Home and adult day care franchise company Senior Helpers prides itself on being ahead of the curve when it comes to creating competitive advantages. The next notch on that belt is its innovative “centers for caregiver excellence.”
Senior Helpers just opened its newest centers for caregiver excellence at one of its corporate store locations in Des Plaines, Illinois — and Home Health Care News was there for the housewarming.
No stranger to innovative approaches, Baltimore-based Senior Helpers launched its Town Square adult day franchising model in 2018 with the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Center. In 2019, it partnered with ADT (NYSE: ADT), one of the larger security companies in the United States, to increase patient visibility.
Now, at the beginning of 2020, it’s hoping to extend its caregiver training model to locations across the country.
Senior Helpers is a home care franchiser backed by Altaris Capital. It has more than 320 locations in its franchise network, spanning 43 states and three different countries.
Broadly, the caregiver training centers are a model of a typical apartment where a senior would be residing. The apartment model — which includes a living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom — is also outfitted with potential hazards that could surface in real-life situations.
Examples could include a broken tile in the kitchen or a loose surface rug in a hallways.
As for return on investment, the centers are used to both test caregivers’ knowledge and train them. An entry-level employee can receive a more comprehensive, complete training session, for instance, while an experienced employee can learn a few news tricks of the trade from their peers.
A benefit of the center, which is now in operation at the Des Plaines location near Chicago, is its ability to create a learning environment without the pressure.
Teaching new skills in the home with a patient present can be embarrassing for the caregivers and a less effective learning experience. In a more comfortable setting, caregivers are free to ask questions and learn more effectively from their mistakes.
For all of those reasons, the training center gives Senior Helpers an edge in the region when it comes to recruiting, Nick Rubel, an area general manager at Senior Helpers, told HHCN during an in-person interview earlier this month.
“This is an effort by the Senior Helpers corporate team to accomplish a couple of things,” Rubel said. “It gives our location the opportunity to reach deeper into the caregiver community, to be able to onboard new caregivers with some training that will give them confidence to begin in the position, and to take caregivers who have entry level experience and train them up to the next level as well.”
Senior Helpers believes those abilities will give its franchisees additional leverage in the caregiver community. The rollout process also gives the company a chance to perfect the program before widely distributing it to franchisees nationwide.
“It gives us the opportunity to really perfect the model,” Rubel said. “At some point, we’ll be able to deliver a curriculum and the best practices for all of our franchise locations to be able to model after this template.”
Other examples of hazards presented within the mock apartment range from safety issues in the shower to fake fruit — which dementia patients could mistake for real fruit — on the living room table. The training center is also equipped with a Hoyer lift, where caregivers can learn the best practices for using the tool.
Another ancillary benefit is the uniting of caregivers with their agency, something that gets lost due to the nature of employment in the home-based care industry. The training facility connects the office workers with the caregivers, who are usually traveling from home to home.
And it also connects the caregivers with each other.
“There are a lot of other agencies out there making a sincere effort to train, but not to the depth or the extent of this apartment, at least from what I’ve seen,” Rubel said.