Bridging the gap between Independent Living and Assisted Living

By Steve Moran

Back in November I got a chance to interview Kyle Hill the founder and CEO of HomeHero at a home care company that uses an Uber like approach to providing care at the Aging2.0 Summit.  The podcast recording sat on a shelf for a few months before being edited and the article written.  Then  15 days ago I received a press release announcing some big changes in how Home Hero is serving seniors.

I reinterviewed Kyle last week and this article is a munging together of those two articles.


HomeHero was featured in an article in Forbes in October 2015 titled, Startup HomeHero Uses Math To Connect Seniors With Home Care.  Because Boomers are aging aging in place is becoming a big deal and we are likely to see more clashing between senior living and home care.  It seems as if today, home care is winning the media war by a long shot.

Kyle summarized HomeHero as follows:

“We connect families with trusted, vetted caregivers in the home and we provide a wide range of non-medical services; companionship, meal prep, transportation, personal hygiene, even live-in and overnight care.”

The Goal

So what do we do when Mom or Grandma just can’t handle it on her own anymore? Well, when the only options are pricey agencies or else unknown, unvetted listings via Craigslist, it’s clear to see the natural demand there is for a company like HomeHero. I could see this as a huge win for independent living providers and, in some sense, it would seem almost competitive with assisted living and/or maybe memory care, so I wanted to know if playing within the environment of senior living Kyle saw himself as competitive?

“Our goal and we’re very transparent about this, it’s right in our name, we want to keep people in their homes. We don’t want them in assisted livings facilities, we don’t want them in nursing homes, we don’t want them in hospitals, we don’t want them in hospice, we want them in their homes. You survey any senior and they’ll tell you they want to live in their home. So our goal is to keep them there as long as possible.”  

Backup Plan

With more seniors able to stay in their own homes longer, how will it affect you? Will companies like HomeHero have an impact on the evolution of modern senior living? Kyle went on to explain how assisted living plays into his company and vice versa.

“Now the second best care, I think, is assisted living. I can go down the line; it just gets worse from there, but I think second best is assisted living. We typically do not, it’s not common for us, to send caregivers into assisted living facilities for a couple of reasons. First of all, they usually don’t want us there. Assisted living facilities usually have their own staff caregivers and so it’s competitive in that regard. It’s part of the service of assisted living and you’re already paying much higher prices to be there and so to have a caregiver on top of that, an independent caregiver, usually is unnecessary. So we have sent some caregivers in but more common is the assisted living facilities will hire us because they’re short-staffed.”

The Evolution

On March 1, HomeHero announced a number of significant shifts in how they are going to continue to grow their business.

The most significant is that the will be increasingly focused on developing relationships with hospitals, healthcare systems and payor organizations.   In order to make this work they have invested heavily in creating data driven system to help keep their clients out of the hospital and to work with post-acute patients not go back into the hospital.  

In effect what HomeHero has created is a data driven care management platform.

How It Will Work

At the end of each shift the HomeHero caregiver will complete a short questionnaire about that particular client that will automatically feed into the HomeHero system.  Based on their internal algorithm when the system identifies a change in condition that suggests a potential risk, a licensed care manager will receive a notification.  

Based on that human assessment of the risk a recommendation will be made. It might include something as simple as making sure a caregiver helps them get more exercise or working with them to get better nutrition.  Or as complex as recommending a physician visit or even hospitalization.  

At the end of the day it is all about making sure the individual gets a level of care that results in the very best outcome.   

Other Changes

Other changes that are all designed to support this evolution include:

  • Moving all care providers from a 1099 status to W-2 employees.  This will provide security and certainty for caregivers and families.  It will also make HomeHero one of the largest employers of home care workers in California.

  • A new mobile app that is HIPPA compliant that will make it easier for family members to hire caregivers and manage their care remotely.

  • The appointment of a Chief Medical Officer and a Chief Nursing Officer.

To find out more about Home Hero, you can listen to the rest of my podcast with Kyle Hill below.