Jeff Salter, founder and CEO of Caring Senior Service, recently spent a few weeks out in the field to help a Caring location in Wilmington, NC. Corporate had recently made the decision to manage the location because the previous franchise owner decided not to renew his franchise agreement. It was crucial to get someone out to the office and maintain a presence in the home care market there. And Jeff decided he was up for the challenge.
Here is a glimpse of his experience, what he learned, and what was most challenging.
Why Not Send Someone Else?
Jeff founded the company in 1991 after seeing a need for quality care for seniors. Caring Senior Service has grown and changed a lot since then. This opportunity was a great way to ensure that the Caring business model really works and to help this CEO get back in touch with his roots.
"For selfish reasons, I wanted to work in an office and validate all the teaching, training, and technology we use. I wanted to know if our system works like I expected it to and to know that we are providing our owners with the tools and technology that allows them to operate efficiently, effectively, and profitably."
Since 1991, obviously a lot has changed. Jeff noted that the biggest change he saw at the franchise level was technology.
"In the past, the only method of contact was phone call, and everything was on paper. We would keep a binder with a printed schedule, caregiver list, client list, and service plans. We'd also have to keep a box of files for new client paperwork and various other paper items necessary to properly document the work we did."
"Today, we virtually use no paper. Every caregiver has a smartphone, and contacting people is done through texting. While we still make calls, it's far less than before. And I found that many of my shifts were covered based on back and forth texts. Once I added a caregiver to the schedule through Tendio, they could see the client plan of care. This minimized the discussions necessary to convey what services we were providing to the client."
What Was the Hardest Part?
Jeff shared that not a lot has changed as far as the stresses that come with managing a home care office. Caregivers call off, members of staff are required to be on-call, client shifts fall through. The most stressful times for him were getting calls in the evening about shifts that started early in the morning. But for the most part, these are just short bursts of stress that easily subside once a shift is filled.
His advice to home care owners: It's about the work you do in advance that helps make the short-notice coverage easier.
What Was the Most Rewarding?
Sitting in a corporate office all day, it's easy to feel like you're not making a difference. Learning about clients is a lot different than actually going into their homes and caring for them yourself. Jeff has always enjoyed helping seniors, and the ability to connect with them again was extremely rewarding for him.
"I started our first location because I knew I could be of service and make the difficult task of finding care easier for people. I take pride in being able to lift the burden that families and clients are dealing with and give them peace of mind that allows them to focus on what matters."
"Spending time with caregivers is also very rewarding. Our caregivers are the backbone of this company, and being on the front lines with them helps to keep what we do in focus. We help people deal with the challenges of being as healthy as they can, finding happiness through care and remaining home where they can be comfortable. Our caregivers allow that to happen, and our staff makes sure we have the best caregivers in the industry."
While many CEOs would just send someone else to help out a franchise location, Jeff Salter took the opportunity to really see how the Caring business model is implemented today. The experience helped him see that our system is successful and, more importantly, that the work we do matters to seniors and their families.
No matter what position you hold, it's important to get back to your roots every now and then, to get out into the field and actually do the work you encourage your employees to do. That experience will teach you a lot about yourself, your company, and the people you work with.