Provider lends hand

Monday, April 25, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Matching consumers with a walker is one thing, but matching consumers with a caregiver requires a careful touch, says Premier Home Care, which in 2010 launched companion service Caring Hands.

The caregivers provide services ranging from companionship, light housework, and shopping to basic personal care--whatever the patient needs.

"These are individuals that may need some assistance, but they are high-functioning enough that they don't need the actual skilled care," said Wayne Knewasser, vice president of public relations and government affairs for Premier. "This is an excellent intermediate pathway for them to get some care."

Caregivers undergo a rigorous screening process that includes a background check, drug testing and a personality assessment. A case manager also visits the home before a caregiver is assigned.

"If your Dad is interested in sports, we aren't going to put somebody in there that can't stand football," said Knewasser. "We match up the caregiver to that individual. If it doesn't work, we'll bring somebody else in until we find that nice fit."

Premier requires a minimum visit time of three hours and can accommodate up to 24 hours of service in a day. Most patients pay out-of-pocket for the service or have long-term care insurance to cover costs. 

Premier markets the service to existing referral services and existing customers. Because they are already in the home, the provider is well-placed to recognize who might benefit from the service. 

"A driver tech may go into a home and see a lot of debris," said Knewasser. "We don't strong-arm the individual to say, 'Hey, we have this service.' It's more the power of suggestion." hme