For several years, many of us at Blakeford were asking the question: What is next? The Blakeford at Green Hills retirement community, now almost 20 years strong, is full of vibrant life and excellent care services. In fact, it has become completely full in the independent living apartments, with a growing demand, evidenced by a healthy wait list.
Seven years ago, we launched Blakeford At Home, the mobile delivery care system, allowing people in need to access care at home right away. Folks were eager to learn about this new program and for those that needed it immediately, it gave Blakeford a wonderful opportunity to serve community members in their own private homes.
Meeting the Needs
We knew there were still areas where Blakeford could and should grow in its service delivery. There were people calling us for something that we weren’t yet offering: a large group of the population, who were healthy, and wanted to lock in Blakeford care, wanted the peace of mind in knowing they had may a plan for the future, but didn’t want to have to move to our Green Hills campus. These were people who were visiting our retirement community and coming to meetings about Blakeford At Home, neither of which was the perfect fit.
This is what led us to create LiveWell By Blakeford. We wanted to package up everything that Blakeford At Home had to offer –
- the expert caregiving at home,
- the care coordination,
- and the signature Blakeford transportation services
– alongside the guarantee of assisted living or skilled nursing facility, in one complete program. To do this, Doug Smith, Blakeford’s CFO, began working with CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) Actuaries to consider how we might operate and how it should be priced to accommodate family budgets and sustain a healthy business.
Developing a Program
This led us to seeking advice of some other experts around the country. We worked with Sarah Spellman of CliftonLarsonAllen, the foremost expert on this type of program, “continuing care at home”. If LiveWell By Blakeford is offering people a way to prepay and plan ahead for long-term care with Blakeford, then instead of being a continuing care retirement community, it is a continuum of care at home. Sarah helped us with market research and focus groups around the area. We then conducted some of our own. The last piece of the puzzle was seeing a real program in action. Longwood At Home, just outside of Pittsburg, was the perfect choice. Joan Krueger of Longwood at Home has shepherded this program from its infancy to a thriving virtual community of close to 300 members and with more interest from their area growing every day. We obtained a clear picture of what we needed to do to achieve this same magic formula.
As we move forward with LiveWell By Blakeford, now officially available to people 55 and older within 30 miles of Blakeford, I know what is at the heart of the fabric of the program – the care coordination. It was so evident from meeting the Longwood at Home care coordinators, that this is the critical piece to making this a successful program for its members. They were incredibly knowledgeable and competent. In fact, it was hard to keep them at the table for any length of time to talk because they had more pressing duties, the advocacy of their members. Their professionalism and dedication was striking and almost infectious.
The Promise of Care
We plan to model LiveWell By Blakeford’s care coordination role closely after our newly CARF-CCAC accredited case management program at Blakeford At Home. The goal is to provide an experience that is the polar opposite of the 1-800 number. We’ve learned that intervening early makes all the difference in someone’s life, and the best way to accomplish that is by knowing an aging adult personally, from day one, and being able to detect the changes through that personal relationship with the care coordinator. This is what sets this program apart from any other kind of long-term care insurance out there.
Jane Kelley is the Executive Director of LiveWell By Blakeford. In her seven years with Blakeford, she has served as Vice President of Blakeford at Home and served as the CARF-CCAC accreditation team leader for Home and Community Services and Case Management programs.