Thursday, 5 October 2017

INNOVATION: USING TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT WORKING CAREGIVERS

A couple of weeks ago, an article about a new caregiving technology for families caught my eye. BookJane is a Toronto based app available across Canada. It's a platform that enables families to book both child care and senior care on a single site. Such a whole family life-lens is unique, but what's really special about BookJane is their corporate program to support caregiver employees. 

Working caregivers struggle to balance responsibilities at home and at the office. Employers are encouraged by governments and caregiver support researchers to 'offer flexible hours and leave arrangements'. 


But BookJane's corporate offer is something I've never seen before. Corporate solutions for the home care needs of employees include embedding BookJane into existing corporate benefits program and even the bulk purchase of hours that corporations can hand out to employees as needed.


Curtis Khan is the visionary CEO of BookJane. I asked him to tell us more about BookJane's range of services for caregivers. 

The Caregivers' Living Room: 
Tell us about Book Jane – what are the benefits for family caregivers who are at home, at work and what are the benefits for employers?

Curtis Khan: 
BookJane has significant benefits for caregivers, families and employers.

BookJane is an on-demand care service that provides significant benefits for families, caregivers, and employers. For families, our ability to provide caregivers at a moment’s notice is just the start of what sets us apart from traditional caregiving companies. BookJane fully vets all of our caregivers, using a 4-stage verification process, to ensure that caregivers have of their documents, are certified in their field, and have the “spark” to provide quality care. Our method for booking caregivers is an extremely simple and seamless process. Families can use our app to filter caregivers, find a caregiver with the right availability and skill set, book the caregiver, and pay for the caregiver. The app is extremely intuitive and we recommend everyone should try it out for themselves.

BookJane is also an amazing application for our caregivers. We are able to pay caregivers between 10 and 30 percent more than our competitors. We let caregivers set their own schedule and they only receive shifts when they are available. Caregivers receive extra incentives for working more shifts and have many opportunities for bonuses. We work with highly respected professionals in the industry to create important learning modules for all of our caregivers. This way our caregivers can learn, get higher ratings, and become the best caregivers in the industry. We recognize our exceptional caregivers at our annual BookJane award ceremony, and have various other events for our caregivers, as well as their families, throughout the year.

Employers can use BookJane as part of a corporate program. Through providing BookJane they can give their employees peace of mind, and allow for a more productive work force. Employees can often feel guilt when leaving loved ones that are in need of care. But BookJane provides a way for employees to continue with their job while knowing that their loved ones are taken care of in the comfort of their home.

BookJane also works directly with senior homes, and child care centers. For child care centers we have a full roster of Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), and Early Childhood Assistants (ECAs). Our staff are trusted in these institutions, and we have a very thorough vetting process for all of our caregivers. We don’t approve anyone that we would not trust taking care of our own loved ones.

The Caregivers' Living Room: 
What kind of health and social care professionals do you have on your roster?

Curtis Khan: 
BookJane currently offers Personal Support Workers (PSWs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), and Registered Nurses (RNs) for both in home care and to senior homes. Currently, we do not have any social care professionals on our roster, but there are plans to introduce these services in the future. 

The Caregivers' Living Room: 
Do you accept clients who have complex needs? Health care needs? Mental health needs?

Curtis Khan:
BookJane strives to help clients that have various and complex needs needs. Our caregivers are often the same caregivers working in senior homes, hospitals, and other institutions that specialize in caring for clients with complex needs. BookJane even goes an extra step to ensure all of our caregivers have knowledge on how to a care for clients by creating learning. These learning modules cover many topics including how to care for patients with common mental health needs in senior populations. Through these learning modules, and our thorough hiring process, we are consistently able to provide caregivers with the skills capable to care for our clients.

The Caregivers' Living Room:
What is the approximate cost to families who use Book Jane independently? Can you give us an idea of the personal cost for caregiver employees who use your service as part of a corporate benefits package?

Curtis Khan:
The price is dependent on the type of care needed, but does not differ for employees or families.

Our prices are as follows:
$25 per hour for PSWs
$38 per hour for RPNs
$47 per hour for RNs

The Caregivers' Living Room:
Is your service designed for long term use by families as well as on an as-needed, occasional basis?

Curtis Khan:
BookJane is flexible enough to be easily used for an on-demand, occasional, or a regular basis. The app is designed to accommodate for the desires of any frequency of bookings. Anyone using BookJane on an as-needed basis knows that they can rely on us when they are in a pinch. Often, due to unforeseen circumstances, families need care at the last minute but know that we can provide a caregiver with just a few clicks. BookJane is also good for occasional use, as families can favorite the caregivers they love, and still have other exceptional caregivers available. When families use BookJane they have access to our full roster of caregivers, and can browse through to find the caregiver that fits their needs. Lastly, BookJane provides convenience for those making regular bookings. All payments are done through the app, there is mobile tracking to see where the caregiver is slightly prior to the shift, in app messaging and video calling if you need to get ahold of the caregiver, and a complete history of all your bookings for your records. So, no matter how often you need to make a booking, BookJane can support your caregiving needs.

The Caregivers' Living Room:
For long-term clients, how do you manage situations where regular paid care staff are sick or on holiday?

Curtis Khan:
BookJane has policies to prevent caregivers from unnecessarily canceling shifts as well as giving both us and the clients as much notice as possible. However, unforeseen events can always happen, even to our caregivers. In the case that our caregiver needs to cancel a shift, they will do so on the app. BookJane will then start to find a replacement caregiver immediately. Our app is very good at finding caregivers at the last minute, so given any notice we should have no problem finding an equally qualified replacement for the client’s booking.

The Caregivers' Living Room: 
Thank you for sharing your model of caregiver support for all caregivers (both employed and those who are at home full-time). It's great to see that you offer care for families across ages and abilities as well. I hope that other home care providers in North America follow your lead and that eventually, anyone working in Canada can expect home care support as a standard company benefit.




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