Building a Bond
Full-time employees are the backbone of this family-focused home care agency
By Lesley Berkshire Bradley Photos by Diana Matthews
Inviting a stranger into your home to care for you or for a sick child or elderly parent can be a frightening prospect.
Of course, you want someone with the technical expertise required but you also likely want someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and, perhaps most importantly, someone who is caring. A home health care provider performs an extremely intimate role for those who are most important to a family, when they are at their most vulnerable.
Ten years ago, Holly Boals set out to provide that top-quality in-home care to people in the Sandhills when she launched Bright Horizons Home Care.
As a Registered Nurse who had worked in both hospitals and in-home care, Boals knew that establishing a relationship with her clients was paramount. She did not want to simply offer services that were transactional in nature. Rather, she knew that she needed to create a bond with her clients in order to help reduce the stress of what often was already a stressful circumstance.
“I took what I learned as a hospital NICU and Pediatric nurse, and a home care nurse, and launched my own home care business offering the best quality care with strong personal connections to help clients feel safe in their home,” explains Boals.
Talking with Boals, it is clear from her friendly demeanor and easy laugh that she could diffuse a tense situation and help provide calm and order. But she also is quite clear that she wanted to build a business staffed with employees who would also share her vision for equal parts quality care and connection.
Her staff are all full-time employees, not contractors. This helps reduce turnover, create stability and ensure that a relationship is created with each client, whether they have long-term or short-term care needs.
“I look for caregivers who do not view this as just a job but rather they want to connect with the clients and their family,” Boals adds, “We are very family-focused; we are not just thinking about the numbers but instead are always thinking about the quality of care.”
Clearly the goal is to customize the care to the clients and fit into their households as seamlessly as possible. Her team makes sure that they understand their clients’ personal preferences in everything from their favorite games and TV shows to their preferred foods.
Bright Horizons Home Care offers a full breadth of home care support including companions, Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses.
Although most of their clients require some level of medical support, Boals does not use the term “patient”; instead she uses terms such as “client” and “our families”. The choice of words is purposeful.
“I value the relationships we have with our families and with our staff members. My psychology background (she has a BS in Nursing and a BA in Psychology from UNC Chapel Hill) helps me a great deal when working with people in difficult situations. It boils down to communication.”
Some of these relationships last for years. In fact, Bright Horizons still cares for their very first client, a young girl who is now 11 years old.
The Bright Horizons Home Care staff spend long hours with their clients in the home setting. Shifts are typically 12-plus hours, evenings, weekends and holidays.
“We often become the ‘family’ when the family is not available,” Boals adds.
Boals clearly feels that being immersed in families’ lives is a privilege. And she and her staff often are present for significant moments whether they are celebrating a child’s birthday or supporting a family through the loss of a loved one.
Boals has pushed Bright Horizons to a higher level, and is nationally accredited, in addition to being state licensed, insured, and bonded. To achieve their national accreditation, they are held to a higher standard of care covering infection control, background checks, as well as site visits and assessments.
In addition, her staff receives training before they begin working with clients, and receives continuing education throughout the year. Boals spends time in the field with her staff, as well. It helps her see how her families are being cared for and how her staff is doing in the homes.
“I go out to visit our clients. I like to be hands-on, not just in the office,” Boals explains, “and I have to care for my staff as well, so they do not burn-out.”
Building and running a successful home health care agency requires managing many moving parts, and, an encouraging family.
Boals has three children and a husband who works for a local bank, and a sister who also is a nurse. Her parents have retired to the area, as well.
“My husband and sister are great sounding boards! I am lucky to have such a supportive family.”
Bright Horizons Home Care started just 10 years ago and is now a thriving business built on the bonds created with people who need very special care in the intimacy of their homes.
“I am proud of how much we have grown in the past decade, but it is not about the growth as much as it is about helping the most people that we can. One of the greatest rewards I have received from this business is that my kids see me building this company and that they appreciate what I am trying to do, and most importantly, they see what can be done to help people.”
Bright Horizons Home Care is located at 110-b Applecross Rd, Pinehurst, NC. For information, call 910-246-0586. brighthorizonshomecare.com