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Healthcase Franchises - The UK’s Biggest Franchise Opportunity?

Healthcase Franchises - The UK’s Biggest Franchise Opportunity?

With people living longer, demand for medical staffing and homecare franchises is increasing internationally says Anthony Padulo, Executive Vice President of International and Domestic Franchise Development for BrightStar Care

As the global population continues to age at an unprecedented rate, more and more seniors prefer to remain in their own homes as they age rather than living in specialised senior-living environments. According to a United Nations global study, 40% of people aged 60 or older choose to live independently. The reason is simple – living at home offers seniors a sense of familiarity and independence.

However, as much as most seniors want to remain at home, many are not able to meet all of their personal and medical needs there. This is where private companion care and/or skilled in-home medical care providers can help. Such services extend the time that seniors can live where they feel happy and most comfortable in their own homes.

### Making home care count
In the United Kingdom, there is a great number of seniors trying to care for loved ones on their own, which can pose problems of its own. According to Age UK, nearly two-thirds of those polled by the Princess Royal Trust for Caregivers said they had health problems or a disability of their own, and that only half of those felt confident lifting the person they care for. The respondents also revealed that caring for another person also took its toll mentally, with 68.8% saying being a caregiver had damaged their psychological wellbeing, and 42.9% reporting that their mental health had worsened in the past year.

Studies continue to validate the increasing growth of the ageing population around the world. In fact, for the first time in history, the number of people age 65 and older will soon outnumber children under age five. Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in developed countries, where the proportion of older adults is the highest. For example, in the United Kingdom, the estimate of citizens aged 65 and older is more than 10 million.

By 2050, this number is expected to rise to 19 million. Similarly, the increase in the number of seniors age 80 or older is stunning. This population segment now ranges between three and four million. With so many more seniors living longer – and wanting to remain in their own homes as long as possible – it’s no wonder that senior home care has become one of the fastest growing segments in franchising on a global level. The ageing trend has created a multitude of opportunities for businesses who offer unique solutions to serve seniors, particularly those with a desire to age in place in their own homes.

The challenge of global ageing According to The Lancet, which publishes a weekly journal and nine monthly speciality journals in the field of global health, the ageing of the global population is poised to become the next global public health challenge. While there are hundreds of in-home care companies competing in today’s market for a share of this demanding and rapidly ageing population, many only offer companion care. Very few in-home care providers offer skilled medical care (in addition to companion care) and meet strict standards for quality. It is extremely rare to find an international franchise that provides skilled RNs qualified to deliver quality in-home care, particularly when it comes to condition-specific areas for seniors such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease and knowledge of medication and medication interactions.

Even rarer are homecare franchises that are accredited by a third-party quality-standards organisation that sets clinical and operational guidelines similar to those set for hospitals and nursing homes. Quality, clinically-based care is important for promoting ageing adults’ health, preventing disease and managing chronic illnesses. Even though an increasing number of health workers will need to spend more of their time caring for this section of the population, the vast majority are not trained to meet the specific needs of older adults.

### Independent living
Another challenge occurring in today’s dynamic healthcare environment is that hospitals and medical facilities are under constant pressure to reduce costs. One key effort to achieve such reductions is to get patients out of hospital beds and back into their homes as quickly as possible. However, these providers are still responsible for ensuring discharged patients receive proper medical attention following surgeries or hospital stays to reduce unnecessary and expensive readmissions. That means healthcare facilities are increasingly searching for alternative resources to provide assistance to patients as they transition from the hospital to the home.

According to Age UK, only 26% of the public says that they are confident that older people receiving social care are treated with dignity and the World Health Organisation found that the number of older people who will no longer be able to look after themselves in developing countries is forecast to quadruple by 2050. Many of the very old lose their ability to live independently because of limited mobility, frailty or other physical or mental health problems. Many require long-term care, including home-based nursing, community, residential and hospital-based care. All of these factors lead to a demand for franchised businesses that are capable of providing reliable, quality in-home medical care.

### Rising to the challenge
After conducting an in-depth analysis of various countries across the world, BrightStar Care identified a significant need for its range of services and commitment to high standards of care in the United Kingdom, as well as in other countries. Earlier this year, BrightStar Care created an international division to start expanding in the United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Australia, Mexico, China, Japan, New Zealand and other areas of Europe.

The BrightStar Care proven track record of growing franchise businesses that provide expert, compassionate care in the United States, coupled with solid infrastructure and resources, make this the ideal franchise to be at the forefront of filling demand for inhome care needs in the United Kingdom. The company is focusing efforts on securing deals with Area Developers in the United Kingdom to own and operate 75 locations at a time, or Master Franchisees, who can sub-franchise after opening two to five of their own locations.

The ideal candidates to lead development in the United Kingdom would be sophisticated operators who have experience in managing their own organisations, and who clearly understand the franchisor/franchisee relationship and the training and support process for franchisees. BrightStar Care is equipped to serve the needs of the ageing population worldwide because the business model features the full continuum of care, including companion care, personal care and skilled medical care. The franchise also focuses on a collaborative, person-centered approach, allowing their Registered Nurse Directors of Nursing to tailor care plans to the unique companionship and medical needs of each individual.

It is part of their proven operational system to deliver ‘a higher standard of care’ and to help seniors maintain the active, independent lifestyle they desire and deserve. The Joint Commission the oldest and largest nationally recognised health care quality standards organisation in the United States, has recognised BrightStar Care repeatedly as one of the premier providers of quality inhome senior care in America. The Joint Commission also recently awarded BrightStar Care with its Enterprise Champion for Quality award for the second consecutive year. This prestigious distinction is awarded to select franchisors with a proven commitment to the highest level of quality and safety.

### Raising standards for home care
Global ageing can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development because of the longevity of life, but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to maximise the health and functional capacity of older people. While ageing trends present challenges, they also present tremendous business opportunities for those seeking franchise ownership in a booming segment. Even more, it offers a tremendous opportunity to raise the standards of homecare for older adults.

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