In the early 2000’s, we started Always There Home Care in Columbus, Ohio. This company was started after my years in Hospice. Headquartered out of Scottsdale, Arizona VistaCare grew to serve over 5,000 patients with Hospice care. My role in hospice required me to travel to patients homes all over the country. My task was simple…on paper. I was asked to improve an already amazing service.
After all, Hospice is a service that at one time or another will speak to everyones heart. This great service enabled people to stay at home in their final days. Along with our exceptional Hospice care, Our VistaCare Hospice Foundation was making last wishes come true. We honored life changing requests which gave patients hope, or connected with long lost and distant family at end of life. The rewards of doing this work were endless. We knew we were changing lives at the most critical of times.
Our palliative approach to care comforted families and eased patient pain when curative measures were no longer within reach. We knew our courageous hospice caregivers and team members were answering prayers daily. Being pit with the daunting task of increasing the quality of our service? What a worthy challenge. If it would mean better quality of life for even one our patient families? I was happy to accept. When you’ve walked the walk with patients who are at the most desperate and darkest of times? You will do ANYTHING in your power to help them. I jumped at the chance to enable our organization to deliver this hands-on one-on-one End-of-Life Care…BETTER.
As a Hospice organization, we were doing right by our patients and their families. In addition to a standard hospice service which included a few bed baths weekly, we also provided 24-Hour on-call nursing and a myriad of essential services. We were also providing much needed access to respite and oversight of pain management. We had great people and knew we were really great at what we were doing. So my job was going to be challenging. My motivation would provide all the motivation I needed.
When you look into the faces of those suffering and ask-“how could we better serve you?” There were usually long pauses and then carefully constructed near poetic answers. Without fail, if I delicately pressed for an answer I could use, the families would offer this: “IF you could Always Be Here, that would be BETTER.”
My dear friend and mentor Rick Slager was our C.E.O. His vision and clarity of mission enabled us to start something we called The Model & Mentor program. My partner for this special project was Dr. Thomas Swanson, pHd. His 30 years as a crisis and hospice trauma counselor would prove essential to our pursuits. Elections across the company would bring 7 All-Star employees to Scottsdale, Arizona for a week of interviews with Dr. Swanson and I and group training sessions to further training which enabled each of our professionals to do their jobs better and to be supported by mentors across the regions of our company.
Ripple effects spread as these elected mentors shared collective wisdom to their counterparts. Patient care, management, volunteer coordinators, marketers, chaplains…all the disciplines were touched and all positively so. Patient outcomes were improving in ways that we could measure across satisfaction survey sheets and in heartfelt letters of gratitude. But what all of this really did for me was to plant a seed. That seed was responsible for creation of Always There Home Care.
This corporate change I felt fortunate to lead helped a company to better serve their hospice patients. But the personal change these efforts had in me was even deeper and permanent. As the Founder of VistaCare Barry Smith would often say: “As you endeavor to serve other’s..God opens doors”. In my case, my endeavors opened my heart.
The powerful sentiments from numerous families along my travels in my hospice career helped to guide me to answer to the call that said…”If you could ALWAYS BE HERE….THAT WOULD BE BETTER”. While our care in hospice was exceptional, our hospice service could only provide care as per a care plan that was funded by Medicare and had it’s own binding limitations. Hospice was generally was on-call with a few planned visits each week.
Private Duty Home Care is available 24-Hours a day. Not only did I know how sorely needed this service was in my community, I wanted to bring the passion I had for those in the greatest need of help. Those who needed care that was Always There. So we started Always There Home Care. We started HomeCareOhio.Com. When we came to realize that our care was EXPONENTIALLY superior than care that facilities could provide? We were improved our access.We worked for two years to secure our 24-Hour Home Care Hotline at (614) HOME-CARE 466-3227
And wouldn’t ya know it? Our services are available around-the-clock. We are called Always There because for many of the families we serve, they need us to be Always There. We have invested in our people. We have invested in our tiers of management. We have made all of these investments in blood, sweat, tears and TIME at great personal sacrifice in order to offer our great services to those in need. And as we “endeavor to serve others” we know we are literally threading the needle for Columbus, Ohio families who are comforted and secured by our services at home.
The hope that we can bring to those suffering is CRITICAL. The care that we deliver is CONSTANT. Delivering our brand of hands-on-one-on-one care at the time of greatest need is our calling and we are here to continually improve our services to a changing and diverse group of seniors and their families. Our great care philosophy can be read between the lines of our motto: “Your Home. Your Rules. Our Care.”
Ben Smith is Always There Home Care’s Founder President and Chief Caregiver. His continuing mission is to serve the seniors and family members of Columbus, Ohio