Homewatch CareGivers: Taking It to the Streets

April 23, 2014
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

As someone who first discovered The Eden Alternative as a family member, I’ve always been passionate about how person-directed care can make a difference in home and community-based settings. The marriage of the two has always been a no-brainer to me. After all, over 80% of care services are now being provided in the home. But like any revolutionary process, it can take time to build a critical mass of early adopters to drive change that really makes a difference.

Author Malcolm Gladwell reminds us that there’s a tipping point we seek that transforms bold new ideas into “business as usual.” When The Eden Alternative first extended its reach beyond the walls of the nursing home through Eden at Home, we knew we had some mountains to move, and that it would take some determined and deeply committed individuals to demonstrate what amazing things were possible. We also knew that we could really get some traction, if we could secure a corporate-wide commitment to infuse person-directed ideas throughout a large network of home care services. In late 2009, a gentleman named Brian Levitan attended a Certified Eden at Home Associate Training I was facilitating. He took to the concepts very quickly and was eager to return to the home care franchise he owned in Ottawa to put them into action. By 2012, Brian’s enthusiasm about Eden at Home had piqued the interest of the mother ship for his franchise business. Homewatch CareGivers International, the corporate entity for over 225 franchise partners, wanted to explore creating a company-wide strategy to incorporate The Eden Alternative into the daily operations of its franchise partners. Needless to say, this got our attention.

Fast-forward to 2014.  Homewatch CareGivers is the first home care organization to launch a strategic corporate-wide initiative to implement The Eden Alternative.  Their plan involved training many new Certified Eden at Home Associates, certifying 2 new Eden Educators for their team, and collaborating with The Eden Alternative to create a special webinar-based version of Certified Eden at Home Associate Training. One challenge unique to small home care businesses is how especially difficult it is for team members to take money and time away for on-site training. Using an online platform to teach their network about person-directed care a la Eden has provided a user-friendly and cost-effective solution.

Leann Reynolds, President of Homewatch CareGivers International says, “Not only does this partnership offer our employees industry-leading training and tools, it will also help family caregivers reengage with their loved ones.” The fun doesn’t stop with the training though. Homewatch CareGivers has devised a coordinated plan for follow-up, support, and accountability that will keep their franchise partners growing in their application of what they’ve learned.

“In the past, we’ve always been so task-oriented that I think we lost sight of the person,” says Sue Cook, Owner of Homewatch CareGivers of Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV. She and her co-worker Cynthia Knight recently participated in the first online Certified Eden at Home Associate Training facilitated through Homewatch CareGivers International. Particularly struck by The Eden Alternative’s distinction between treatment and genuine care, Cook anticipates that her employees will gain more insight into their clients and learn how to build on their new awareness effectively, as a result of Eden at Home.

Plans for additional rounds of Certified Eden at Home Associate Training Online are in the works for Homewatch CareGivers International, so we look forward to hearing more as their network grows and deepens its application of The Eden Alternative. Tipping point, indeed….

Do you have a success story involving a corporate wide strategy to implement person-directed care? Let us hear it. Sharing your story may inspire others to take their culture change journey to new heights.

Certified Eden at Home Associate Training Online is available exclusively to Homewatch CareGivers through the end of 2014.

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