As I begin my 7th year as a family caregiver, I feel like an accomplished event coordinator! It is hard to grasp the depth of emotional investment and the variety of tasks that a caregiver takes on. Not only do we deal with the actual treatments, but we coordinate a myriad of related functions – such as special diets, appointments with health care professionals, making important health care decisions for our carees, medication refills & administration, home modifications, assessing & documenting the current health condition in order to discuss changes or lack of improvement with physicians, being a voice for our loved ones with medical professionals, nurturing our caree’s emotional state, etc. – AND we must still take care of the non-caregiving duties – such as grocery shopping, finances, taking care of children, updating family and friends, etc. To top it all off, about half of family caregivers in the US are also working full-time!
How can a family caregiver manage all this? How can caregivers find support?
In Austin, Texas, family caregivers can call on Halcyon Home for help. Halcyon Home was launched in March 2012 with the mission “to bring the most exceptional care to your home and your loved ones” and to incorporate a “peaceful, idyllic setting for you even in the hardest and most stressful of times.” Amy Sweet, MHS, PA-C & CEO of Halcyon Home, was a caregiver for her aunt. She and her “highly educated and trained medical, business and eldercare professionals” had been caregivers and understand all too well the type of quality help that caregiving demands. They not only assist with the care of our loved ones, but also aid family caregivers to carry out many other tasks that are indirectly related to caregiving.
After their initial free assessment, Halcyon Home will generate a custom plan for your loved one’s particular needs to help make aging at home a better experience.
Some of the services Halcyon Home provides:
Personal Assistance Services
- Bathing & grooming
- Medication reminders
- Respite care
- Dementia & Alzheimer’s care
- End-of-life care
- Errands, driving
- Doctor’s appointments
- Checking on loved ones
- Cooking, cleaning, bill paying
- Email & secretary assistance
- Information gathering
- Waiting for repair people
- Hospital sitting
- Basic computer training & skills
One of the best features of Halcyon Home is that they do not require a minimum number of hours to begin services! In the past, I have encountered hourly requirements that were higher than what I needed, which kept me from getting any help at all. I am glad that Halcyon Home is realistic about what caregivers require and gives them due priority!
To complement Halcyon Home’s services, Transitions Geriatrics Group provides help and support for seniors and for people with disabilities who cannot visit a doctor’s office. They have fully licensed, credentialed medical professionals who can come to the caree’s home (wherever “home” may be). This is a truly helpful service, especially for persons living with chronic pain or with severe mobility impairments. Their physicians can be your caree’s primary doctors or they can work with his or her current care team.
Among the services that Transitions Geriatrics Group provides are:
- Routine medical examinations
- Prescription refills
- Regularly scheduled visits
- Diagnostics tests
- Blood draws
Transitions Geriatrics Group can also coordinate hospital admissions, transitions between facilities and care delivery between “families, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, nursing agencies and other Home Health Services.”
A growing movement across the US toward making house calls again is a welcome – necessary, really – feature in healthcare. It prevents unnecessary suffering for persons for whom walking, sitting or traveling is a terrible ordeal. (My husband has had to postpone a few doctors’ appointments because he was in too much pain to travel in a car!) Transitions Geriatrics Group and Halcyon Home allow extraordinary patients to continue to receive their treatments without exacerbating their already delicate physical condition.
More information on how Halcyon Home and Transitions Geriatrics Group can help your caregiving follows. As a family caregiver for my husband, disabled due to CRPS, I welcome the valuable services that both groups offer caregivers and carees. I see them as the next step in caregiving: a way to provide family caregivers with excellent, realistic assistance in all aspects of caregiving, and a way to keep their loved ones safely at home.
Transitions Geriatrics Group 512.452.2100
Halcyon Home 512.815.9009
What prompted Amy Sweet to start Halcyon Home?
Amy took care of her Aunt for 15 years. When her Aunt, who suffered a rare blood disorder, needed additional care in the home, she had difficulty trying to find the right “fit.” She wanted someone who had experience, was skilled, could help in every aspect of daily living, was an out-of-the-box thinker and resourceful. She wanted a caregiver that was not just a “warm body” in the home but someone that would enrich her aunt’s life.
What is different about Halcyon Home that other agencies may not offer?
Amy Sweet is a licensed Physician’s Assistant with 12 years experience. Halcyon Home has the ability to assess any situation and stave off a trip to the emergency room. Amy is always a phone call away and spends several hours a week personally meeting with each client for a full assessment. Halcyon Home is one of the only companies in the city [Austin, Texas] that has the ability to perform Physician Delegated tasks. Typically, [with] a non-medical company such as ours, a caregiver cannot “touch” the client. However, with the Physicians Delegated task option, our caregivers can help with activities such as changing a pain patch, helping with diabetic hosiery, and help with lymphedema equipment.
We also offer clients and caregivers the ability to ALWAYS speak with a Halcyon Home admin team member. We take turns “on call,” as well as answer the phone 24/7!! Never will you get an automated voice!
What forms of payment do you accept?
We take long-term care insurance, private pay. We recently began accepting Medicare. We have added a skilled nursing piece/options to our company as well.
What does Transitions Geriatrics Group do?
TGG is a group of 4 MD’s and 8 mid-level providers (Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants) that make house calls to the homebound or disabled geriatric population. We have the ability to follow a patient from Hospital back to “home.” Home may be a Personal Care Home, Assisted Living facility, Independent Living facility, Skilled Nursing Facility or an actual private home.
What is Amy Sweet’s vision of in-home care in the future?
The ultimate goal is to add both Home Health and Hospice to Halcyon Home. Amy has always believed (just as Dorothy said) “There is no place like home!” Keeping people safe, comfortable, healthy in the comfort of home is extremely important and can ultimately stave off a rapid decline in health, as well as, encourage continuity and avoid going into the hospital.
What specific services do Halcyon Home and Transitions Geriatrics Group offer?
Halcyon Home offers everything from help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), transportation, medication reminders, medication management, house cleaning, cooking, packing and unpacking from a move or downsizing, office organization, bill paying, holiday decorating, hospital sitting, animal care, plant care and joyful companionship.
TGG offers skilled medical services from minor procedures in the home, podiatry, optometry, dermatology, X-ray’s, EKG’s, blood draws, prescription refills (must see MD) and specialty services. TGG, in the coming months, will begin contracting with specialty Doctors to be able to offer Pulmonology, Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Nephrology, Psych nursing, and Neurology.
You said that Halcyon Home has no minimum hourly requirement. How much advance notice is required to have a caregiver come to a client’s home?
Typically we request 24-hr. notice but have been known to get a contract signed and have a caregiver in place within 4-6hrs. We have several “on call” or “as needed” caregivers in place and ready to start at any time.
What areas do you serve at the moment?
We service Georgetown to San Marcos, Lakeway and Marble Falls [Texas].
Will this area expand?
At this point we don’t have plans to expand further than these areas but we are growing daily and are excited about the future….so it’s possible!!
Are you hiring caregivers?
We are always looking for excellent, passionate caregivers with experience! You can apply on our website at www.myhalcyonhome.com under the Employment tab.
What qualifications do you look for in an applicant?
We typically look for experience, reliable, CNA certified (not required but preferred), flexibility, has own transportation, experience with Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s (not required but preferred), and a true passion for taking care of others.
Do you train your caregivers?
Our caregivers a provided with 12 hours of unique training throughout the year. We invite caregivers to our office for initial training, as well as our personal homes to learn about aging in place, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, teach cooking classes, offer transfer technique classes, how to combat caregiver fatigue, and helping families cope with end-of-life.
How do you make sure that they know what they need to know in order to properly care for clients?
When our marketing team meets with the family, we take lots of notes about the client, family, needs in the home, current living situation, family requests, type of caregiver needed, details of the care being provided, etc. Then, after visiting with our scheduling team we place the “right” caregiver in the home. It is important to match the skill-set of the caregiver with the needs of the family and client.
Do you carry out background checks? How extensive are these checks?
Yes. We do what is called the triple check. This involves and regular Texas background check, the Employee Misconduct Record and 2 reference checks. Amy Sweet, owner, also meets with every caregiver upon being hired. It is important to her to make sure the “face of our company,” the caregiver, meets the standards for our clients. We are very proud of our company and the caregivers we employ. We are looking for caregivers that “want” to be there and will work hard to provide the best care possible!
Are your doctors also practicing on their own?
Not our main TGG employed Doctors. However, we do have contract Physicians who will be providing specialty services and also work in hospitals.
What specialties are covered now?
Podiatry only at this point in time.
In the future?
Optometry, Dermatology, Pulmonology, Psychology, Nephrology, Neurology, Endocrinology and Cardiology.
What else would you like to tell families and caregivers?
I encourage families to check out the testimonials on our website Halcyon Home. It is very important, when seeking a caregiver, that you use a company. Reason being that they hire the employees, can staff positions no matter what the situation, can be a resource for additional care or services, and offer stability in the home. We are locally owned and operated with close ties to the community. We want families to keep their loved ones in the comforts of home, aging gracefully and happily!!