A Spotlight on International Domiciliary Care Models – Part 2

COUNTRY PROFILE: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Honor: The Marketplace model of Home Care.

Home care hasn’t been forgotten by Silicon Valley or the mobile markets. The most popular business trend of the mobile era is the marketplace model that accords with supply and demand. Honor is the new marketplace model of care with investments of over 20 million dollars received so far. Successful marketplace models like Uber have been a great inspiration for other industries. For those who don’t know what Uber is , Uber Technologies Inc. is an American international transportation network company. The company develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. Honor can be seen as the uber of home care, when you want a carer, you select who you want and voila a care pro at your door. Honor gives seniors what the startup calls an Honor Frame, care recipients use a tablet device which lets them know who the caregiver is and when he or she is arriving. Caregivers are screened and matched to seniors based on their experience and expertise, families are shown who is taking care of their family and what care duties have been done, letting you know also, how long the care visit took. One-hour visits start at $25 dollars per hour with no contracts.

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from Honor’s website

This idea stemmed from Honor’s CEO and co-founder Seth Sternberg and his experience when his own mother began to enter old age. Sternberg felt that the care industry was not providing a reassuring service, as he was at a great distance, thus taking matters into his own hands, he created Honor. He mirrored Ubers framework, so that he could also have be a present force in his mother’s care and know that technology could aid in any lack of transparency & miscommunication. “I could never trust my mother to the current state of the industry,” Sternberg, who lives across the country from his mother, told Business Insider. “If I wanted to set up in-home care for my mom right now, I’d have to fly to Connecticut, interview 20 home-care providers, pick the one I thought was best, and then fly back to California, and I’d have no idea how my mom was going.” “We are working to completely modernize in-home care for seniors,” says Seth Sternberg. “Our goal is to keep our parents in their homes for as long as we possibly can.” Keeping seniors in their homes is something that will become more and more of a norm with advances in technology and medical information. As we are living longer due to these advances and also because we have gained more independence and have access to more knowledge since the internet plays such a central role in our lives, we are faced with the concept of maintaining this independence until our later years.

Why is this such a challenge?

It’s due to the enormity and complexity of the home care landscape in the US. The home care industry in the US, employs 1.5 million workers who do a range of services; help seniors get out of bed, take a shower, fix a meal or make sure they take their medications etc. There are 50,000 home care agencies in the U.S and many of these employ carers as independent contractors, with a forecast of 600,000 being expected to join their ranks in the next ten years. These workers on average earn $9.50 an hour, far less than house cleaners or babysitters. They tend to work part time and have little control over their schedules. More than half rely on some kind of government assistance. It’s no wonder that turnover is immense and quality of care is poor. It’s a state of affairs that puts tremendous stress on millions of families and that ultimately results in seniors ending up in health care facilities or nursing homes prematurely. With the population of Americans over 65 expected to nearly double to 84 million between now and 2050, the challenge will only grow.

Honor is just getting off it’s feet in the United States but we can extract some crucial points from their rhetoric and apply them to our everyday home care practices here: – Strive to keep loved ones in their homes and maintain as much independence as possible. – Have real time information to promote understanding and transparency in the care process. – Remove physical barriers such as proximity by having all information right in front of us. – Understand that technology is becoming central to the field of care.

Conclusion

Honor, like Buurtzorg, is just another example of the way the landscape of the home care industry can and indeed is changing. It is an ambitious aim of Honor to change home care completely by creating such a marketplace model but it’s also interesting to see how technology has also become such a central practice to home care, with real time information and tracking, families feel more secure in the care that is being provided to their loved one. What is also a central element, just like that of Buurtzorg is the quality of care being provided. Honor’s selective hiring process of care pros is a core element of their business model, hiring the best care pros and paying them a good wage ensures good care practices, staff empowerment and has an all round benefit for employees and clients alike.

Exciting times are ahead!

For more information visit https://www.joinhonor.com/

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References

http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/mar/05/vicious-circle-homecare-care-work?CMP=share_btn_t

http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/02/an-ex-googler-is-launching-an-in-home-care-startup-called-honor-and-raised-20-million/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/miguelhelft/2015/04/02/how-the-tech-elite-plans-to-reinvent-senior-care/

http://uk.businessinsider.com/honor-launches-and-raises-20-million-to-help-seniors-stay-in-their-homes-2015-4?r=US&IR=T

Laloux; Frederic: REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS :A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness. (2014) Nelson Parker.