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The Life Transition Blog

Interview: Non-medical Home Care Agency Owner Robb Winiecki Advises Caregivers


I am very excited to introduce a new feature of the Life Transition Blog, interviews with leaders in fields serving those in transition. My hope is to help you get a better understanding of the many professions that are at your service and will help you feel less overwhelmed. If you know of a profession and/or professional you’d like to see interviewed for this feature, please be sure to be in touch.
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Robb Winiecki is the co-owner, along with his wife Tricia of a non-medical home care agency.

Their business is Assisting Hands in Naples, FL. I share many clients with Robb and Tricia and am pleased to be able to feature Robb as a spokesperson for his profession.
  
What is a non-medical home care agency? Who usually hires you?

Non-medical home care agencies are licensed (in our case by the State of Florida) to provide services that help people to remain as independent as possible, typically in their own home. We specialize in helping with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as grocery shopping, errands, transportation, bathing, dressing, grooming and accompanying clients to medical appointments. We are also equipped to assist fully bedbound people as well. We can assist with medication reminders and self-administration of medications for individuals with physical limitations that prevent them from doing this on their own. We are typically hired by the care partner for the client (spouse or adult child).

Why are you usually hired?

Clients usually hire a care provider because they want to remain independent but for some reason they have insecurities about doing it alone. Often, they are not ready to move to an assisted living facility or find it is more cost effective to have the episodic care provided in their own home.

How are you different from other, similar professions?

As a non-medical home care agency, we do not provide care covered as a Medicare entitlement such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, etc. We don’t provide short term, intermittent care under the Medicare program. Rather, we engage with clients and their families to provide care with the frequency they require and on the days/times that serve their needs. We are paid directly by the client or their family and will work with their long term care insurance policy if they have one.

How did you get into this field? What is your story?

It all began with my wife Tricia who is a Registered Respiratory Therapist. She was working in this capacity at the hospital and was frequently asked by her patients or their families if she was available to stop by and check up with them upon their return home. She was asked if they could hire her to do the grocery shopping or help provide personal assistance with grooming. This was happening over and over at the same time that I was evaluating business opportunities because we had decided to open a family business. One thing led to another and we explored opening a home care agency and here we are.

What training, education and/or experience is required or helpful to do what you do?

As the owner of an agency, I need a working understanding of the health care field and the compassion to help people. It is important to me that I change people’s lives every day by allowing them to maintain their independence.

Are there other special certifications? If so, what does obtaining them entail, and how important is it for a consumer to look for someone who possesses these credentials?

Home care agencies are regulated by the state in which they are located. Here in Florida, there are various business models (e.g., agencies and registries) and levels of licensure. In our case, as a licensed agency, our caregivers are employed by us. They are licensed, insured and bonded. We conduct background checks and provide training and supervision. In short, we stand behind our caregivers and are responsible for making sure that our clients’ needs are filled by competent, appropriate people.

How can a consumer find someone like you?

As with so many personal services, the very best way to find someone to help is through a personal referral from a happy client, their care partner or a trusted advisor. You can also search online, but make sure that you carefully check the background, licenses, and references of those you find this way.

What are the three most important questions to ask before hiring a home health agency?

Are you licensed?

Are the people who work for you your employees or independent contractors?

Do I have to commit to a long term contract, and can I interview proposed caregivers in advance?

What are your top tips for working with a home health agency?

Be open and honest about the client’s needs and preferences. Communicate with us frequently, especially if there is a situation you are unhappy with regarding the caregiver or his/her delivery of services. This allows us to work with you to correct the situation before it becomes a crisis. If we don’t know that there is a problem we can’t possibly fix it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Please visit Robb’s website at www.homecarenaples.com.
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