Friday, August 22, 2014

Home Ward Bound

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Valley businesses provide high-end home health care for a younger generation.

Five women stand around the island in a palatial Scottsdale kitchen. They wear aprons over their impeccable clothes, and floor-sparing blue booties over their shoes. One of them, a private chef, teaches the other four how to make Scottish shortbread.

A table nearby is set with plates of croissants and muffins. As the shortbread bakes, the five women sit at the table to nosh and chat with the lady of the house, Polly Morris. The scene looks like an in-home cooking class for bored Scottsdale housewives, but it isn’t. It most certainly does not look like job training for home health care workers. But it is.

“I have been to the best of the best restaurants and hotels, and I know how I like to be treated,” Morris says. Her goal, she says, is to apply that standard to home health care.

Morris is the founder of Hyde Park Home Healthcare Professionals. Since September of last year, Hyde Park has provided in-home services to patients who can afford it – the cost runs $25 to $28 an hour, depending on length of service (less for round-the-clock shift work) – with a focus on making caregiving look and feel more like a butler/maid/chef/personal assistant service. Serving a client base that’s divided “about half-and-half” between elderly or chronic patients and younger patients recovering from cosmetic and other elective procedures, Hyde Park is an example of a popular provider in a new market for upscale home health care that appeals to a younger, well-heeled demographic. “It’s nice to have a butler who can change a catheter or bandages,” Morris observes.

Hyde Park employees wear a uniform of “navy blue trousers or skirts, yellow cotton shirts, button down, and a nametag, which can be removed,” Morris says. Clients are even provided with bells to summon their caregiver. Though other companies may not be taking it to quite the Downton Abbey level that Morris is, high-end in-home health care has a broad appeal.

“They’ve had a baby, they’ve had cosmetic surgery, and they’ve been sent home, but they can’t take care of themselves yet.” These are the typical clients of Patrick Easton, owner of Clinical Home Services, which has offices in several states including Arizona. Easton, who has a master’s in hospital administration from ASU, got into the home-care business in the late ‘80s. “By the mid-‘90s, maybe ‘95, we were doing the high-end stuff,” he recalls, “because we realized we couldn’t do it all.”

Easton describes, for instance, a woman in Carmel, Calif., who “went in really early and had a facelift. She said, ‘I don’t want to go home with my husband and the dogs, because I look terrible.’ So we said, ‘We’ll take you over to this resort with room service and a private patio where you can get a little sun.’ Probably within about two to three days, she’ll give us permission to transport her home.”

Such accommodations are the artisanal bread and butter of Clinical Home Services, which Easton says charges $35 to $45 per hour, “depending on what the nurse is doing.” Easton’s employees have accompanied patients to France, and to golf tournaments at Pebble Beach. They’ve tended to a child from McCormick Ranch who was home sick from school and whose busy parents couldn’t take off work. “It’s pretty hard to find something we don’t do,” Easton says.

Morris reiterates the anything-for-our-clients maxim that’s become the calling card of the burgeoning high-end home health care industry. “We never say no,” she says. “We’re not their caretakers; we’re their servants.”

What Service!
Here are some of the genteel services high-end home health care companies like Hyde Park and Clinical Home
Services provide for discerning clients:

Housekeeping and laundry
(Clinical Home Services)

Grocery shopping, meal prep and in-home chef (Hyde Park and Clinical Home Services): “If the client wants Hungarian goulash once, we’ll bring our chef into the house to make it,” Hyde Park founder Polly Morris says. “If they’re going to want it all the time, we’ll teach the caregiver to make it.”

Manicures/pedicures (Hyde Park): “The plastic surgery patients love the luxury stuff like this,” Morris says.

Pets (Hyde Park): “We can do pet care, but we also do pet therapy,” Morris says. “Our caregivers have these lovely little dogs, and our clients who like dogs love them.”

 

 

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