As the population ages and more intense home-health care needs are required, two New Jersey firms announced Thursday they are making changes to prepare for the upcoming influx of patients.
Moorestown-based Bayada Home Health Care, formerly called Bayada Nurses, updated its name to reflect the varied home-health care professionals it employs, including occupational therapists, social workers and speech pathologists.
“The industry is maturing and providing the broader range of services to give people and families alternatives to institutional facility-based care in the whole spectrum, from support services to very highly skilled nurses and even medical care now,” said Mark Baiada, founder and president of Bayada Home Health Care.
Bayada operates in 24 states, including a recent acquisition of a care team with a presence on all of the Hawaiian Islands, and employs more than 17,000 people in a multidisciplinary effort to coordinate care.
“Coordinating the care in the home — I think hospitals have a hard enough time doing it in one building — we have to do it all over the neighborhood, so to speak,” Baiada said. “Part of the challenge of making home care a viable alternative is to coordinate the different services so they’re there when the client needs them. It’s something we’ve been working on for 37 years.”
Baiada said in order to prepare for the “tsunami” of baby boomers reaching the age when in-home care is more needed, the company is looking to continue hiring staff and increase education of current employees in providing mission-based care.
In Hackensack, Freedom Home Healthcare, formerly Freedom Eldercare, is expanding its geographical footprint through three targeted acquisitions. The firm announced Thursday the addition of home-care agencies in Marlton, Gibbsboro and Elkins Park, Pa., in order to reach the entire state and add nursing and pediatric care to the roster of services.
Barbara London, senior vice president of Freedom, said the company had reached its peak in delivering in-home care to senior patients in the northern part of the state, and decided nearly three years ago to use organic growth, as well as mergers and acquisitions to expand the company’s platforms and footprint.
“We chose smaller companies because we felt that they would be ready for some change,” London said. “The owners had run nice small businesses, were very content, but really felt that with an infusion of energy, they could be sparked to their potential.”
The acquisitions added roughly 350 employees to Freedom, and London said they are preparing to add at least 35 more health care professionals.
London, whose career has focused on geriatric care, said one of the challenges she’s seen while expanding the company’s services is how “to talk about babies and nursing care was a clash of certain cultures and philosophies.”
London said the first 10 customers of its new nursing care service were geriatric home-care clients who needed follow-up care after hospital stays. The clients were thrilled, according to London, that care continued seamlessly without having to deal with additional professionals or agencies.
“It was something we hadn’t anticipated,” London said. “We didn’t know it would take off so quickly and dramatically.”
London said she’s concerned, but not worried, about health care reform, because the success of these acquisitions has shown her “this is only the beginning.”