HouseWorks Acquires Extended Family, Eyes 2020 Expansion Push

When the year began, Massachusetts-based HouseWorks was expanding farther south. As 2019 comes to a close, it’s now expanding farther north.

After moving into the Philadelphia market in January by acquiring Caring Friends Home Care, the innovative, in-home care company HouseWorks made its next move by acquiring Extended Family, which moved it into New Hampshire and southern Maine. HouseWorks announced the Extended Family acquisition on Wednesday.

HouseWorks has operated in the Boston area for over 20 years. That market experience gives it an advantage heading into acquisitions, founder and CEO Andrea Cohen told Home Health Care News.

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“Our vision is to acquire companies and leverage our experiences to strengthen the businesses that we acquire,” Cohen said. “Even though we’ve been operating for as long as we have, I feel like there’s [also] a lot that we can learn from every acquisition because everybody does it a little differently.”

Backed by health care investor RAB Ventures LLC, HouseWorks was encouraged by the seamlessness of the Caring Friends Home Care acquisition, which it felt prepared the company to move onto the next one.

“[Caring Friends Home Care] had a really good year, and it was just a confidence builder for us to know that the first one that we did went as well as it did,” Cohen said.

HouseWorks has generated about $20 million in revenue in 2019, according to the CEO.

It plans to continue its expansion push in 2020. HouseWorks will most likely make at least two more acquisitions next year, Cohen said. As of now, the geographical prospects remain on the East Coast. But filling in some of the gaps between its current locations — Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and then down to Pennsylvania — could be a logical next step for expansion.

CEO eyes new services

Geographic expansion along with driving new products are two of HouseWorks’ biggest goals in the new year.

In 2019, it launched a dementia program centered around personalized plans and specially trained employees. All of the HouseWorks case managers are certified dementia practitioners, and nearly all its caregivers are trained in building relationships with dementia patients.

What’s unique about HouseWorks is its emphasis on both home care and home safety. In addition to taking care of patients in the home, it provides resources to create a safer environment within that home. That may look like creating wider doorways or installing ramps and elevators.

“We want to really integrate our home safety and fall prevention program with our home care offerings,” Cohen said. “Because we feel that it’s really important that people not only get the care that they need, but also an environment that supports them — that’s really important.”

Another program that HouseWorks is bullish on is its tablet pilot. The company has begun introducing tablets into patients’ homes and customizing them for the patients. That’s something Cohen thinks they’ll continue to improve on in the next year.

Data is critically important to the success of the tablet program, so HouseWorks is equally passionate about exploring the data to help their decisionmaking when it comes to patient help.

But even more ambitious, product-wise, is HouseWorks’ vision to build a tech-enabled service delivery engine, where all the data sources connect.

“That would be something,” Cohen said. “Because we want to make sure that we have one dashboard, so that when we’re starting to offer remote monitoring and we’re looking at people’s care plans and we’re doing interesting things, that we can connect everything.”

That technology, and the tablet technology, are things HouseWorks is currently discussing with its technology partners. Those partners include eCaring, ClearCare and others.

One of the major benefits to the tablet program was caregiver engagement, Cohen said. Houseworks implemented them with easy access to online tools and training for caregivers in mind.

“They love it, it engages them and makes it feel like they’re more a part of the plan,” Cohen said. “We’re really looking for ways to create a work environment for our caregivers that really engages them and retains them.”

Regardless of whether or not everything goes according to plan for HouseWorks, the further expansion and product development aspirations suggest its in for an eventful and busy next year.

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