Healthcare is all about people: people who provide care and people who receive care. Amy Nelson, Accurate Home Care founder and CEO, knew that by focusing on the people aspect of healthcare, she could create an organization to provide quality homecare that made a difference for both clients and healthcare providers.
In 2002, Nelson, just 18 years old at the time, started Accurate Homecare in Zimmerman, Minn, believing she could provide better home care than other agencies in the area. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Nelson grew the company to 2,100 employees over the next decade, extending the company’s reach to three states in the Midwest: Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.
Today, Accurate Home Care provides more than 2 million client service hours per year and offers a variety of services for its clients: skilled nursing visits, hourly nursing, mental health behavioral aide, a variety of therapies and respite services, to name a few. Nelson continues to make sure employees are treated with respect and compassion and that patients receive the best care possible. “It’s very important [in this business] that both employees and clients are satisfied,” she explains. “Both are a critical part of the success of the business.”
One of the key elements Nelson provides to employees is empowerment. “Everyone wants to feel like what they are doing as a job makes a difference in the world and provides value,” she says. “By the nature of this business, we can do that. We see the progression of clients who come to us and get stronger and healthier. We can also make someone’s last days as comfortable as possible.”
Accurate has a clearly defined process to help it provide the highest quality of patient care. The first step is to establish a clinical management model that pairs up nurses and social workers to come up with the most adequate care plan for each client. This ensures both the medical and emotional needs are considered.
Illustrating its dedication to serving people’s needs, the company hosts “meet and greets” to let patients pick their caregivers and also to give its employees an opportunity to pick the patients they feel would be the best match for them.
Another element contributing to the growth and success of the company is a dedication to continuous improvement. “We give employees and clients the chance to give us feedback constantly,” Nelson explains. “We gather that feedback and change the processes to provide better care and be more effective.”
The company also is committed to education and provides regular training to help employees adapt to the changes in healthcare and provide the best care possible. “We are seeing faster discharges [from hospitals] and higher expectations of care that should be happening at home,” Nelson notes. “For example, as we started seeing more people being discharged with IVs in place, we implemented a central line curriculum for our nurses. It used to be an option, but now it’s a mandatory core class.”
That is just one of the examples of how Accurate Home Care is adapting to meet the changing needs of its patients. “We want our staff to be well prepared to take care of all patients,” she says, “so we’ve increased a lot of the educational requirements, which has been a change for the company.”
In the spirit of truly providing value in the areas where it serves, Accurate Home Care established a corporate responsibility campaign in 2009 to contribute to local charitable organizations. “We sponsor a room at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital in Minnesota,” Nelson says. “We also provide a home-cooked meal each month for families in one of the Ronald McDonald houses in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.”
The company sponsors the West Metro Miracle League in Minnetonka, an organization that provides children with cognitive and or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball. Accurate Home Care also participates in Relay for Life events in the Midwest to raise money for the American Cancer Society, the Eastern Iowa Kidney Walk, Polar Plunge for Special Olympics and Epilepsy Walks.
Accurate Home Care has invested in education and customer service, but the company has not put great emphasis on advertising. “We have grown truly from word of mouth; our No. 1 referrals, still today, come from our clients and our employees,” Nelson says. “We’ve been able to grow, improve and become the leader and most respected provider in Minnesota and the Midwest simply because we’re doing a good job.”
Nelson feels she has achieved the goal she set for herself when she started the company in 2002. “We are doing what we set out to do, which was to be a great provider for both our clients and our employees,” she notes. But she is not done extending the company’s reach.
Accurate Home Care is not looking to “grow just to grow,” as Nelson puts it, but is looking to add services that might complement what the company currently offers, such as equipment and group homes for some of its clients.