As aging in place continues to be the clear preference among older adults, many home care providers are trying to go above and beyond. For some, that has meant forming unique, cross-industry partnerships that enhance their service offerings.
A recent example of this type of partnership is the one formed between Senior Helpers and security powerhouse, ADT (NYSE: ADT).
Through the partnership — announced toward the end of 2019 — Senior Helpers’ clients will have access to ADT Health’s medical alert systems. The two companies had been in talks to collaborate for a couple of years, according to Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Maryland-based Senior Helpers.
“ADT Health approached us about two and a half years ago,” Ross, who also serves as outgoing president on the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) board of directors, told Home Health Care News. “They worked with our IT teams to see if there were some opportunities to partner. We started a pilot program in a number of our corporate stores and found it to be very effective.”
Strategically, the partnership made perfect sense for Senior Helpers, as the national home care franchise company deemed it important to have the ability to make sure clients would be taken care of even when a caregiver wasn’t in the home. ADT Health’s medical alert systems now allows the company to be present during these times.
“Having home care is great when we are there, but what happens when we are not there,” Ross said. “Can we give a client’s family peace of mind, let them know that there is someone or some piece technology there to keep an eye on what’s going on? We want to provide as much 24/7 care as we can.”
In general, the home care industry has gained a reputation for being slow to embrace technology. But that label is quickly changing: 2019 saw organizations such as FirstLight Home Care, Cerna Home Care and Alliance Homecare all implement technology allowing them to extend their reach with the home.
In Senior Helpers’ case, its clients will be gaining access to two personal emergency response systems: ADT Medical Alert Plus, an in-home monitoring service that features fall detection and home temperature monitoring; and ADT On-The-Go, the mobile version that features GPS capabilities.
“They both operate in similar fashions. The way they work is there is a base station and pendant,” Andrew Droney, senior director of ADT Health, told HHCN. “The pendant is connected wirelessly to the base station and can trigger an alert that would send a signal to an agent at our monitoring center. After receiving this, the agent would make a call through the device to talk to the client and ascertain what’s going on.”
Clients may push a button to send the signal when they need help. In the case of unexpected falls, a signal will automatically be sent.
After that signal goes out, what happens next is entirely up to the client. In some cases, a signal being sent means a 911 call; for others, it means contacting Senior Helpers.
“We allow [seniors] to customize, to some extent, how they would like a response to happen,” Droney said. “We like to include the Senior Helpers caregiver on the call list. The first thing we do if there is an emergency is to try to contact the clients through the unit. If we don’t get a response, we call the home. And after that, we dispatch emergency services.”
Both Senior Helpers and ADT Health are companies with expansive footprints across the U.S. That scale helped when it came to working with individual franchisees and implementing the program in clients’ homes, according to Droney.
“Since we have such a wide range of offices around the country, we have a team of account executives that cover the entire nation,” he said. “Once we got on board with Senior Helpers, we approached the franchisees and did presentations on the benefits of the system. Once they signed on, we went out and gave their teams a full training.”
As the home care industry settles into 2020, it won’t be uncommon for providers to strike up similar partnerships that aim to improve upon services being delivered. Partnerships that meld in-person care with remote monitoring will be especially prominent, as many companies still struggle with attracting and retaining sufficient workers.
Senior Helpers sees its partnership with ADT as just the beginning. It certainly won’t be the last innovative partnership Senior Helpers announces during the next few quarters, according to Ross.
“We are looking at all types of technology,” he said. “Not just response systems, but also sensors and other fall detection or prevention [tools]. We’re also testing hospital-at-home technology. We are trying to do all we can keep our clients out of hospitals and are looking for technology to supplement that. ADT is a step in the right direction.”
Ross noting that Senior Helpers is looking into hospital-at-home technology isn’t too surprising. Many organizations actively pursued hospital-at-home opportunities in 2019, a trend likely to continue this year as well.