Growing market boosts home health care
By MAX SHOWALTER
February 10, 2010
In the past 18 months, Home Helpers, Amedisys Home Health of Lafayette and Homecare by Design are among businesses that have opened to assist clients with services that range from bathing and grooming, to physical therapy and skilled nursing care.
"We are seeing there is more of a need for it," said Traci Goudy, who co-owns Homecare by Design. "But people are also becoming more aware that it is available as an option."
The demand for home health care is expected to grow over the next decade as baby boomers continue to get older and require assisted living services.
"Home care is being recognized by families and the medical community as a good way if folks want to stay at home and safe," said Ken Schwieterman, who co-owns Home Helpers with his wife, Gale.
"Home care is there to recognize that mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, need some help and a lot of families are spread out."
According to FRANdata, an independent research company that analyzes the franchise industry, the home health care industry grew by 13 percent each year between 2006 and 2008.
"This is a highly fragmented industry. The 50 largest brands control less than a quarter of the market share," said Darrell Johnson, FRANdata president and chief executive officer. "This is an important finding for investors because it means that any brand with the right leadership and resources put behind it can become the market leader."
Alice Benson, director of Amedisys Home Health of Lafayette, said agencies can provide varying degrees of service to clients.
"I think there's always a need for home health care because of the patient's situation," Benson said. "There's different types of home care."
Some clients require only housekeeping or transportation help. Others need medical, nursing and therapy services. And some are hospice patients who still live at home.
"There's no doubt about it, people are living longer and folks have stayed healthy and avoided events like heart attacks, strokes and falls," said Ken Schwieterman. "Seniors are the major driving force for home care, but disability and diseases can strike at any age and prompt the need for help at home."
For some people, home health care can serve as an alternative to staying in a nursing home.
"There are lots of options available to seniors that weren't there before," said Goudy. "It gives them the quality of life they deserve. They age gracefully and it's good for everybody."