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Home Care Expert Insights

In Conversation with Tim Murray to Bring His Insights on the Right Approach to Home Care

Home care is all about personalization and open communication. Firstly, assess the specific needs of your loved one. It includes daily activities like bathing or dressing, medical requirements, and emotional well-being.

Consider their preferences – would they prefer a helping hand or companionship? Once you understand their needs, research different options. Can you manage care yourself, or would a home care agency be a better fit?

Also, communication is the key. Talk openly with your loved one about their desires and concerns. If using an agency, ensure clear communication between you, the agency, and the caregiver.

Further, regular evaluations are crucial to ensure the care plan adapts to changing needs and preferences. After all, quality home care is one that allows your loved one to thrive in a familiar environment while giving you peace of mind.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring his perspective on the right approach to home care.

Expert QA session with Tim Murray

Who Did We Interview?

Tim Murray is the co-founder of CINCH CCM, a software-as-a-service product enabling home care agencies to provide high-quality, efficient, and profitable home care services in independent living communities where residents have very short visits. The low-cost technology solution provides the documentation to maintain compliance with state regulations and for Medicaid, Medicare, and VA and long-term care insurance reimbursement.

Tim is also the executive chairman of the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina.

Let us now delve into what he has to say about the right approach to home care:

Question 1: What inspired you to become a home care advisor?

My wife and I have been home care agency owners from 2014 to 2020 – it was called Aware Senior Care. It was a private agency, but now, it is part of TheKey family of home care agencies.

My wife has a significant background in senior care skilled nursing, and I have a technology background, and we always wanted to work together. So, we formed Aware Senior Care.

By the time we exited, we were acquired by what is now called TheKey. We had 15 full-time employees and 150 caregivers and were the most reputable, awarded agency here in the Raleigh-Cary cities of North Carolina.

Along the way, we developed a technology we call CINCH CCM® (Community Care Management), which we built while we were agency owners. We launched CINCH in April 2020, managing over 150 clients across four large independent living communities.

When we exited, we maintained the IP. At first, we formed a consulting company called TeamElderCare Consulting, LLC, because we wanted to give back and help home care agency owners. But along the way, we realized the tremendous impact CINCH was having on our early adopter customers. So, we decided to invest and market CINCH to home care agencies struggling to operate short-visit home care in communities.

Question 2: How to assess a senior’s needs to ensure they receive the most appropriate home care services?

You should strive to get the big picture or holistic view of the senior when assessing them. You will walk through the typical, comprehensive assessment that seniors go through to understand the environment a senior’s living in—Is it a safe environment? What is their physical and mental condition?

Generally, individuals with a form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s may say one thing or say they don’t need help, but the reality is they really do.

Part of the holistic view when you assess a senior’s needs is talking to family, and that is very important. I saw the transition in my personal experience, with my mother (who had dementia) making the journey from her home into independent living and eventually, a skilled nursing home.

And both of us had an opinion about her care. So, when we did assessments at Aware Senior Care, we looked at the big picture and got a family perspective of that need, and with their input, we formed a care plan as a care team.

The goal is to develop a care plan that does not seem like you are telling them, you are suggesting. By suggesting and involving family, you build trust.

Question 3: What resources and support groups are available for families caring for someone with dementia?

I am the current executive chair of the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina. The Alliance is a great resource to families of individuals with dementia and the individuals with a form of dementia. One of our missions is to bring awareness about the Dementia Alliance of NC and we are here to help.

The Dementia Alliance has navigators, so when someone calls, the navigator understands where they are in their dementia journey, listens, and recommends resources that can help. Part of what the Alliance does is research, but we also have support groups throughout the State of North Carolina. There are ambassadors we have trained throughout the state for families’ needs. The Alliance also knows great home care agencies that can come in and provide care.

Besides navigators, we have formed a circle of support. We know other great people in the area who can help, such as aging life care professionals with home care, estate planning, financial planning, etc. The Alliance meets families where they are and helps them from there on.

Question 4: How must caregiver qualifications and experience be matched with the older adults’ needs to ensure they are a good fit to deliver the best care?

For home care agencies, it is one of the hardest things to do. There is nothing more important than hiring caregivers with a great heart and matching them with seniors.

Honestly, our Aware staff and our scheduling team have that special gift; we talk about what we look for in a great caregiver and what are the characteristics of a great caregiver, and then when it comes time to match them, we have an uncanny ability to meet that senior, that family, and find a perfect fit for them.

We put the caregivers through extensive training. There is an old saying; You can teach skills but can’t teach heart. We look for that heart in our interview process and put heart at a premium. We can teach the skills from there.

We had a very sophisticated training process when recruiting, there was a specific set of questions we’d ask.

But more than that, we were adept at finding caregivers with the heart, and the passion to do their work. Even in a phone conversation, we can gauge it.

Then, the orientation is the final cut. We would get them in the room, see how they behave, gauge the dynamic, and see how they react because we are looking for a team.

Today, we have more automated AI HR systems. With AI, you can specify the characteristics of the senior and match it with a list of caregivers that have the attributes of what the senior needs. AI has tremendous potential to cut down manual work and raise the percentage of a great caregiver to client match.

Question 5: What advice would you give someone looking to enter the home care field?

There are a couple of things: running a home care agency is not a corporate 9-5 job. If you are getting into it, prepare yourself for a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, 365 business.

Take a “leadership by example” approach. You don’t have to do everything yourself but it’s amazing the positive impact it can have with your agency by doing what you are asking them to do. You will find that the agency will take on your personality. So, be upbeat, positive, and be clear on your expectations.

Your goal over time should be to strive to be a managed business; one that runs itself, where everybody knows their roles and responsibilities, and you do not need to tell your staff what to do.

And one final thing and I think it’s the most important rule – Strive to achieve buy-in from your employees. Avoid, if possible, telling people what to do without any explanation. Show respect, explain things to them.

Give them a chance to give you feedback. They will appreciate that you told them the ‘why’ behind an action.

Great agencies make employees feel appreciated and respected. It’s not about gift cards and salary raises. A simple “thank you” from the heart when it’s not expected, or a handwritten card will mean more to them and will motivate them to represent themselves and the agency to the best of their abilities.

Conclusion

Tim Murray, a home care industry expert, emphasizes tailoring care to seniors’ needs and preferences. It includes assessing their physical and mental state, living environment, and emotional well-being.

Further, family input is crucial to understanding the senior’s perspective, especially for those with dementia.

Matching caregivers with compatible personalities and skill sets is essential for quality care. AI can assist in this process, but genuine compassion is irreplaceable.

Lastly, Tim reiterates that home care is demanding, and requires dedication, clear communication, and a commitment to building a strong team.

Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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