Real, thoughtful coordination is less expensive and more effective.....
Cantata, a Chicago-area senior housing and care provider, is achieving success with its Take2 home care model, increasing margins even as clients are paying less for services.
Take2 was piloted in 2014, rolled out on a wider scale in 2016, and now serves about 60 people after a record month for new sign-ups in March, Cantata CEO John Larson said last week at the LeadingAge Illinois annual meeting and expo near Chicago. Cantata is a not-for-profit organization that offers an array of senior services; its campus-based housing, located about 15 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, includes independent living, assisted living and enhanced care.
The cost of personal care is already steep for consumers, and rates are only going up as tightening labor markets and changing laws increase costs for providers. At the same time, turnover is rampant in home care and a worker shortage is set to get worse as the baby boomer generation ages.
Take2 is a neighborhood-based system, in which caregivers drive around a designated area for the duration of their shifts, dropping in on clients to provide services in short bursts of about 20 minutes. Some of these drop-ins are scheduled and others are done on-demand, as clients have needs that arise and they alert the Take2 staff.
Currently, the service area is roughly six square miles around the Cantata campus. The organization has two people handling the program logistics and six to eight roving caregivers. They work regularly scheduled shifts, around the clock.
Take2 provides a wide array of services, including bathing and dressing assistance, light housekeeping, medication reminders, home maintenance and pet care. It does not provide companion care, given that the caregivers come in to perform specific tasks and then leave, moving on to the next house.
At the outset, the Cantata team had some doubts about the model. For instance, some people feared that clients would constantly be calling for help, and caregivers would be frantically trying to field requests and get from house to house.
“Our team said, it’ll be like a video game,” Larson said.
Those fears did not come to pass. In fact, clients request on-demand services infrequently, and the care team has been able to keep visits brief while maintaining 95% customer satisfaction and good health outcomes. For instance, as of October 2016, with 125 clients served, there had been only three falls with injury and two 30-day hospital readmissions.
There is a learning curve, however. Explaining the system and setting client expectations are important.
“We rarely if ever say, you’ll have a bath at 9:30,” Larson said. “We say … you’ll get hygiene in the morning.”
Similarly, there was skepticism about helping people with toileting on a schedule, but that has also not been a stumbling block. It is not unusual to have a toileting schedule in an assisted living setting, Larson noted.