WPRV – South Coast Seniors – Radio Interview with Kevin Williams, Care Coordinator
Southcoast Seniors – A show for Seniors and About Seniors with Don Drake along with Attorney RJ Connelly III, Certified Elder Law Attorney. Southcoast Seniors is brought to you by Connelly Law Offices with locations in Pawtucket, Rhode Island – Mystic, Connecticut – and Oak Bluffs, Mass, out on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard.
This episode is a question and answers session with Kevin Williams, Care Coordinator from FCP Live-In on WPRV, Southcoast Seniors Radio Magazine, brought to you by Connely Law. Kevin Williams talks about FCP Live-In, Live-In Caregivers, and Caregiving.
Radio Transcription for “Southcoast Seniors – A show for Seniors and About Seniors.”
Welcome to Southcoast Seniors – A show for Seniors and About Seniors. I’m Don Drake along with Attorney RJ Connelly III, Certified Elder Law Attorney.
Southcoast Seniors is brought to you by Connelly Law Offices with locations in Pawtucket, Rhode Island – Mystic, Connecticut – and Oak Bluffs, Mass, out on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard. We’re every Thursday from 4pm to 5pm right here on 790 WPRV and we hope you join us weekly for all things senior.
On this week’s show, our focus is going to be on a different type of home care, live-in providers.
Our guest this week is Kevin Williams, Care Coordinator for FCP Live-In Caregivers.
Before we meet Kevin, let’s review some information that is newsworthy for our seniors and senior providers. It’s a fact the majority of people want to remain at home as they age. After all, home is where individuals have built their families, make memories, keep cherished possessions, and pets, and visit with family and friends whenever they like. We have had wonderful assisted living providers on our show but sometimes, this is not always the best solution, and a part-time home health aide may not provide enough support, especially when dementia-related illnesses are involved. In such cases, another type of in-home support is available, that being live-in care providers.
Today, we are meeting Kevin Williams, a Care Coordinator with FCP Live-In Care providers.
Kevin, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me guys.
Q. You have had a very interesting background in the healthcare field, can you tell us about that and why you are focused now on live-in care for seniors?
Sure. I actually am a nurse myself in Rhode Island, but I have also been a nurse in Massachusetts as well. So I’ve had a little bit of a wide variety background. In my first nursing job, I ran a prison medical facility in Massachusetts, and then I moved into assistant living memory care, (and) skilled nursing. I’ve been an executive director, (and) director of nursing. So, I’ve been pretty much through the health care system.
Q. Can you explain exactly what live-in care is and how this concept started?
Sure, absolutely. With all of the crazy stuff going on in the world today, it’s actually been something that has been growing for us as well. A lot of people—with what’s going on in the world with COVID and the pandemic—their loved ones, they would prefer them not to be in facilities, if possible, or at least not as long as maybe previously done. So, they’re trying to stay home. They don’t know when their loved ones are going to be going into lockdown and they can’t see them. So, that’s where we step in.
FCP has been around, believe it or not, for 23 years. We’re headquartered out of Stratford, Connecticut, and we actually cover all of the New England states, with the exception of New Hampshire which we’re working on now. And, the owner is also looking at possibly expanding into New York and New Jersey.
Q. Before we get into the actual nuts and bolts of live-in care, can you give us some background on FCP Live-In?
Sure. FCP Live-In started 23 years ago, and they have a really unique model there. There are other companies out there that do live-in home care but one of the things—especially working in facilities—and let me preface this with I believe that every aspect of health care has value and sometimes the facility is good for some people; sometimes, you know, the live-in care is a much better fit. So, what we do is a little bit unique and the process by which we do it is a little bit unique.
So, what we do is we actually have caregivers that we recruit from all over the country. So, we’re not limited to the local pool of people, which means we don’t typically have the same staffing issues as most organizations are feeling these days during the pandemic. And, what we do is the clients will discuss their needs with us. We will have them fill out some paperwork and some of that paperwork is actually based on not only their diagnoses but also personality traits as well. And, all of our caregivers that we hire take something similar before they come on board. And, once everybody goes through the vetting process and the national background checks and all of that, once we bring them on board and their training, we put all of their information into a computer system. And, the clients when they come on board we add them, and with the click of a button, it will actually narrow down the pool of people that can work with that client.
For instance, if somebody had a pet, it would automatically eliminate any caregivers with a pet allergy. If somebody has dementia, it would narrow the pool down to people that had experience working with clients with dementia. And, once that’s done, they narrow down the pool, they identify somebody for the case. And, our corporate headquarters is directly across the street from a train station. So, they have that caregiver come in on the train. Our transportation team picks them up, and brings them across the street to corporate. They get trained on their case, they pick up their supplies and we have apartments upstairs at our corporate headquarters we call the “crash pad,” that’s our loving name for it, so they hang out overnight in the crash pad. The next day they get into the vehicles and they just go out anywhere in New England we have a case. We drop them right off at the front door.
When we come back, we are going to continue our discussion with Kevin Williams of FCP Live-In home Care.
You’re listening to Southcoast Seniors Radio Magazine on am790, WPRV.
Welcome back to Southcoast Seniors.
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And we welcome back Kevin Williams of FCP Live-In Home Care and we are discussing another option for seniors aging in place. Let’s start our discussion of the basic operations of FCP Live-In.
Q. Who is the ideal caregiver that FCP is looking for?
The ideal person is somebody caring and that’s really the name of the game. Somebody, that is, (who) looks at clients as if they were a member of their own family. Quite honestly, that happens in a lot of cases where our caregivers move in; and, depending upon the amount of time that they’re there, they become part of the family. We have a 14-day minimum but we’ve also had caregivers living in the same home for over 17 years.
Q. How soon can you place a caregiver?
Typically speaking, generally, it’s a three- to five-business day turnaround. The more detailed the client wants it, the longer period of time it might take. We do offer if they’re looking for somebody that is a driver, sometimes that’s a deal-breaker if we can’t find a driver. So, we do our best. Not everybody comes in and wants to drive somebody else’s vehicle they go right on the client’s insurance.
Some people aren’t comfortable driving around in a state that they don’t really know, and other people come in and they are perfectly fine with it. So, that’s part of that whole screening process at the beginning. If they want a driver, that will also go into that profile for the computer to try to locate.
Q. What is your caregiver recruitment process like? For instance, what types of assessments do you do? Do you do background checks, both criminal and driving?
Yes, they actually do national background checks. The owner’s wife is an immigration attorney so she is very vigilant when it comes to all of the I-9 paperwork and everything that goes along with that. And, they’re all our employees. We’re not a registry. We actually hire these people as employees. They’re covered by our Workers’ Compensation and they’re all insured. So, that’s another layer of protection for our clients.
Q. How do you match the caregivers with the client? What does this process look like?
Most of it is done through the computer system and a lot of our caregivers have been on board with us for a while. We have an entire recruiting team that works on outreach to different states, different parts of the country trying to recruit people.
And, part of that process, the people that are already on board come into our corporate headquarters, (and) they go through a very strict process as far as the onboarding. And, once they’re onboard there’s training, there’s different tests that they have to take. We have to make sure because the majority of our population is elderly and some of them may have some issues with hearing, so they have to be able to speak English clearly, they have to be able to read and write. So, these are all part of the process that we use to get people onboard and a lot of it is just our operations people scheduling people knowing the different caregivers from over the course of time and that also plays a role in the decision of who gets placed where.
Q. Is the same caregiver assigned to the same client?
They’re actually in the home until they don’t want to be in the home anymore. They work 9 hours out of the 24-hour day. What I try to explain to clients is we can be as visible or as invisible as you want us to be. I’ve had some people that say, “Listen, I want this done in the morning and then I don’t want to see them until I need them.” And, we’ve had other people that prefer more hands-on or they like that person to socialize with them.
The schedule really evolves based on what’s going on in each individual household, which is nice. I have some clients that like to be up at 5:00 a.m. I have others that like to sleep until 9:00, 9:30 so everything just kind of flows. The caregivers will not only do they care for the client, they also do medication reminders, they’ll do the cooking, the cleaning and they take care of things around the house. So, the caregiver does that for them, they don’t have to worry. It’s one less thing that they and their families don’t have to be concerned with.
Q. Does someone relieve the caregiver, say, at 3:00?
It’s the same person and that’s one of the nice features. I have a lot of relationships with people that do hourly agencies and we actually refer to one another based on the case. If it’s not something I feel is a good fit for a live-in, I will call one of my partners and they will forward it to them. But, when you have different people coming in multiple shifts, they don’t get a chance to learn the baseline of that patient. Because it’s one (live-in) person all the time, they notice those subtle changes and we’ve had instances where we’ve caught UTI’s and we’ve caught things going on medically. What they do is they contact our office, we use a program called “Health Talk” and it sends out a text to every caregiver in the field every day between 9:00 and 10:00 with a basic set of five questions. Based on the responses that come in, a field supervisor who happens to be an RN, who has been a nurse for 30 years, she will reach out to the caregiver, investigate further, and if need be, get the local VNA or whoever’s on board with the case at the time involved and we’ve prevented a lot of re-hospitalizations as a result.
Q. What does a schedule look like for caregivers who provide this care?
They are there seven days a week. So, a typical day might look like something similar to what they would see in a facility where they get up in the morning, they get them clean, they get them dressed, they get them fed, they might throw a load of laundry in, do a little housekeeping and then you might have a little bit of downtime, and then it’s lunchtime, maybe a little socialization, a little downtime, and then get the person ready for bed, (and) finish up the laundry. So, it’s just kind of a flow in the day and they are there so anything that the client needs they’re there for.
Q. Are caregivers expected to have any special licensing like CNA?
In Rhode Island, by regulation, they have to be licensed CNAs. In the rest of the states we operate in, it’s either a CNA, a home health care aide, or a personal care assistant. But, they all have to have— before we bring them on board—2 years of experience either in a facility or in-home care before they’re even considered.
Q. What kind of training and continuing education does this in-home care agency provide to your caregivers?
That’s taken care of at corporate headquarters where the caregivers will come in, it’s more of a specialized kind of thing where they will train them on the different cases that they are working on. Most of our caregivers have worked with (Hoyer lifts) and all of those things; so, they will come in and be retrained. They’ll be refreshed on different things regarding what’s going on specifically in the home.
And then, our field supervisors, when they go out, especially in the Rhode Island market, it’s an RN, and she goes out and she will also show them anything that they might question or anything they need to be refreshed on and they keep that training going, whatever it’s going to take to keep the client safely at home.
When we come back, we are going to continue our discussion with Kevin Williams of FCP Live-In Care. You’re listening to Connelly Law’s Southcoast Seniors Radio Magazine on am790, WPRV.
Welcome back to Southcoast Seniors.
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And we welcome back Kevin Williams, Care Coordinator for FCP Live-In Services.
Q. How has COVID-19 impacted this process and what protocols do you have in place should either staff or client test positive?
We actually have just changed our protocol this week, pretty much like the rest of the planet, it’s been evolving over the course of time. Our caregivers don’t work in facilities, we don’t take positive COVID cases. So, a lot of times caregivers are coming from one case going to another. So, initially, after the first wave was over it was more of a voluntary thing where we would ask the clients if they wanted somebody tested if they wanted to be tested, that sort of thing. But we wound up switching our protocol again when the second wave came around and now everybody gets tested. So, before the caregiver goes into the home, they have to have a negative test and we’re also requiring that the clients be tested as well prior to putting the caregiver in there. It’s one of the only ways we can try to keep everybody cleared.
Q. What services is the live-in caregiver expected to provide?
They have to do, well, based on the clientele, to be quite honest with you, we have some that prefer just to have the care done and some of the housekeeping. In most cases, it’s the whole ball of wax. So, they’re going to be doing the housekeeping, they’re going to be doing the meal preparation, and they’re not allowed to pass medications because they’re not licensed. But what they do is usually a family member or a local VNA will fill up one of the pill packs and what we do is we will set it up for the client, we’ll give them their favorite beverage and we will queue them, especially if there’s some memory issues involved, we will queue them to take their medications. In that way, we can report to the family and the field supervisors that everything’s OK.
Q. A complaint that we have heard centers around medications and especially scheduled medications like narcotics being misused by some providers. This is not unique to this area and is a nationwide concern. We certainly know even with the best safeguards, things can happen. What protocols are in place for the handling of narcotic medications?
Because they’re not allowed to really touch any of those types of medications, anything that’s considered a narcotic has to be passed by a nurse, a licensed nurse. So, anybody that we have that’s on services, that’s on those types of medications, generally, it’s hospice related. The hospice companies have hospice nurses that come in to administer or family members (administer). And, all of those medications are generally in a lockbox where the combination to it is only provided to the family members. So, the family members can come in and administer in dire need of doing that. So, what our caregivers would do is if something is happening out of the ordinary they would either contact the field supervisor or they can call the family and say, “Hey listen, mom woke up in the middle of the night, she’s experiencing some pain,” and one of the family members would come over and administer.
Q. What if a caregiver doesn’t work out, are there protocols in place to address this problem?
There is. The first thing we do is we send the field supervisor out to try to investigate a little bit deeper what’s going on, why is it happening. And, I have to be honest with you, I’ve only had it happen once.
I had a gentleman recently that loves sports and the caregiver, from a diagnoses perspective and he’s a great cook and all of those things, but when he showed up and didn’t know sports, the patient was like, “You know, he does a great job but I really want to talk sports with somebody.”
So, we called the company, the company had another caregiver who we would call a “swap out.” We had another caregiver that was coming off a case in Rhode Island. So, as we were picking up the other person, we brought him to (the other patient) home and the original caregiver went to another case in MA. So it worked out great in both cases.
Q. How will FCP provide a capable substitute if a caregiver is unable to work on any given day?
Basically, they call the company, especially if they’re going to be putting in for vacation. We have some caregivers that literally live in the home for 11-and-a-half months a year and they will put in for a vacation and we’ll automatically identify a caregiver that can replace them during their time off.
We try to do the same match-up process and we will drop that person off at the same time we’re picking up the first one to take them back to the train station to go where they’re going. And then when that person comes back, we swap them out again. So, they never have to worry about there not being care in the house.
Q. Are caregivers insured?
Yes, to be honest with you, I don’t know all the particulars about it, but I’ve had some clients that have asked me for an insurance certificate and I’ve just emailed it to them or corporate sends it right to me, I email it off to them.
Usually during the entire process, when they deal with me, all of those things are addressed right out of the gate before care is even started. I’ve dealt with a lot of people that hire privately, their neighbor who knows mom comes over and takes care of her, and a cousin who needed some extra work comes in and does that, which is great that they have somebody that’s caring enough to do that. But once again, without those safeguards in place of the insurance and Workers’ Comp, if anything were to happen, that falls upon the homeowner and that’s not the case with us.
Q. What is the cost of these services and is there funding available?
We charge currently $265 per day. We do take long-term care insurance, that’s a very small percentage of what we do. The majority of what we have is private pay and I know that the owner of the company has tried to meet with a lot of the larger insurers out there to try to show the value of home care versus what they pay to be in a facility. But, it’s been a slow process, they’re still continuing to try. I don’t know that we’re making a lot of headway at this point, but you know I think the need is there and I think down the road we can see some of those things change.
Q. How does a family contact your agency should they want a live-in provider?
They can contact me directly, I’m usually available most days when I’m not running around. But, they can also call the 1-800 number, I can get that to anybody but they can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can contact me on that anytime day or night. I usually get back to people very, very quickly. The 800 number at the office is actually 877-887 -2273 and it doesn’t matter what state they’re in. What they’ll do is they’ll take some general information and then they will send a text out to the care coordinator in the area to contact them and that’s how everything gets started.
Kevin Williams, care coordinator for FCP Live-In Care services has been our guest today, thank you for taking the time to appear on Southcoast Seniors.