Cantata Clients, Caregivers Reaping Benefits of Innovative ‘Care-Sharing’ Home Care Model

Over the years, the idea that “less is more” has been the driving factor for Cantata Adult Life Services’ Take2 care-sharing model. The company has been able to thrive by innovating its home care model and offering its clients a unique service.

Cantata — formerly The British Home For Retired Men And Women — has been around since the 1920s, but the company made its first move into the home care business in 1999.

Now, Cantata provides hourly non-medical care that includes personal care, companionship, transportation, nutritional services and housekeeping to over 600 clients annually.

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Like most companies in the home care industry, Cantata has not been immune to the impact of the caregiver workforce shortage. But instead of perceiving the worker shortage as a roadblock, Cantata has used the circumstances to evolve. 

“We knew we needed to innovate,” John Larson, CEO of Cantata, told Home Health Care News. “Then I started looking at what innovation really meant and decided that we had a lot of work to do. Innovation can be the key to surviving in uncertain times.”

For Cantata, innovation came in the form of the company’s Take2 home care service. The Take2 model groups individual communities into care-sharing neighborhoods, with caregivers assigned that neighborhood and responsible for multiple clients on a per-need basis.

Among the benefits of Cantata’s Take2 model: Visits are typically shorter and more task-orientated than traditional home care.

The Brookfield, Illinois-based Cantata currently operates in the west suburbs of Chicago, as well as in Champaign and Urbana.

Apart from Take2, Cantata functions as an all-around adult life services company, complete with independent living campuses and skilled-nursing offerings. In total, Cantata employs roughly 500 people.

The company’s home care division — including Take2 — employs more than 50 people.

While it has Take2, Cantata still operates a traditional private-duty home care business at the same time. But the addition of Take2 opened the door for clients who wanted a more flexible option and needed less care — and more privacy and independence. 

“Our market was showing us and telling us that they wanted a more value-based situation,” Larson said. “Most traditional models charge for a 12-hour caregiver. We were able to much more affordably provide care, thinking of it in more of a sharing model than an hourly model.”

Typically, Cantata clients are priced for traditional home care services first. If they seem like they would be a better fit for Take2, that model is then presented as an option.

Generally, clients that move to Take2 pay anywhere between 20% to 60% less than the cost of the company’s traditional home care services.

Operating under the Take2 model has been good for clients and caregivers alike. Since the model’s launch, Cantata has been able to achieve a more stable workforce, according to Larson.

“On the employee side, you get a much more consistent work schedule,” he said. “You clock in and out of your shift, and if one of the clients happens to cancel services, the employee doesn’t lose their job. [Take2] allows us to pay the employee more, as well as offer them full-time benefits.”

As a company, Cantata has seen positive results to its overall margins due to the Take2 side of the business, according to Larson.

“We are able to more cost-effectively push the business out,” he said. “We don’t have to hire anywhere near as many employees. We are hiring an employee maybe every couple of months at most, whereas on the other side of the business we are hiring anytime we can.”

That said, as a relatively newer model, Take2 still has its growing pains. Take2 was originally piloted in 2014 and officially rolled out on a wider scale in 2016.

“When you are changing the way things have been run for decades, it’s hard to get past some of the old habits that still exist,” Larson said. “You have to understand and work through logistics. In a traditional model, once your caregiver gets to the home they’re generally there for 8 to 12 hours — even all day — and there are no logistics of moving them around.”

In other words: Take2 caregivers are constantly on the move, and the company has had to develop systems to make sure that operations are running smoothly.

Looking ahead, Cantata is helping other companies adopt the care-sharing model within those businesses.

“We’ve had quite a few organizations that are interested in the model,” Larson said. “We’ve had many people learn about the model and go on ride-alongs with our staff. A few that we are working with have adopted it.”

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