The Great Recession led to a multiplication of home health businesses that is confusing to consumers, most of whom have never sought such services before.
Just as more Americans lost their jobs, the demand for elder care increased, drawing displaced workers and entrepreneurs into the market.
“There are a ton of them out there, and they’re all different,” Christensen says. “With the way the economy went, you had real estate agents, guys in construction that lost their jobs and said, ‘I’ll just become one of these home care companions.’ With the style of care that is out there right now, you’ve got to be really careful about what you’re getting and who you’re bringing in the home.”
Paulina Testerman, an independent home health provider for 20 years in Sarasota, has seen many clients “close their eyes and jump” into a caregiver relationship. The most they usually require, she says, is that she is bonded — insured against loss.
“That really means nothing,” she says. “All that does is protect them from $10,000 worth of things I could steal. If you’re a good caregiver, you want people to check your references.
“It’s about asking family and friends, ‘Who did you use?’ ”
Testerman says the rising demand for home health care has induced more people to obtain certified nurse assistant licenses when they are not suited for the work.
“They take young girls who aren’t fit for changing diapers and they’re pushing them into it,” she says. “These girls can get their CNA overnight. But it’s not just about changing a diaper; it’s about taking care of somebody who needs more love, not less.”
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor