As vice president of Assisting Hands® Home Care, Gail Stout knows how important quality care is for seniors. She is part of a leadership team described as second to none in the industry. For the past 15 years, the brand has provided exceptional customer service and personalized care, which Stout believes results from the company culture. By Nancy E. Williams
As vice president of Assisting Hands® Home Care, Gail Stout knows how important quality care is for seniors. She is part of a leadership team described as second to none in the industry. For the past 15 years, the brand has provided exceptional customer service and personalized care, which Stout believes results from the company culture.
“The biggest thing is that we have a family culture. This permeates throughout the whole franchise system. When selecting our owners, we look to see if they can deliver a level of care as if the client was their own mother,” Stout said.
“As we onboard and take new owners through training, we emphasize the importance of choosing the best quality caregivers a family could ever have,” Stout said, explaining that Assisting Hands helps develop caregivers, utilizing skills testing, training, and supervised visits.
“We consider compassion and dependability as the foundation of quality senior care and train our owners on exactly what that looks like. In turn, we expect owners to relay that to the caregivers they are hiring so they can have the peace of mind they deserve as they grow their businesses,” Stout said.
Assisting Hands puts those practices in place through caregiver training modules as well as competency skills. “At the time of training, caregivers repeatedly hear throughout the courses that compassion and dependability are foremost,” Stout said. Caregivers also learn how essential they are to their clients, she said, explaining that the caregiver might be the only person a client might see face-to-face all week. “If an appointment is at 9 a.m., the client has most likely been waiting for the caregiver to get there since 8 a.m.”
But culture and training are just pieces of the entire puzzle. Stout said her team members take great pride in how they evaluate candidates and the complete onboarding process. “A lot of franchise systems look for the same qualities in order to gauge what would make a good owner. However, we take the extra step to get to know who candidates are – this starts at the sales process. Who are they? What are they looking to achieve? And what are their strengths?”
As with all good franchise systems, call validations with existing owners are critical. “That’s where we shine,” Stout said. “Every candidate comes back to us saying that there was not a single negative review.”
Discovery Day gives candidates and Assisting Hands team members an opportunity to get to know each other face-to-face. Lane Kofoed, president and CEO of Assisting Hands, invites candidates out a day early and hosts them at his ranch to meet his family and share an amazing meal provided by his wife. “This allows candidates to experience our culture right from the beginning. After Discovery Day, it’s really about us choosing them – we need to know if they will fit.”
All of the work and preparation done to select the right owners and train caregivers helped Assisting Hands through all of the challenges brought on by the pandemic. “We knew from the beginning, first and foremost, that we had to learn as much as possible so that we could distribute as much accurate information as possible,” Stout said. The company also proactively provided personal protective equipment to make sure owners wouldn’t have to scramble for it.
Senior care has long been considered recession- proof, but it is now proven to be pandemic-proof. “We grew during the pandemic because families were pulling loved ones out of assisted living facilities due to the high number of cases concentrated there. Families liked having one person treating their family member, rather than groups of caregivers that change shift to shift,” Stout said.
Assisting Hands continues to adjust and implement new programs in response to lessons learned during the pandemic.
“We’ve recently created a new program called ENSURECheck™. We recognized that sometimes just checking in with a client via a simple phone call can reveal concerns. We’re trained to pick up on signs of isolation that a family member may miss. Often, a senior will share information with the caregiver that they hide from loved ones.”
To learn more about Assisting Hands, visit assistinghands.com/franchise.
– Nancy E. Williams