Failure Is Not an Option
Jeff Krueger exited a lucrative business career at a point in his life where he could have retired and moved to the beach. But he decided he that he wanted to give back with the skills he had acquired in the business world. And so, SAFE HOMECARE was born.
SAFE HOMECARE, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, provides nonmedical homecare for seniors. Caregivers provide house cleaning, meal preparation, bathing and toileting assistance, and help with running errands—the typical tasks you find a homecare agency performing. Krueger says his goal, though, is for his caregivers to brighten their patients’ days through the services they provide.
Training for caregivers at the agency is top priority. Krueger says he is building a team out of his caregivers, not just churning people through the door. Each of his employees comes in for an orientation period before being sent into the field, and the central office for SAFE HOMECARE is a welcoming environment for employees to come hang out at the beginning or end of their shifts. Krueger wants his employees to feel as if the central office is their home.
SAFE HOMECARE also participates in surveys from Home Care Pulse, a national survey provider for homecare agencies. Employees are able to anonymously fill out surveys about their work environment and experience, allowing the management team to make adjustments when needed. SAFE HOMECARE won an Employer of Choice award from Home Care Pulse for 2016 because of their 98 percent employee approval rating. When it comes to building his team, Krueger says, “We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken. All the things we do [for our clients] won’t matter if our caregivers aren’t satisfied. I want to raise the bar in the industry when it comes to my caregivers and the job they perform.”
For any homecare company looking to make it in today’s difficult climate, technology is critical.
To that end, Krueger adopted the ClearCare platform for managing his business, including the Family Room app. (Search “ClearCare Family Room” on homecaremag.com to read our App Spotlight from our October 2016 issue.)
Krueger made the change after his son, Adam (who is also the company’s COO), realized that interactive care was missing from the homecare environment. ClearCare’s platform just fit with the model SAFE HOMECARE had in mind. “We have a zero failure policy,” Krueger says. “That is impossible to achieve without technology.”
When it comes to the Family Room app, SAFE HOMECARE has seen it make a difference in marketing to referral sources, who love that caregivers can communicate with family members through the portal. For Krueger, reaching family members who are out of town is critical to the app’s success for SAFE HOMECARE.
An out-of-town family member being able to communicate their desires for their loved one’s care to the agency quickly and efficiently, without playing phone tag, means better operational effectiveness for the entire team at SAFE HOMECARE. At the end of a caregiver’s shift, they can log that a task was completed, and the family member receives an alert.
What’s next for the agency? Krueger is looking to franchise the SAFE HOMECARE brand. “The opportunity is there, and the demand is huge,” he says. The goal is to take SAFE HOMECARE to a national stage, using the lessons learned in the Tulsa market—including incorporating caregivers as part of the team from the start. Krueger credits that approach to SAFE HOMECARE’s success right from the beginning. Building a brand is difficult, but Krueger is confident his approach will pay off for SAFE HOMECARE. Growing a team of competent, cheerful caregivers bolstered by technology is the way forward for this homecare agency.
Kristin Easterling is the Associate Editor of HomeCare.