Starting a Personal Care Home

Personal Care Homes, also called Assisted Living Facilities, are residential homes or apartments for senior citizens or individuals with intellectual disabilities, cognitive disabilities or “mental retardation”. These Personal Care Homes are designed to provide shelter, 3 nutritious meals a day, laundry services, hygiene assistance, ADL’s, and transportation. Some offer activities like arts and crafts, exercise, church services, outdoor trips, movie night, etc.

Personal Care Homes are often recommended to Senior Citizens by their children, physicians, family members, social workers, hospital discharge planners, or themselves. Most seniors who are having difficulty staying home alone are ideal candidates for this program. Some find that they are falling more and becoming a danger to themselves. Others might find that they are forgetful, confused or disoriented at times. Still others desire the social interaction with their peers in a safe, clean, and loving environment.

Nowadays, adult children are unable to care for their aging parents due to their own busy schedules, lack of financial resources, or due to the long distance that separates them from their parents. Personal Care Homes offer a great alternative to living without their own family. In some states like Georgia, a Personal Care Home can have as few as 6 residents in the home which offer much more one on one interaction and care. Most of the residents have their own room in which they can bring personal touches from home such as pictures for the wall, curtains, bed linens, toiletries, and some small furniture.

Residential services to those with “mental retardation” or more appropriately, “developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities” are a great option for those adults, ages 19 and over, who desire to live alone or whose family is ready for them to make a transition to more independence. Although, living in a Personal Care Home is not living alone, it offers support and guidance to those who have always lived with a family member or in an institution for many years. It is extremely important that the staff at the Personal Care Home are especially sensitive to this population who have often experienced abuse, neglect and institutionalized living for most of their life. The transition period may take longer than it would for a Senior Citizen, so great care and patience must be a priority and no tolerance for neglectful, harsh or abusive language or actions should be accepted by the Personal Care Home management.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities often attend programs during the day time hours to learn new skills and often have jobs with real employers providing real pay. These jobs may be menial or tedious for some, but for this population bagging groceries, stuffing envelopes, gathering shopping carts, putting small plastic pieces together in a factory are rewarding and stimulating jobs to have.

Of course, like everything else, there is a financial cost associated with Personal Care Homes. Most seniors use their pensions, retirement or social security income to pay the cost for this service. The fees for Senior Citizens range greatly from Personal Care Home to Personal Care Home. In Georgia, for instance, a small PCH of 6 residents may charge anywhere from $1,300 per month to $2,000 per month. The price is sometimes determined by the location of the home, the size of the room (private or semi-private) and the services offered. Some PCH owners make special concessions to those who cannot pay the full price. Others use State programs like Medicaid funded programs that can supplement the cost if the Senior meets their eligibility requirements. The owner of the PCH will need to apply with the Medicaid program (SOURCE or CCSP etc)  in order to be a Provider for this service. Usually each state will have a Department of Human Resources, Department of Community Health or Department of Behavior and Developmental Disabilities) or something similar that can provide information on how to become a medicaid provider for residential services for the elder population.

Often, the individual with a developmental disability already has a Medicaid Waiver which grants them a certain amount of funding toward residential services. It is the waiver that allows payment to the Personal Care Home provider. This population often has a Support Coordinator or a Case Manager who helps them to make life choices and help apply for Medicaid Waivers and other programs suitable for their individual needs. They even help the individual choose which PCH they want to reside in. Again, the PCH owner has to apply with the State in order to become a Medicaid Provider for this population and to receive payment for the services. The applicant must be qualified to become a medicated provider or he or she will have to hire qualified professionals to help with this endeavor.

Of course, the state is the first place to contact when you are ready to explore opening a PCH. This work is not easy, it requires a 24 hour commitment and loving care for those that live there. It is constant cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry and loving interaction. It’s also helping with doctor appointments, medication compliance and coordination of services.

The State will send out a booklet providing the guidelines and rules on Personal Care Homes. In Georgia, it is the Health Care Regulatory services who will send out all the information you need to get started or you may have to go to their website for an application. Use these guidelines to write your own home’s Policy and Procedures. Create the standard that you want in your home.

My advice is to write the Policy and Procedures before getting a home. This allows time to write without feeling pressured. If you get a house first, you will have to pay on a mortgage or rent while you are putting your Policies together. Also, start purchasing the furniture before you get a house. If you begin to accumulate what you need now, just store it until you are ready to move in. Many owners purchase their furniture from second-hand stores, garage sales or even from friends. Have church members, family members, coworkers and friends donate furniture to you. Be sure to tell them what you need or you’ll end up with lot of stuff you don’t need.

Some PCH owners purchase their homes for this business, while other do a lease-purchase which allows them to pay as they go. Others find success in renting a house as long as the owner is aware of what you will be using the house for and signing an affidavit that supports the agreement. Still some use the home they live in as both a PCH and their family home.

This information is just enough to get the ideas flowing. Please respond to this blog, offer insight, corrections, updates and other information that one can use in starting a Personal Care Home. Your comments are most appreciated.

I will share more information as we go along.  Let me know what topics you are most interested in.

Thanks

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No Residents Yet, Yikes!

IMG_0837You’ve sought out the perfect home. You shopped for furniture, office supplies and items to make your personal care home comfy and inviting. You did everything by the book but still worried and waited on pins and needles to get your home inspected and approved to operate in your area. You spent countless amounts of money or ,borrowed some, to make ends meet. You’ve told your family and friends about what you created and shared how excited you are about getting new clients or residents in your home. You feel ready and inspired to care for others and eager to get started. You created flyers and had business cards made so everyone would know what your are offering. Although nervous, you went to your local hospital or nursing home to share your services with them.

HOWEVER, no one has called or reached out to you for your services! The intense excitement you once had is starting to turn into fear and worry now. But then you think of how far you’ve come and how many sacrifices you have made and begin to drum up inspiration and tell your self that everything will be okay and that your first client (resident) will come really soon.

BUT, still no one. Your home is empty. The thought of paying the light bill, water bill, phone bill, rent or mortgage starts to sink in. You start to count your dwindling savings and have resorted to counting the coins in your “secret stash”. Now your heart is beating fast, your sleep is interrupted at night with anxious thoughts, you start to doubt that you did the right thing and feel like you’ve disappointed your family and loved ones. What are you going to do? How can you recover from this huge mistake? How do you get out of your lease? What about all of the stuff you purchased? Fear takes a hold of you.

So what now? Well, for now I would say stay the course. Remember the old adage “slow and steady wins the race”, well keep doing something everyday toward your goal of having a full house. Make calls every day, visit facilities or potential referral sources, list your property on referral sites, go to ‘meet and greets’, visit other PCH’s to make connections, advertise as much as possible, do free talks in your local area on topics that interest your potential clientele, offer something (anything) to overwhelmed caregivers and always tell everyone you know about what you do and never stop.

Just do something every single day. Be consistent. Return phone calls immediately. Be visible. When people see you or see what you are doing ,or plan to do, they will remember you when they are in need of your offerings. Be optimistic. Remind yourself if “one man can do it, another man can”. Meditate on what you desire. Create visions in your mind of what life would be like when your home is full. Laugh and enjoy your life. Remember that “faith without works is dead” so do something now. Take action every day and then bask in the knowingness that all is well. Your home will be full in no time!

Your employees can Make or Break your business

I hate to have to bring this up, but its true. Your staff can cause your business to sink or swim.

No, really! In this business of caring for folks, the staff people who you hire can uplift or destroy your reputation and all that you worked hard to build. It is incredibly important to choose your employees wisely. This does not mean that your girlfriend or church member is the best choice just because they make you laugh and appear to be “nice”. Stay away from hiring someone based on your feelings about them personally and use your “business head” when determining who you think is reliable, trustworthy, and efficient. The person you hire should be self-directed and able to handle urgent and emergent situations in your absence.  He or she should be a person who loves to provide care and take direction well, accept a leadership role in your absence and someone who you truly trust to make the right decisions to ensure the safety of your residents.

What I just described may not be what your friend is capable of doing. Your auntie may make a mean apple pie but can she document effectively or ensure medications have been supervised in a timely manner? Make decisions like the boss that you are and not base hiring decisions solely on your emotional connection to people.  Always conduct yourself as the leader of your agency or company and don’t fall prey to hanging out with your employees or sharing intimate details of your life. Keep it professional at all times.

Anther point to consider is that when employees are paid fairly and trained well, the outcome is very favorable. Create a training schedule to ensure that your staff members are trained in all aspects of care such as fire drills, proper nutrition, meal planning, medication management, driving laws, incident reports, personal grooming and hygiene, diabetic care, dementia care, cultural diversity, etc.

In addition, be present and responsive to your employees. Have an open-door policy. If your staff  sense that its impossible  to get in touch with you or that you are inaccessible to them, they will begin to get careless and unmotivated. Implement a schedule for staff meetings (yes, even if you have one employee) to ensure that everyone is on the same page and feel supported.

Remember that the end goal should always be that your clients or residents get the best care possible.. When your staff feel supported, trained and valued it improves client care and the overall morale of the personal care home. Additionally, your business should aim to maintain a positive reputation in the community for repeat business and satisfied customers. This is a recipe for success in this business!

It’s Here! Our new Facebook group

Please help me to celebrate our long awaited facebook group!

Initially I did not see the need for a facebook group and then I felt that I did not want another thing to manage.

Well, after repeated several requests, I decided that the FB group could actually offer much more intimate contact, direct feedback and the sharing of pictures, videos and other information to help you to feel more confident and connected to this community of people who are embarking on this business of caring.

Go on over and check it out. You have to request to be a member of the group however and soon it will be a secret group for just a select few.

http://www.facebook.com/personalcarehomes

Get an Audio Recording of the Coaching Call!

Greetings PCHer’s,

The Four Week Group Coaching call was amazing!!

I shared so much useful information to help get your idea out of your head and into reality. I shared  my years of professional experience in this business to help you avoid the pitfalls.

I covered things you need to do to set your PCH home up and explored ways to decide on the best location , offered cheap or no cost marketing and advertising tools you can use , provided my “formula” for coming up with your fees/charges, and shared creative ways to get money to fund this dream of yours,  and much much more!

For a very limited time, I am offering the audio recording of the 4 Week Group Coaching Call. Please let me know if you want the recording.

Hey, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you can stay on top of everything I put on this blog. You wanna stay in the loop, right?  🙂

What’s keeping you Stuck?

So, by now you’re probably pretty sure you want to do this. You want to open a personal care home to serve the people of your community.  You think about your dream both day and night. You find yourself daydreaming at your current job or during lunch breaks. The thought of you running your own business is an unshakeable desire. It feels exciting, it feels good and it feels right.

But, there’s just one thing…..you haven’t done anything yet!  You haven’t taken any steps or made any move toward your goal. Or maybe you have researched and researched and still have not done anything tangible toward your dream.

My question to you, what are you waiting for? When are you going to take the first step toward realizing and manifesting your dreams. You know that you have what it takes to be an awesome caregiver and business owner. So what’s got you stuck?

Fear may be why you haven’t moved. Fear is normal. Fear pushes us in one direction or the other. It pushes us closer to or further away from our goals.We all have it in one form or fashion. Acknowledge your fear, breathe through it, and do what you fear anyway.

Self doubt is another creepy little thing that holds us back. Self doubt keeps us immobile and scared. It reminds us of previous failures. It shuts us down.

Blame is yet another toxic thinking pattern that keeps us stagnant. Do you blame your family, friends, co-workers, employers,  etc. for holding you back? Do you find yourself making up stories about why you are stuck in an attempt to rationalize your stuckness? Do you make statements  like, “Well if he hadn’t done that , I would be able to do this” ; or “I can’t start my business because she won’t loan me the money”; or “My job works me too hard and I don’t have time to follow my own dreams”, etc.

Taking full ownership of your dream may be a very important first step. Of course it helps when others help and support you; however, if you are looking for someone to do the work for you or hold your vision in the same light as you do, you may be disappointed. Take ownership and decide what you need to do today to get started.

Create a checklist list of what action steps YOU need to take. Each week create a new list and start checking them off one by one. Before you know it, you would have made so much progress all because you took action and got yourself unstuck !

In a word (or two). Tell me what keeps you stuck. Who knows… others may be stuck just like you. Drop your response below (1-2 words).

I believe in you, you can do this!

Peace and Love

 

 

What’s your WHY?

I bet you are on this blog post, obviously, because you have a burning desire to do something different. You want to impact lives in a big way and want to provide great care to those that need just a little help and support, right?

In order to do that you should know, or at least, have a general idea about what drives you. Why do you want to do what you want to do?  In others words, what’s your why?

To help you figure this out, go ahead and ask yourself these few questions. Once you have taken some time out to really think about this, you should have your why question answered for you. Get ready, get set….go!!

So, what’s the mission of your business?

Why does your business exist?

What purpose does your business provide?

What problem do you solve?

Now, go  ahead and answer these few questions. If you get stuck, no worries, just think about it while taking a walk, a shower or when meditating. Your friends and family might also help you to remember why you want to get into this business (remember folks, it is a business). So, don’t be afraid to ask them. They may help to remind you of your qualities, experience, knowledge, gentleness, etc.

What ever your why is, it’s unique to just you!

 

10 Basic things you MUST have in your Personal Care Home

Every home is different and should provide supports and services to meet the unique needs of the residents. As you begin to think about what population you plan to support, it will become clear what items you will need to help your clientele feel comfortable, safe and right at home.

If you are supporting children, consider what you need in the home to effectively support children. Keep in mind that the needs of the adolescent teen are very different from the needs of small children.

For homes that are set up as Memory Care programs, its important to consider safety measures for residents at risk of wandering or elopement.

Whether you are planning to operate a personal care home for senior citizens, children, homeless veterans, or people with mental health challenges there are basic items that every PCH should have to ensure the health and safety of its residents..

Below are 10 basic items you must have in your home.

These are the basics and not in any way the only safety items needed. This list is not exhaustive. There are and will be many other items that are required by your licensing board, state government or that you personally find useful.

(Click on the items below and it will take you to Amazon if you chose to look at it!)

  1. Smoke Detectors
  2. Carbon Monoxide
  3. Fire Extinguishers
  4. Fire Ladder
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Emergency Food Supply
  7. Flash lights
  8. Batteries
  9. Wheel Chair Ramps
  10. Bedside Commode

If your regulations allow it, you may need door alarms and arm bracelet for those at risk of wandering or elopement.

So check our the rules and regulations in your area for setting up and operating a personal care home and go get what you need!

 

(FYI If you purchase from the above links, I may receive a small commission.)