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A crucial component of elder care at home is to ensure that the patient feels safe and comfortable. When they can embrace such reliable services, seniors feel better mentally and physically. As the premier franchised provider of in-home caregiving services, ComForCare helps people live their best years in a holistic caring environment.

ComForCare’s compassionate caregivers and innovative programs support older adults in aging gracefully and continuing to do the things they love. Founded in 1996, ComForCare has more than 256 independently owned and operated locations in the U.S. and Canada and operates as At Your Side Home Care in Houston.

Under the leadership of Sean Kajcienski, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Operating Officer, ComForCare’s mission is to improve the quality of life and level of independence for every client and family receiving its services.

In 2017, ComForCare was acquired by private equity firm The Riverside Company and is now part of Best Life Brands, a parent company that oversees service brands in the aging adult care industry.

In an interview with Insights Care, Sean Kajcienski sheds the spotlight on his professional tenure—highlighting the significance of ComForCare in the healthcare industry.

Tell us about your journey at ComForCare.

What appealed to me was the opportunity to be in a franchising business that genuinely gave back and helped people. I’d been in business for 14 years prior at other franchise companies, and they were great brands but really didn’t serve and support people in the way that we do, so that was a big part of what appealed to me.

I also had prior experience in healthcare, and a large percent of our population then were seniors, so I got to see a lot of their healthcare struggles and how these struggles affected them physically, emotionally, and mentally. And in that regard, it made me more aware of the challenges of seniors.

And then, as I’ve seen family members age and go through needing care—having family members take on the role of family caregiver—it just further attracted me to the concept of Best Life Brands, the ComForCare brand and the idea of helping senior citizens to live their best lives possible.

What values does ComForCare implement while catering to its clients in the healthcare industry?

The key to ComForCare is the intense focus on the quality of care, making sure we have well-trained caregivers, a great match for our clients with the caregiver, and advanced programs to help to make sure that the quality of care and the best outcomes are optimized for each client. Programs like our DementiaWise program, which is recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association and is on the Alzheimer’s Association website, is something we’re very proud of. An opportunity to teach our franchisees the advanced skills in caring for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients is really something of great value to the families and to the clients themselves.

Programs like our Gaitway Fall Prevention program help reduce further complications in the lives of these seniors. It can potentially help reduce the risk of falls and serious injuries that lead to hospitalization, nursing home stays, and all kinds of other things that negatively affect their lives. And so, we are consistently looking to figure out what we can bring to the franchisees and how they can truly be the best of the best in ensuring their caregivers provide the best care possible so seniors can truly live their best lives possible. (For more information, visit http://www.comforcare.com/.)

How has the pandemic, especially the initial phase, impacted the healthcare sector, and how did ComForCare sustain its operations to overcome its adversities?

ComForCare fared well during the pandemic for a variety of reasons. We were well-versed in the importance and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). As the world scrambled to learn what that was and how to use it, we were already adept at their use and had great supply chain lines to help make sure that our franchisees and caregivers had supplies available.

During that time frame, people became more concerned about anybody getting near their senior loved ones, so making sure we had great communication and training with our franchisees and caregivers to ensure that they were in the best position to keep clients constantly safe and healthy was of utmost importance to us.

We saw strong demand for our services throughout the pandemic, even with people being afraid to bring somebody else into the home. ComForCare being able to take care of family members in the home was a reassurance to those who were concerned about nursing home care at that time.

Being a national leader and having one of the few programs out there that’s recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association in our DementiaWise program was a great benefit to families. They appreciate the extra efforts we make to ensure the highest quality of care.

As technology has made such amazing changes in the healthcare space, can you share a prediction about the future of the senior care services market? 

There are a few ways that technology will evolve in the senior care sector. One is the operating systems that companies use will continue to grow and evolve, to allow for better outcomes reporting, better communication with families, better communication with the caregivers, etc. That’s going to continue to improve, and then you layer that in with any sort of telehealth options such as remote patient monitoring, which is a great opportunity.

To have sensors throughout the home, for example, to be able to measure movement and vitals—not just measured but easily communicated to physicians, caregivers, family members and the client themselves—is really an opportunity to optimize care and react quickly when things are going in the wrong direction. It can also help to prevent the risk of future issues.

Also, the opportunity to improve communication with those clients in the home- whether it be tablets or other devices that will help them to communicate with physicians, family, etc. that technology will enable a more holistic opportunity to manage care so clients really can live as well as possible, and as healthy as possible, throughout the remainder of their lives.

What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts entering the senior care services niche?

It is a great space to operate a business in a very meaningful space. It’s important to take the appropriate steps to get the proper knowledge to effectively run a home-care business and provide the optimal level of care. I would suggest doing a significant amount of research if you decide you want to do this on your own, or partner with a leading national franchise brand—one who’s got highly recognized programs and has proven themselves over decades.

This can help with that knowledge gap when entering this space. There’s a lot to know, and when you’re with major top franchise brands like ComForCare-/At Your Side, who have these advanced programs and advanced training, it helps you get a lift above all other competition in the marketplace very quickly.

A franchise opportunity with a national leader like ComForCare /At Your Side is the best way. It’s the only way I would recommend a family member do it, for example. If they didn’t go this route then I’d recommend that they do some serious research, maybe hire consultants or others that have experience in running a highly advanced home care business.

How do you envision scaling ComForCare’s operations and offerings in 2022? 

We’re building out our technology platform right now in a couple of ways. We just launched a new operating system with significant enhancements to help make it easier for franchisees and caregivers to optimize the quality of care. Second, we’ve done research, tests and studies into the telehealth side of things and will likely be announcing the rollout of an industry-leading remote patient monitoring platform by the end of the year.

Additionally, we intend to keep making enhancements to our operating system and partnering with other industry-leading technology providers as we see opportunities to implement technology that can be helpful for quality care.

Can you tell us about the recognition of achievements that highlights ComForCare as a prominent company in the healthcare sector?

Among its many awards, ComForCare most recently has been honored on the 2022 Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list, the 2021 Entrepreneur Top Global Franchise list, the 2021 Best Workplaces for Millennials, and Best Workplaces for Women and Best Workplaces in Aging Services lists.

  • ComForCare awarded 39 new franchise agreements reaching close to double-digit system growth in the U.S. and Canada in 2021;
  • Ranked 291st on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list;
  • Certified as a Great Place to Work®;
  • Recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as one of the 2021 Best Workplaces in New York™;
  • Recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as the number one home care company on the Best Workplaces in Aging Services™ 2021 list;
  • Recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as one of the 2021 Best Workplaces for Women;
  • Recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as one of the 2021 Best Workplaces for Millennials™;
  • Recognized in Franchise Dictionary Magazine’s Top 100 Game Changers list.