If there is a sport that is challenging to play, it’s tennis.  I have been watching tennis all my life and I still don’t quite get it.  You see it on tv, there is a racket and a ball, easy enough seemingly to hit.  Then there are the complications that come with the game of tennis.  Line judges, volleys, serves, strange and foreign scoring rules unlike any other sport and then there is the sheer size of the court.  It is a lot to navigate and do well.  However, I must admit, it seems simple until you actually play.

When asked why have senior living providers not embraced in-home services I think the relationship and analogies are similar.  In-home services and “home care” seems so simple.  It’s a caregiver and a client.  Simple enough.  However, what in-home services business lines are in reality are VERY different.  There is a gross underestimation of the complexity of the “game”.  The challenge is compounded by very smart and well-meaning leaders not allowing the in-home services business to be “right-sized” for their organization.  Here is where the analogy gets real.

The Colorado USTA decided to right-size the game of tennis for kids!  Brilliant!  What this means is that the court was shortened, ball size acclimated for them (bigger and easier to hit) and the game was generally made to “fit” kids into the game.  What did this do for participation in tennis among youth in Colorado?  They only saw a slight increase of 60% by youth involved in tennis.  Only 60%!

If you are a senior living leader here are some gut-check questions as you consider a “right-sized” in-home services strategy:

  1. Is the in-home services business allowed to operate on the software that is a “fit” for in-home services?  The opposite of this is the leader that says, “We already have an EMR system, use it,” without much substantive thought about the business line.  
  2. Does the business exist in a separate but complementary position to the rest of your organization?  The opposite is the leader and organization that forces the business to operate “as everyone else does” not truly acting out of concern for the success of the business.  
  3. Are you allowing for the in-home services part of your organization to operate as a business within a business?  The opposite of this is the leader or org that is forcing the business to run “as the other divisions do”, usually under the insecure leader’s fiefdom leading to a business that doesn’t “fit.”

In-home services are challenging and even more challenging to do well. Similar to tennis, you must “right-size” your strategy to serve others on and off your campus.  If your home care service isn’t right-sized and given the opportunity to succeed it will fail and you will have low participation and rare successes with it.  This type of failure normally sounds like “it’s just not our core business” and “we tried that but it didn’t work” in an executive after-action report.

I can guarantee every reader of this article this, if you’re not out taking care of your future residents, someone else is.  They will find the care they want and you will miss out.  Consider a “right-sized” in-home services strategy and let us help!

Mark Goetz
President and CEO – hcanthrive.com