as the company has realized the strong immigrant talent that drives the workforce. A portion of the funding will be allocated in developing a Spanish version of the curriculum.
“A lot of what I’ve encountered … are very rough translations of English to Spanish,” said Adeosun of the current materials available in the industry. “One of the things you learn about being a caregiver is that caregiving, even in English, has its own particular set of vocabulary, whether it’s medical, or whether it’s informal. Then, you have this other complexity of regional versions of Spanish … Thinking about all those complexities, we want to be very thoughtful about how we build Spanish language content.”
The company is also taking the same approach when it comes to developing a more mobile-friendly version of its educational materials, realizing the growing trend among users.
“We’ve seen a lot of technologies that service caregivers but haven’t grown to caregivers’ needs,” said Adeosun. “We are looking at building better mobile-first experiences for caregivers, knowing that more and more of our caregivers are using our content over their mobile phones and over mobile platforms.”
As the company embarks on developing its educational platform and growing its operating team, CareAcademy is still focused on being a trusted resource to not only help professionals in refining their current skillset, but to also help them advance in their careers.
“For us, it’s building out a portfolio of classes that enable caregivers and agencies to tap into us as an immediate resource to fulfill their most pressing needs, and then over time be also able to upskill caregivers and get them into great lines of work,” said Adeosun.
Written by Carlo Calma