Home truths: Changing the face of elder care
Started here a decade ago as a franchise, Home Instead now has a presence in most parts of the country and is slowly changing the face of elder care
HOME Instead Senior Care, a franchise operation brought to Ireland from the US nearly 10 years ago, is close to achieving nationwide coverage, says its Irish co-founder and CEO Ed Murphy.
Murphy is a big fan of franchising as a way to get into business. He and his business partner Michael Carney were responsible for bringing the Snap printing franchise to Ireland in the 1980s and were looking for a new challenge when they decided to go into the world of elder care.
Their reasoning was based on personal experience. "Both of us had parents who were starting to struggle with daily life in the home and were starting to need assistance," says Murphy. "We saw that there was an unmet need here and we saw that in the US there was a growing realisation that home-based care could be as good, or better, than hospital-based or nursing home care.
"We did some research, and Home Instead seemed to have the best offering, so we set about acquiring the Irish licence and opened our first office in Leopardstown in June 2005 to test the idea and see if the concept would work in Ireland."
At the time, there was no such industry in Ireland; the only home care available was through the HSE.
"The Leopardstown office was a success and we have since gone on to roll out Home Instead to 22 offices across the country. There are only three areas where we are looking for office managers to take on a franchise - in Mayo, Sligo-Roscommon and Cavan-Monaghan," says Murphy.
In those 22 offices, there are now 3,000 employees providing care to some 3,300 people. The group of companies has a total turnover of over €30 million.
"Each office employs a number of nurses to do care assessments, provide training to caregivers and supervise caregivers, who are all qualified to FETAC Level 5. It has been a tremendous success; not one office has failed since it was established," says Murphy.
When looking for someone to manage a franchise (which costs €70,000 and comes with training in the US and Ireland), Murphy says the main qualities he seeks are "empathy, and enthusiasm for care of the elderly".