Patient shows phone to caretaker

More competition is coming to the home care industry from an unlikely source: senior living communities.

The HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN) — which helps senior living providers expand into home care — said assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities have powerful brand recognition that can be easily leveraged for new home care opportunities.

Mark Goetz

“We liken it to the sleeping bear,” HCAN President and CEO Mark Goetz told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. “We really believe over the next 10 years senior living is positioned to best broadly across multiple markets to be the largest provider of in-home services because of the strength of their local brands.” 

To prove that point, HCAN recently surveyed 200 women aged 45 and older about how they would like to care for aging loved ones. The survey found 95% of respondents were somewhat or very interested in home care services offered by a local senior care community. Nearly 50% said they would likely engage a respected senior care community to provide in-home services over other options.

Goetz said the ties that many senior living providers have with healthcare facilities in their own communities makes in-home care a natural extension of their businesses.

“Senior living has a strong referral provider base with hospitals and social workers already. So the idea is that a trusted source is beginning to expand services, rather than an entrepreneur who might be a start-up,” Goetz said.

Goetz said HCAN recently helped Olathe, KS-based Bickford Senior Living expand into home care. He said while there are definite synergies between facility-based care and in-home care, the two businesses must operate independently.

“They need to structure it like a new business — one that’s separate from, but complementary to their current services offerings,” Goetz said.

Industry consolidation in home care, home healthcare and hospice has been ramping up in recent years. Large providers including LCH Group, Amedisys and Encompass are all on the hunt for smaller agencies in an effort to expand their footprints.