As a Right at Home franchisee, Joe Guishard is making a huge difference to people’s lives
When Joe Guishard’s grandmother needed home care, he was horrified by the treatment she received.
“Sometimes the carers were two or three hours late and would stay for five minutes,” he remembers. “There was no consideration and respect. She was the first member of my family I had known who needed care in the home and I thought surely there must be something better than this.”
There is now - and Joe provides it. Now Cardiff and Newport franchisee for care specialist Right at Home, which provides quality care in clients’ homes as an alternative to residential accommodation, Joe opened his business in October 2012 directly as a result of seeing how his grandmother had been treated.
Winner of some of the franchise’s top awards and one of its biggest earners, Joe had the satisfaction of taking over his grandmother’s care for the last weeks of her life and made sure she had everything she needed.
“I have since discovered that, like me, around 70 per cent of our franchisees came into the business after having a care issue in their own families,” Joe says.
For six years a Cardiff front line police officer born and brought up in the Welsh capital, his strong sense of belonging didn’t blind Joe to the fact there were still problems in the place he would always regard as home.
“The part of the job that most appealed to me was helping people and being of service to the community,” Joe says. “I began to wonder whether my career should go more in that direction and after what happened to my grandmother I became more and more certain that it should.
“Meeting Ken Deary, managing director of Right at Home, and realising his expertise in this fi eld was what clinched it for me. The home care sector was something I felt very passionate about, with a strong desire to deliver quality service.
“It’s essential that you have that passion to survive in this industry because that’s what drives you. Right at Home matched my aims and aspirations and seemed a highly ethical company, which is why I wanted to become part of it.”
As a result, Joe became the first Welsh Right at Home franchisee and is now boss of a fast growing business with over 150 carers and staff looking after more than 300 clients.
“Very few businesses give you the opportunity of knowing that you can make a huge difference to someone’s life,” Joe says. “We provide quality care and companionship to people who otherwise would almost certainly have gone into residential care, when it was the last thing they wanted.
“Our service is reliable and highly personalised, putting the client’s interests before everything else. We treat them as part of an extended family and aim to become a vital part of their support network.” Joe’s clients range from people in need of companionship or help with daily tasks, to those living with disabilities or perhaps recovering from surgery.
“Providing care on a short or long-term basis, from a daily visit to end-of-life care 24/7, means we can give an independent alternative to a residential home,” he says.
“About 10 per cent of our clients are vulnerable adults and the rest are elderly. It’s vital to get the right carers and I vet every one personally. They range from an 18-year-old, who has just won a caring award, to more mature people who want to put something back into society and around 20 of our carers are men.”
Apart from the humanitarian aspect, Right at Home says home care is a business that’s growing at an unprecedented rate. According to government figures, the UK now has three million over-80 year olds, projected to almost double by 2030 and set to reach eight million by 2059.
Right at Home says: “Over the next 25 years the number of people aged 75 and over will increase by 76 per cent and one in four of the population will be over 65 by 205
“Now is the perfect time to capitalise on this massive growth market. The mainstream model of care is moving away from the short, task-led visits offered by most providers towards the more discerning personalised care at home model.”
Proving a theory
Former hospital administrator Allen Hager started Right at Home in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995 to prove his theory that many elderly people could lead healthy, happy lives in their own homes with caring professional help.
He talked to numerous families to understand the different kinds of challenges they faced and what sort of care would help. Then Allen became a qualified nursing assistant to see at first-hand the needs of elderly people still living at home.
There are now over 500 Right at Home franchises across the world, from Australia to China. The brand was brought to the UK by master franchise holder Ken Deary, who opened the first franchise in 2011 and now has over 50.
Costing around £38,000 plus working capital, the Right at Home franchise includes a training programme involving a two-week course at head office, on-site meetings and mentoring and continuous improvement meetings.
“We get much more comprehensive training than other care organisations,” Joe says. “That extends to carers, too. They get a thorough grounding in the job, but just as important, they must be dedicated and reliable and take a pride in helping others.”
Friends and lifeline
Joe says that he soon realised what a difference quality care can make to an elderly person’s life. “Many are lonely, with family living away and we are their friends and their lifeline,” he says “At Right at Home we are driven by the fact our services help vulnerable people receive the dignity, respect and kindness they deserve. Many say the visits of our carers are the highlights of their day and that our service has been literally lifesaving.
“We give quality care and companionship to clients in the comfort of their own homes and in everything it does Right at Home aims to make life better for those it serves. If we can do this, there’s no better reward.”