The Future of In-Home Care

KinCare Group

Since it was formed over 20 years ago by registered nurse Margaret Howie, KinCare has grown and adapted to changes in the health care industry, yet remains committed to ongoing research, staff training and development, consistent high quality care, and achieving the best possible outcome for all clients across Australia.

A private, family-owned company, KinCare was created out of a passion for ensuring older persons received the high standard of care, support and compassion they deserve. As an RN, Margaret Howie wanted to be an integral part of an organisation that truly cared for older individuals and made a positive difference in their lives, regardless of their socio-economic background or circumstances.

While she was working with a nursing service in 1990 and 1991, the service merged with another, which enabled her to separate from the service. With a small group of customers – and in consultation with a nursing service and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs – she launched KinCare Nursing Service with 16 customers in 1992. Growing in scale and the number of services it provides, KinCare today has around 150 employees in the office and over 1,000 working with individuals in their homes.

“Some clients needed a new service provider as a result of a restructure, and she figured she could do as well, if not better, for those clients doing the services herself and setting up her own organisation rather than simply transfer them elsewhere,” explains Jason Howie, Chief Executive Officer of KinCare. To keep pace with growth and changes to the in-home health services industry, Mr Howie – a Chartered Accountant who grew up in the family business and shared his mother’s commitment to quality – joined the company.

His skills as a CA and background working with prestigious accounting firm Arthur Andersen have greatly benefitted KinCare. Starting as General Manager, Mr Howie’s strong financial and management skills enabled growth in all areas of the business, as he initiated a process of investing in KinCare’s personnel and quality, management and information technology systems.

“People with accounting backgrounds are quite well suited to the health industry because of the reliance on compliance, process, and risk management,” explains Mr Howie. “At KinCare, we’ve always had a really good reputation for being organised and professional, responsive and innovative.”

A Tradition of Caring

Over the years, KinCare has grown to become one of Australia’s leading providers of in-home care and support services, delivering the highest standards in community care to thousands of customers across Australia. With offices in all states except for the Northern Territory, KinCare is able to cover both large metropolitan centres and many regional areas, and continue to expand.

KinCare is proud to offer the highest quality home and community care services available for all budgets. Costs vary depending on the type of home care services chosen, and whether the service receives a Government subsidy. “We provide services to a wide range of clients, from quite young children through to people at the end of their lives,” says Mr Howie. Among the company’s packaged care services are Community Aged Care Packages, Extended Aged Care at Home, rehabilitation, and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia. Providing services privately, KinCare is contracted by government, church, charitable and community organisations to provide services on their behalf.

To determine specific customer needs, KinCare has staff trained to conduct assessments, along with program managers and case managers. Customers often learn of KinCare through the different programs it runs, through referrals or assessments, by meeting one of the organisation’s caring staff members, or after receiving services from another organisation.

From domestic assistance to housekeeping, personal care to social support, meal preparation to medication management, and home nursing to rehabilitation support, the skilled, compassionate and caring team at KinCare is available to meet the needs of customers and their caregivers, through a range of respite services.

When a friend or loved one is ill, they need help, and those people caring for them will sacrifice time and sometimes their own wellbeing to help out. The unsung heroes of the community, it is essential for these carers to take a break themselves periodically to take care of their own basic needs, visit friends, or even take a vacation to rejuvenate themselves mind, body, and spirit. In cases where, for example, a wife is looking after her husband who is struggling with dementia and he requires full-time care or supervision, KinCare is there to help.

“We can provide a staff member to allow that particular unpaid carer a break, so they can go do something as simple as getting their hair done or go shopping,” explains Mr Howie. “It is something that we do quite extensively across the country.” From monitoring medications to providing personal care, helping with housework, meal preparation, nursing care, transport or even reading letters and books to those in need, KinCare can provide a range of respite care services, ranging from short regular intervals to live-in care over many weeks or months.

Building a United Team

More than 18 months have passed since KinCare, Stanhope and Private Care became a single organisation. Working toward building a strong, united team from the three separate businesses, Stanhope was rebranded as KinCare on February 18th of this year. As the three separate business entities were providing many of the same services to similar markets and customers, the move made sense on all levels.

“It was a great way of achieving some scale with what we regarded as being a relatively small amount of risk for a transaction of that size,” comments Mr Howie. Although the Stanhope logo will cease to exist, the very essence of the organisation will continue to live on within KinCare, which will continue to build upon the positive business culture of Stanhope and maintain its structures, values, and culture.

From a business perspective, the rebranding will reduce paperwork, streamline workforces and processes, and benefit KinCare staff and customers alike as the organisation becomes more efficient in the delivery of in-home health care services to all clients.

“Clients are benefitting – as are our staff – from the fact that we have significantly more resources across the combined organisation to focus on various improvement projects and experience projects and so on that we wouldn’t have had as a smaller organisation,” says Mr Howie of the recent rebranding. In addition to enabling greater efficiencies within KinCare, along with improved project management, additional cash resources, and greater intellectual capacity, the rebranding will enable KinCare to upgrade its IT and communication systems, a growing, key factor in the successful delivery of health care services.

Keeping Pace with Technology

There is no denying the positive role technology plays in the Health and Community Services industry, a role which is growing and evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. With changes to health care provision and funding at the Government level, and a need for managing compliance, technology will remain an integral part of the delivery of quality health-related services. These factors, along with an increasing ability for clients to choose their health care service provider and the need to balance expenditures, is seeing organisations like KinCare embrace technologies which benefit the company, staff, carers and customers.

Until the past few years, app-based devices like iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys, and other Smartphones were the stuff of the future. Today, these devices are not only growing at an explosive rate, but they allow KinCare to achieve more with less, which has resulted in “Bring Your Own Device,” a philosophy becoming widely adopted by IT departments worldwide. With so many different devices available, companies are challenged to keep pace; as a result, many provide the software and have staff use their own devices.

“A whole range of technology trends are converging, including Cloud computing, the BYOD movement, skyrocketing Smartphone adoption rates, and social media, which is so established globally that it is making its way into standard software packages,” comments Mr Howie. “You’ve got all these trends converging at the moment, and if you’re not in the process, in my view, of upgrading your software platforms at a generational level, there’s a whole range of experiences that you’re just not going to be able to deliver to your customers and employees, which other organisations will be able to.

“The whole technology level, in my view, has just changed at a seismic level over the past 12 to 18 months, as we need to be in a position where we’re able to adopt a lot of those solutions.”

Technology, says KinCare’s CEO, is one of several challenges facing the health care industry in Australia today. With huge changes underway at the Government policy level, along with ongoing social and political change and aged care reforms, providers are challenged with how health care services are being delivered into homes. As Government funding is reduced, there is the added challenge of managing budgets while dealing with wage costs. KinCare is prepared to meet these challenges head-on by being responsive, embracing and maintaining technological platforms to meet client experience goals, and being economically responsible while within a regulatory framework that is being delivered by Government.

“We’re providing a customised service to thousands of individual clients across the country, so we need to be able to provide enough flexibility for people to be able to respond on the ground to what they’re being faced with, but at the same time ensure that we’ve got a basic standard of service that is being delivered to everybody under the KinCare brand,” Mr Howie says.

“It’s about the range of services that we’ve got to offer, and the scale that we’ve got to be able to meet different needs in so many different places. We’ve got the capacity to be delivering very specific cultural services or very specific disability-related services in very hard to reach places at times, because we’ve got the scale to do that.”

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October 20, 2018, 12:03 PM AEDT

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