When Executive Care launched in April of 2004, we had no idea just how big the industry would grow to be. My wife, Mila, and I first recognized the need for in-home care when we cared for an elderly neighbor in 2004 while her daughter was out of town. Working in the insurance and healthcare industries, Mila and I both knew that home care was steadily increasing, but we didn’t understand just how influential the industry would become. Statistics show that nowadays, three percent of seniors reside in a nursing home. That means 97 percent opt to stay at home, surrounded by their cherished memories and treasured items.
As the industry has continued to grow, the space for franchising has opened up. A viable opportunity outside of the glamour of food and fitness concepts, here is all you need to know about home healthcare franchising.
A Rich Opportunity
We are in what experts call a ‘silver tsunami,’ which refers to the steadily aging population. Today, there are thousands of individuals turning 65 years of age and requiring more medical attention than normal. Nearly 70 percent of Americans aged 65 or over are unable to care for themselves. As shown, many individuals prefer to stay at home than enter into an assistance residence, and in-home care provides a logical solution for many families. On average, elderly adults aged 60 or older live 280 or more miles from their nearest child. As shown, there is an ever-growing demand for home healthcare assistance. Home healthcare can come in many forms. Professionally trained caregivers, including doctors and nurses, can provide a greater scope of health care services for seniors in the comfort of their homes, while non-medical caregivers can provide personal care, companionship and mental stimulation when families are not nearby.
As the population continues to increase, the home healthcare industry is expected to grow and has a bright future for operators. It is important to note that home healthcare does not just include elderly care and companionship. Often times, there are individuals living with disabilities or suffering short-term care that require assistance, as well. This provides even more demand for home healthcare services and provides a diversified client base for operators looking to expand their business offerings. Home healthcare is, and will continue to be a lucrative investment and rewarding venture.
When Executive Care was founded 15 years ago, there were few competitors in the space. Today, with lower barriers to entry, awareness of services and focus on the demand for home healthcare, we have seen an increase in home healthcare brands. More brands operating in the same space can provide a bit of competition, but we’ve noticed it is friendly competition among the home healthcare industry. Greater competition has led to further regulation of the industry, thus building credibility for the home healthcare industry. Through competition also comes collaboration, as we all seek to evolve within technology and find the best ways to serve our aging populations. There are also instances of home healthcare agencies banding together to increase knowledge bases, advocate for beneficial policies and fight for causes affecting our business.
As shown, with the rise of competition in the space, we’ve learned the best way to combat the competition has been to embrace it – to find the collaborative points within the industry, all while finding points of differentiation for your own brand. It requires us to be focused always.
Outside Industry Forces Have Effects
As home healthcare has boomed, the more political and economic factors start to weigh on the industry. For example, the minimum wage debate and the growing crisis due to short staffs; an effect from immigration polices limiting the workforce pool. Home healthcare agencies work together to support policies that will allow us to better serve the community, while protesting those that will provide negative consequences. Neither positive nor negative, political debates do play a role in home healthcare business operations over time.
Another important issue at debate in the country is healthcare costs. A growing point for the industry is the cost-effectiveness for patients, families and the larger community. Home healthcare has become a great option for families. In-home care can run roughly $21,000 per year while semi-private nursing home rooming costs $86,000 annually. Additionally, elderly Americans receiving in-home care generally need fewer trips to the doctor or hospital, resulting in reduced costs and healthcare spending. In fact, in 2008, the United States saved as much as $25 billion in hospital costs because of the rising private duty industry. As the healthcare debate continues, home healthcare has an opportunity to showcase its benefit financially and the impact on the economy as the ‘silver tsunami’ continues.
The home healthcare industry has evolved over the past decade, yet it stands the test of time as a valuable, and important, franchise opportunity. While there are challenges and things to consider, the industry is primed to continue growing among the ‘silver tsunami’ with no signs of dying out.
Lenny Verkhoglaz is the founder and CEO of Executive Care, based in New Jersey. Since launching the brand in 2004, Executive Care has 22 offices across 11 states.