How Personalized Health Care Is Changing The Role Of Home Care Providers

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Personal home care providers have begun to ditch blanket approaches, instead opting for more patient-by-patient specificity.

Going further to meet individual client needs enables home care to make a greater impact, while also increasing client satisfaction.

“One of my favorite geriatricians once said, ‘If you’ve seen one senior patient, you’ve seen one senior patient,’” Senior Helpers CEO Peter Ross told Home Health Care News. “It’s really important that we customize the care plans for each of the individuals, because everybody has a different situation they’re dealing with.”


Personalized home care

Patient-centric care is not a new idea. However, it may look different these days in comparison to a decade ago when technological advancements weren’t there yet in the home care industry.

Today, providers like the Maryland-based Senior Helpers are tailoring their service offerings with a more personalized philosophy using apps and other data-centric tools.

Senior Helpers is a home care company that operates over 380 franchise locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. It’s one of the largest franchise companies in the home care space and was recently bought by Waud Capital.


A few years back, Senior Helpers launched its Life Profile assessment tool, an app that uses 20 years of data to assess the individualized needs of a senior.

“It’s an app we use with the family that provides a score — almost like a fuel gauge — and that score will basically dictate the chance of that person being readmitted into a hospital,” Ross said. “We’ve done almost 30,000 assessments with this tool and have learned we can create customized care plans while leveraging our care management, our care services, as well as our technology, to provide the best level of care.”

Advocate Health – Senior Helpers former owner – and the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) have been strong advocates for the app.

“It’s something that’s very unique to Senior Helpers. There’s nothing like it out there in the marketplace,” Ross said. “It truly gives us a leg up on creating a customized care plan that goes right into our software center and allows the caregiver to understand exactly what we need to do for any given member.”

Technology, Ross added, has taken a lot longer to take hold in the home care industry than it should have. Now that seniors are getting more comfortable with wearables and smartphones, that allows providers the ability to leverage that technology to curate a more personalized care plan.

Curating a person-centered care plan

Every person’s care needs are different. With that in mind, a person-centered care plan is often based on an individual’s group of needs.

For many providers, compiling an exhaustive list of needs has become part of the home care process.

“With a common patient panel with diabetes or COPD, treatment is tailored uniquely to those characteristics or demographics,” Home Assist Health CEO Sara Wilson told HHCN. “We also look at a lot of interventions that target social determinants of health based on where somebody lives. Considerations such as food deserts, transportation, environmental surroundings — I would liken it more to a thumbprint versus a blueprint.”

There are so many factors that play into our general health, Wilson said, that it would be insufficient not to take all of it into consideration.

Educational limitations, literacy issues, language barriers are all lifestyle factors that mean more to an overall care plan than most would think.

Creating individualized care plans also creates buy-in from the members and patients.

“We ask, ‘What’s going to get you motivated to control your health?’” Wilson said. “Once a member identifies their wishes and aspirations, then you have buy-in. Now you get a client or patient who’s more motivated to participate in healthy habits.”

Another tactic Home Assist Health and its caregivers use is something called motivational interviewing.

“There are so many factors that you can’t simply resolve with a food pharmacy,” Wilson said. “In home care, sometimes we are the best entity to get into the home, listen to understand and build those authentic relationships using motivational interviewing to understand what does this person ultimately want out of their life. How are we going to use that one wish for themselves to be what motivates them to take control over their current health status?”

Moving care forward

In order to properly assess a home care client, there has to be a foundation built on trust and good data. Sometimes the first part of that equation is even harder to build.

“Our clients often exaggerate their abilities,” Griswold Home Care CEO Michael Slupecki told HHCN. “They understate their challenges. By having something like a wearable or other technology in the home when we’re not there, you can get a baseline for how folks are actually doing today versus last week. It allows us to address issues in a more personalized way.”

With more than 160 locations, the Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based Griswold provides home care services in 30 states.

Slupecki has thought about the intersection of home care and home health a lot over the last few years. His experience as the former COO of Interim Healthcare has given him a unique perspective in how to better personalize home care.

“Today, I would say about 90% of the industry still does what it was doing 30 years ago,” Slupecki said. “That is assisting a person with activities of daily living. Which isn’t a bad thing. What we’re trying to do is be a little bit in between traditional home care with the intent of actually addressing the social determinants and all these other factors that we’ve now realized have a big impact on people’s health.”

One example at Griswold is the addition of virtual nurse visits.

After a traditional home care assessment, clients with Griswold will then meet virtually with a nurse to set up a clinical assessment.

“Depending on the client’s needs and chronic conditions, this nurse can deploy cuffs, scales, and odometers at virtually no cost to the client,” Slupecki said. “We’ve had interventions with these virtual nurses who may notice somebody’s blood sugar has gotten out of control. Those nurses will then tell a family member or a primary care physician who then mitigate likely disasters.”

The future of a more personalized home care environment is tied to innovative technology, a well-rounded caregiver support system and strategic partnerships with a shared vision.

“It’s all about collaboration,” Ross said. “It’s all about working with health care providers that continue to make adjustments and improvements to the care management and care coordination for these members.”

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