How to Start a Home Health Care Business
Here’s everything you need to know before starting a home health care business
The decision to start a home health care business can be a daunting prospect. Navigating state and local licensing requirements, filing articles of incorporation, even the simple act of picking a name for your business can leave a potential home care organization wondering, “Is it even worth it?”
Considering the home health care business is a $103 billion industry that’s on track to nearly double in the next fifteen years1, the answer is “Absolutely!” In fact, that same government report also noted the “age wave” will mean a surge in spending of up to 300% by 2026.
Before you start a home health care business, though, there are steps you need to take to help ensure your efforts are fruitful. This starts by understanding the home health care industry.
What is a home health care business?
Home health care is a catch-all phrase that comprises a half-dozen or so kinds of care ranging from complex medical treatments to simple, assistive companionship. Understanding the kinds and ranges of health care business is the first step in opening a home care business of your own.
Business intelligence service IBISWorld tracks five areas of the home care industry2:
- Traditional home healthcare and nursing care
- Home hospice care
- Homemaker and personal services
- Home therapy services
Each of these sub-groups represent particular areas of need, and deciding which area you want your business to fill is the first step. After all, each of these kinds of businesses provide distinct services, many of which require employees with specialized training or state licensure.
Traditional Home Health Care and Nursing Care
When most people think “home health care,” they immediately picture a nurse knocking on a door to check blood pressure, draw blood, and make sure a patient is taking their medicine as prescribed. Care providers in this category administer injections and other medications, track vital signs, and conduct other medical interventions when necessary. In all 50 states, home nursing care providers must employ licensed nurses—either registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN)—to deliver their services. Many states also require any non-nursing staff that work in client homes to maintain at least a Certified Nurse Aid (CNA).
Home Hospice Care
Another significant portion of the home health care business focuses exclusively on end-of-life care for the elderly or for individuals with terminal illnesses. Like traditional home health care, nurses and CNAs provide clients with medical support through administration of prescription medicines, but unlike traditional home health nursing, hospice services focus on palliative care such as pain management. Most hospice providers will not provide medical intervention for their clients.
Home Therapy and Other Services
When an individual is injured in an accident or suffers other illnesses, such as a heart attack or stroke, care providers may prescribe various therapies to help the patient recover. These therapies can include occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological support, dietary guidance, and other skilled-care activities. In each of these, state and federal requirements typically dictate a licensed professional from each field administer the care. Also, in many cases, doctors might require in-home telemetry, lab testing, and other diagnostic and therapeutic treatments that must be administered by skilled healthcare providers.
Homemaker and Personal Services
Businesses that provide homemaker and personal services make up more than a third of the entire home health care industry. These care providers assist clients with the day-to-day of their lives, whether it’s providing meal preparation, doing some light housekeeping, or simply giving the patient a trusted companion to spend time with. Though licensing requirements for homemaker and personal care service vary by state, this category of home health care does not typically require licensed professionals to deliver care in the home. Homemaker and personal services also represent one of the fastest growing categories of home health care business.
Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of the home care business, you have to decide which kind of business is right for you.
What kind of home care business is right for me?
When you start to consider starting a home health care business, your very first step will be to determine which of the kinds of home health care business you want to establish. Do you have particular skills in one of the specialized fields of care? If you’re a nurse, you may consider a traditional home health care business. Physical therapists looking for a change of pace might start a therapy service.
But if you’re like the vast majority of entrepreneurs considering opening a business, you’ll want to choose a field where there is the potential for growth without a lot of bureaucratic red tape barring entry. That’s where homemaker and personal care services come in, as the licensing and regulatory requirements for these services are usually a lot lower than for skilled-care providers.
Once you’ve settled on your field of practice, the next steps flow naturally from there.
What are the steps for starting a home health care business?
Once you’ve decided which segment of the home health care market you want to serve, there are steps you’ll need to take to start your home health care business. you’ll need to get licensed to provide services. This can be as simple as registering your business name at the courthouse or as complicated as taking state licensing exams, depending on your chosen area of service.
After you’ve tackled state licensing, you’ll need to pick a name for your business. The name should tell potential clients a little something about your business, and it should be memorable. A good business name is vital to establishing a brand.
Finally, after you’re licensed and have created your brand, you’ll need to market your business to potential clients. This can mean advertising in the local paper, on radio and television, and developing a social media presence to help get the word out about what you do. It can also be expensive.
If it seems like a lot, that’s because it is. This is probably why IBISWorld estimates more than half of all home health care businesses will be franchise businesses within 20 years.
Get to know Touching Hearts at Home, a home health care franchise opportunity
If you’re considering opening a home health care business, Touching Hearts at Home may be a good fit for your needs. To learn more about how you can jump into the rewarding work of caregiving, you can request more information about Touching Hearts at Home. Become a part of a caregiving legacy that you can be proud of.