One can choose to walk several paths to attain their goals; however, sometimes, unintentional paths can create a beautiful journey.
“I wish I could say this path was intentional in the beginning,” says Emma Dickison sharing the professional journey that has led her to become CEO and President at Home Helpers Home Care.
Emma attended college to become a high school teacher, where she learned that teaching, coaching, and developing people is the key to growing a successful business. Her early career started in corporate training and development. She managed increasing responsibilities that shaped her leadership qualities at Blockbuster and Sylvan.
Emma realized that her utmost essential duty as a leader was to help employees and companies realize their potential. The CEO position at Home Helpers Home Care provided her with the perfect opportunity to do just that. She focused on building and shaping a team that was as committed as she was to the company’s: To help people stay independent, safe, and happy as long as possible wherever they call home.
Emma notes, “As we’ve grown, we’ve added to our team and our outstanding network of franchisees. We’ve kept our focus on our mission. Our mission drives our spirit of innovation and rallies the team while we aggressively pursue our goals.”
Speaking about challenges that came across while pursuing goals, Emma realized that most people who accomplish great things face challenges. She asserts, “What decides how much you achieve is the risks you are willing to take, the bold choices you make, and your determination to keep moving forward.”
For the People
Emma dedicated the past fourteen years of her career, advancing senior care through Home Helpers and as an industry advocate through her work with the Home Care Association of America, serving as the President of the Board of Directors.
Most recently, Emma helped advocate for benefits for Home Care workers throughout this pandemic. Her tireless efforts ensured that Home Care aids are classified as essential personnel. She also created partnerships with PPE suppliers to ensure the safety of all Home Helper employees and their clients.
The Caring Hand
Home Helpers Home Care envisions becoming the most trusted and respected provider of comprehensive home care services and support to help people remain independent, happy, and safe wherever they call home.
Emma states that for those who work at the National Support Center, the company is a step removed from the direct delivery of care. Thus, she constantly reminds her team of the “WHY” behind the work which is best represented with the Exceptional Caregiver program. Emma shares, “Each year, we get hundreds of nominations from clients—we share these with our teams regularly—as they always show the importance of what we do and the genuine appreciation clients have for our Caregivers and the services provided.”
Emma expresses that the spirit of innovation drives the organization and keeps the team highly engaged, improving the lives of seniors and their families.
In 2021, Home Helpers launched its new Cared-4(sm) service offering, an innovative method that is changing how Home Care can help people stay independent as long as they choose and do so with affordable options for its clients.
Emma describes that Cared-4 starts with exceptional in-home care and leverages new ways to connect and engage the clients, which uniquely covers the four major risk factors associated with hospitalizations. From nutrition planning and meal preparation to medication reminders, wellness calls, and tech-enabled devices to help when an emergency arises, Cared-4 extends the continuum of in-home care and is the next generation of home care.
Tech to Care
As many seniors need added support to stay independent, they worry about home care’s financial and personal impact. As an organization, Home Helpers has dedicated itself to leveraging technology to enhance care and reduce costs for its franchisees and clients.
Emma states that leveraging in-home monitoring solutions can help the Home Helpers agency and a client’s family know if there’s been a fall, a change in routine, or even be alerted if there’s an emergency. She adds, “Having access to monitoring technology can give our clients greater freedom to enjoy their favorite activities, knowing that if they need assistance, we are the press of a button away. We are the first in our industry to use voice-controlled monitoring, as well as technology that provides the family and Caregiver’s key data points on the overall welfare of the client in an easy-to-use portal.”
Home Helpers also added Wellness Calls to its service offerings, allowing the franchisees to check in on clients when a Caregiver isn’t in the home. These calls provide invaluable social connections and life-saving reminders about medication or other routines necessary to keep the client safe and healthy.
Home Helper’s fully integrated back-end enterprise software system helps franchisees plan their staffing to reduce burnout and turnover of Caregivers by managing their workload more efficiently. The system provides access to data that helps the franchisees run more effectively and make better decisions for their staff and clients.
The industry is hyper-focused on the efficiency technology can create and the labor reductions from technology, especially robotics. Emma says, “I am hopeful that other executives like myself will weigh the benefits of these technologies with the greatly needed personal connection our clients deserve. In many cases, the bond between a Client and a Caregiver is highly personal and is one of the greatest gifts that come from working with a group like Home Helpers Home Care.”
Preparing to Overcome Hurdles
Labor shortages are the most significant challenge home care agencies face today and likely into the next couple of years. Demand for home care services has only increased since the pandemic, and with the aging trends of the population, demand will likely continue to grow.
Operators will need to find ways to reduce turnover, increase hiring efficiency and enhance the Caregiver’s experience. Home Helpers provides franchisees with ongoing training programs that their Caregivers can do virtually to develop new skills and create greater opportunities for themselves.
It has developed recognition programs that showcase the fantastic work Caregivers do and help those interested see the valuable support that Caregivers provide to encourage others to consider a career change.
Senior Care is essential to Emma as she was a family caregiver for years. She shares, “I understand how invaluable the work is. I can’t envision a future where I don’t connect to this industry in some shape or fashion. For Home Helpers Home Care, I see a very bright future focused on supporting our franchisees with innovative programs that continue to help them grow and serve their community. We’ve achieved double-digit compound annual system-revenue growth for the past ten years. I see our growth continuing both in terms of gaining market share and in industry growth overall.”
Emma advises aspiring entrepreneurs to jump in with both feet as the industry will continue with numerous tailwinds driving the field forward. “Our population is aging, living longer, and living with more chronic conditions. We need people who want to make a difference and positively contribute to the quality of life of their clients/patients and their employees and co-workers,” Emma concludes.