Non-medical home care franchise Senior Helpers knows that the key to exceptional care is exceptional caregiver training. That’s why the brand has invested in a senior apartment prototype to provide training that’s as closely aligned to real-world situations as possible.
Senior Helpers houses its training center in the brand’s corporate office located in Towson, Maryland. The prototype, designed to look like a senior client’s apartment, includes furniture, flooring and layouts that caretakers are likely to encounter in their clients’ actual homes.
Jennifer Schuh is Area General Manager of Senior Helpers. Schuh explained that the training center is built into the heart of Senior Helpers’ corporate office and “is designed to be truly reminiscent of the way a senior home might be set up.”
“There’s a living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a hallway with stairs,” Schuh explained. “When you come through the front door, you’re in the living room, connected to the kitchen. Then you pass through a hallway with stairs that lead to a bathroom and bedroom. This allows us to train our caregivers with real-life scenarios so that we can provide the best care.”
To expose caregivers-in-training to the ways in which flooring contributes to safety in the home, the training center features four different types: two types of carpet, hardwood and tile. Even the stairs contribute to an important training opportunity, as one side of the staircase features wooden steps, while the other side is carpeted. Caregivers-in-training practice maneuvering equipment throughout the space.
“That lets us train in different scenarios with different kinds of equipment,” Schuh said. “We can see how different kinds of equipment such as walkers or transport chairs transition from one flooring to another. This is a key safety component.”
Keeping caregivers well-prepared for real-life scenarios brings peace of mind across the board, for the caregivers themselves, clients and their families, as well as Senior Helpers franchisees.
“Our training center is a huge benefit to the brand because it encourages best practices,” Shuh said. “Our caregivers have a high level of confidence going into the field because they’ve observed firsthand what a client is likely to need and what the caregiver is capable of providing.”
The training center also provides a critical opportunity to identify and build on any caregiver skill sets that need to be developed.
“If a caregiver needs to develop a particular skill, [the training center] gives corporate an opportunity to work with them in the interest of that skill,” Schuh said. “It also gives the caregiver confidence because they’re also being exposed to the terminology and information that will be referenced in client care plans.”
All of this points to a brand that cares deeply about, and is deeply invested in, caregiver training in the interest of client wellness and franchisee success. When asked about other ways in which Senior Helpers corporate leadership team positions franchisees for success, Shuh emphasized just how robust Senior Helpers’ training and support really is.
“One of our core values as an organization is continuous advancement, so we make training ongoing beyond just the initial phase. Our training is step-by-step from day one. On the very first day, our franchisees are assigned a franchise operations manager who works with them for four to five weeks before they attend a 10-day formal training at the corporate office,” Schuh said. “We also have an annual conference that provides training for our entire system, an online caregiver training platform with several hundred training programs, and a remote-access staff training platform.”
Schuh said that Senior Helpers plans to introduce comparable training facilities in up to three corporate locations down the road, and is also considering placing prototypes in some of the franchise system’s larger offices.
“Senior Helpers is dedicated to exceptional care for our clients, exceptional training for our caregivers and second-to-none support for our franchisees,” Schuh said. “Our training center is just one more way that we make good on that commitment.”