All About Home Care

All About Home Care (AAHC) is a premier home health care agency that has been providing independence and peace of mind to hundreds of families since 2003. Located on Aquidneck Island, AAHC provides personal care services, homemaking, and companionship to Newport and Bristol counties.

Designed for people living alone in need of additional help with their everyday activities, AAHC offers the “choice” of staying relatively independent at home — rather than moving in with a son/daughter, or into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility – while having the services of a private, personally-tailored assistant, chauffeur, and companion. Highly-qualified and trained caregivers are ready to help with a variety of daily activities and services in managing everyday life. A home assistance program is created and tailored to each client’s personal requirements and might include light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation to doctor or hairdresser appointments, errand running, grocery shopping, meal planning, assistance with grooming and personal care, monitoring bathing safety, and always above-all the vital gift of basic companionship.

Beginning in a tiny home-based office with just Executive Director Kathleen Devlin, her vision, determination and expertise at the helm, All About Home Care, LLC started to grow. At its inception in January of 2003, AAHC received its Certificate of Organization from the state of Rhode Island, offering non-medical services that could be scheduled for a few hours, a whole day, a few days/week, or “24-7”. In 2004, Kathleen took on a one-room office in Middletown. One desk, a copier, a printer, and a file cabinet filled the space and two or three people had to take turns using the office. The company outgrew its confines in just two years and moved its operations to the conveniently-located Irongate Building in Middletown in 2006. In May of 2007, Kathleen became a Certified Geriatric Care Manager (one of seven in RI) to expand AAHC’s services to include a health and human services professional with a specialized body of knowledge and experience related to aging and elder care issues. On January 1, 2009, the services expanded again with the acquisition of The Rhode Island Department of Health Home Nursing Care Provider license. This license allows AAHC to offer Certified Nursing Assistants and Nursing Services; both much needed to support the clients that started with the agency several years earlier, who need more personal and medical care than companionship at this time.  The ability to offer a continuum of care led the company to move again in January 2010 to a suite double the size in the same building. Occupying 2,100 square feet, each member of Kathleen’s administrative team finally had their own office and they also gained a training room that seated 20, a kitchen, a file storage room, and two bathrooms!

AAHC has experienced consistent and significant growth in both sales and staff since inception. The company has seen double-digit growth in revenue for four out of the last five years with almost 17% growth in 2011. That being said, AAHC has also seen a steady growth of employees over the years and today is hiring three or four people each month for care giving. The current administrative team has expanded to include a Staff Coordinator, Accounting Manager, Human Resource Generalist, Office Manager, three Registered Nurses (2.0 FTE) and a care giving team that consists of thirty-four Certified Nurse Assistants and thirty-eight Homemakers. This is a staff of seventy-nine employees with thirty-two persons being full-time. The turnover rate for this industry is high, but many of the staff have been with AAHC for several years and the Administrative team has not seen any changes except growth.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce (NCCOC) have also played a big part in helping Kathleen through difficult times and adversity. SBA assisted Kathleen with classes, print materials, website information and counseling and also worked with Sovereign Bank to guarantee a loan to provide computer equipment for the first office expansion.  As AAHC continued to grow, SBDC reached out to Kathleen and offered an opportunity to participate with ‘Professionals Available to Help’ (PATH). The impact the PATH Council Members made on the issues and problems that Kathleen brought to their attention mid 2009 were notable. The PATH Council identified areas that needed to be ‘fixed’ and better yet offered the solutions!

SBDC has also fostered relationships with several Rhode Island colleges and universities.  These relationships have offered a chance for Kathleen to take advantage of several unique opportunities from internships for student nurses to senior class projects.

In October, 2009, Kathleen was approached by the SBDC to work with the MGT 490: Strategic Business Planning class of Salve Regina University. This senior project provided the students with an opportunity to develop a viable business plan including resources/operations plan, and financial plan based on actual data for AAHC. Kathleen was able to take this presentation and determine what information and changes would be pertinent for her to review as she made plans for the future of AAHC. Recently, a second opportunity presented itself to Kathleen and AAHC as she was again approached by the SBDC to participate with Johnson & Wales University.

Lastly, informative seminars and events held by the Newport County Chamber of Commerce (NCCOC) assisted Kathleen in attaining the skills and knowledge that she was lacking as a new business owner (i.e., writing a press release, understanding state and federal tax regulations, social networking, etc.).

Thanks to her determination and help from local organizations, Kathleen gladly accepted the award for Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year for 2011 on behalf of AAHC as well as the Newport County Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Award.

Kathleen has also succeeded in establishing a work environment at AAHC that sets it apart from other agencies.  This goal was accomplished by creating a team of caregivers and administrative staff that enjoy working together, are always ready to assist when needed, and yet keep their days rewarding and fulfilling by having the flexibility of defining their own schedules and work environments.  AAHC is able to offer such a benefit, by carefully weaving together the desires of both client and caregiver regarding location, timing, skill strengths, etc.  As the staff recruiter emphasizes to prospective employees, “Tell us where you would like to work, what you like to do, and what hours you are available; and we will take it from there!”

Even the administrative team has been offered a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) which includes telework/telecommuting, flex-time, compressed work week and banking of hours.  These benefits have been found to increase job satisfaction, energy, creativity, and the ability to handle stress.  They have also enhanced the company’s ability to attract, motivate and retain experienced, high-performing employees for both care giving and administrative positions.

Due to the unrelenting motivation to keeping both employees and clients content, as well as through help from local government and the community, All About Home Care is sure to enjoy continuing growth and success in the years to come.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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