August 31, 2018
Home is where the heart is
Old age comes to us all and with it comes a unique set of lifestyle and healthcare challenges. Kendall Morton, mum-of-four and owner of award-winning business Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast is making her mark on the industry by offering exemplary in-home services for the elderly.
“I started out in the aged care industry two years ago, and for the first time ever I felt I was exactly where I was meant to be,” says Kendall Morton.
“I had never felt as fulfilled or passionate about work before. It felt like such a fit, I couldn’t wait to go to work every day.”
Previously, Kendall worked in education and accounting. Her initial foray into aged care was an administration role with another business and when the opportunity presented to purchase the Sunshine Coast franchise of Home Care Assistance, she jumped in at the deep end.
“I just thought, ‘Let’s do this’, I don’t want to have any regrets. We started with no clients, no staff and a plan and it has grown bigger than what I ever could have dreamed of,” says Kendall.
Servicing Redcliffe to Bundaberg, Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast is a franchise model, which provides care on an hourly, daily or temporary respite basis. They offer support from basic daily living through to more advanced or specialised care for conditions such as stroke or Alzheimer’s.
A relatively new business model to Australia, Kendall had her work cut out to comply with Australian standards and in developing new policies and procedures.
“It is quite a successful model in the United States, but completely different to what we have here in Australia,” says Kendall.
“We are incredibly lucky to have such a huge part of the Federal budget dedicated to aged care and disability, they have an entirely private pay model over there, they don’t have any government funding.”
However, it doesn’t come without lots of checks and balances.
“In Australia we can have the most beautiful franchise model in the world but ultimately we are responsible and accountable to the Australian Government, we have to meet their standards,” she says.
“There was a lot of development around policy and procedures and manuals and employment standards, it was the toughest year of my life, but I worked so hard and it was a great opportunity for me to demonstrate to myself what I am capable of. I have never been in a position where I was making big decisions for an entire organisation and yet I found myself in that position and I did what I had to do.”
Not someone to shy away from a challenge or hard work, Kendall was also responsible for creating and implementing a brand new software system for the business, Australia-wide.
“I knew that in order to be efficient you have to have good tools, and software is one of those tools. For the first 12 months I configured the new software system and did the training and roll-out. That was probably my biggest challenge because I underestimated the time it would take.
“I also created an entire set of instruction videos for people who are visual learners and a matching user guide and did 24-hour on-call support for all the other franchises.
“But when I look back I didn’t feel stressed, you run on adrenalin. Thankfully those days are behind me and I look at other business owners now and I realise we have all gone through times like that.”
Kendall is also quick to point out that without her amazing team behind her, she could not have achieved the success she has today.
“I’m so lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in my vision and work so hard to meet those expectations,” she says.
So what makes Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast so successful?
“We offer all aspects of in-home support such as meal prep, medication, respite services, social support, shopping, cleaning, transport to appointments, anything that can help people stay safe and happy in their own home.
“But the difference is that we take it a
lot further than the basics. Our care planning really revolves around relationships and giving people happiness and a sense of purpose.
“As people age, there are really high instances of anxiety and depression. They lose that sense of purpose. Our model is more holistic. It’s just as much about overall happiness as it is getting those tasks done.”
At the heart of what Kendall and her 52 staff are most passionate about is carer consistency and ensuring clients are comfortable with who they are welcoming into the privacy of their own home.
“We know our clients, their background, their stories. We know they are feeling quite vulnerable at this stage of their life, they lose a lot of confidence.
“So if they have three or four services a week, we will keep it to two carers and any time there is a change, they receive a call so they are aware of the plan. It’s also important for us as carers because when you see someone regularly you will notice any changes in their health, if you don’t know them, you won’t have a baseline to compare.”
Kendall’s hard work was recognised at the Sunshine Coast Business Awards in November, when the business won two categories, Health and Customer Service and Engagement.
“I was not expecting it at all. It was great to just be a finalist,” says Kendall.
“We were up against some truly remarkable businesses, so when they
called out my name, not once but twice, I was in shock.
“To win the best in customer service across all business types was incredible. I got a bit teary because customer service is such a big driver for me.
“I feel so honoured to be making a difference in an industry I love so much.”
Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast
Phone: 5491 6888