Compassionate Hearts for Seniors
Non-Medical In-Home Care for Seniors, People Recovering from Surgery, and People with Disabilities
Every day, some 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States. As the aging population grows, so too does the need for in-home care when a parent or loved one becomes sick, disabled or otherwise unable to care for themselves.
President and Owner
If you or a loved one is in need of in-home care, Compassionate Hearts for Seniors is a local Northern Virginia company that you can count on to provide loving care in the comfort of your own home — or the place you call home, which could be an assisted living facility.
“We want to make sure that we give our clients the love, care and dignity that they so deserve while assisting them with their normal activities of daily living,” says Lisa Walters, President and Owner. “We can provide loving companionship, light housekeeping, transportation to and from doctors’ appointments, and respite care for family members who need a break from caring for their loved one,” Walters says.
“We also stay in close communication with family members to keep them updated on their loved ones.”
Respite care provides family members with relief and peace of mind when they need to leave their loved one to go on vacation or simply take a much-needed break from their daily caregiving responsibilities, Walters explained. “We provide loving care and companionship for family members when a family member can’t be there with them.”
Walters first became interested in providing senior care when her father because sick with diabetes.
“My husband was getting ready to retire from the Army. We were stationed in Hawaii at the time, and my father called and asked me if I would move back to Virginia to help him. He was on dialysis and was getting ready to have a kidney transplant. He was also getting ready to go through a divorce from the woman he had been married to for 16 years. So my husband and I decided that we would move back to Virginia and help get Dad back on his feet.”
“I had no experience caring for seniors whatsoever when I started caring for my Dad. A large agency was coming in to assist him with wound care when one of his large toes was amputated due to gangrene setting in because of his diabetes. I was asking the caregiving agency if they could get his blood sugar under control and they weren’t showing up when they were supposed to show up and they weren’t providing the wound care he needed when it was supposed to be happening. Dad’s blood sugar was out of control, so I stepped in and changed his diet and asked his doctor if he could show me how to provide Dad’s wound care, and if he could direct me to the right places to learn more about diabetes.”
“Dad’s surgeon was awesome. He taught me how to do wound care and connected me with the right person who taught me about diabetes. I got rid of the large caregiving agency because they weren’t doing their job like they were supposed to. And it was that experience that led me to discover my true calling in life.”
“I truly enjoyed giving my Dad the love, care and dignity that he so deserved. I got to spend three precious years with him and before I lost my father, I made a promise to him that I would reach out to as many seniors as I could and give them what I gave him.”
Lisa has been in business now for 12 years. “I feel like Dad is with me every day, and I love what I do.”
How Lisa Made the Transition to Starting Her Own Caregiving Business
“When I first started caring for my father, I was also working full time in direct sales for Nextel (which was later bought out by Sprint) in Warrenton, Gainesville, Manassas and Haymarket. I had already built relationships with my Spring customers so I just let them know that I would be transitioning into another field and I stayed in contact with some of them.”
“I wanted to leave Sprint to start my own caregiving business, but my husband said “no” because we were putting our oldest son through college and I was making a decent salary with Sprint. However, I knew Sprint was not the right place for me anymore.”
“Then my husband and I were in a car accident on Vint Hill Road in 2005 and I was out of work for 9 months. While I was out of work recovering from the auto accident, I had to have shoulder surgery and I started getting physical therapy for my shoulder and my knee at Haymarket Physical Therapy. I told Holly, the owner of Haymarket Physical Therapy, that I wanted to start my own business caring for seniors and she told me that when I was finished with physical therapy that I could come into her establishment and shadow her workers there and build a relationship with some of the seniors that were coming in for PT.
“I also learned that I could get my Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) license at Birmingham Green and take advantage of their free in-house training to become state certified as a certified nurse’s assistant. So I went through the schooling at Birmingham Green and went to work with them for a year.”
“I developed my business plan and got help from the Flory Small Business Center in Manassas to establish my business. I continued to shadow the physical therapists at Haymarket Physical Therapy while working for Birmingham Green.”
“After I left Birmingham Green, I was hired by my first client who lived off of Vint Hill Road. He was a retired Army colonel in his 80’s who had dementia. As his dementia got worse, his family decided to put him in an assisted living facility in Manassas. Then that family started referring me to other people and my business took off.”
“I became so busy that I started hiring employees to keep up with the demand for my services.”
Caregiver Qualifications & Training
“I only hire people who have it in their heart to do this kind of work, because if you don’t have it in your heart to give people the love and the care they need, it isn’t a good fit. I prefer to hire Certified Nursing Assistants. I train all my employees, whether they are new to the field or come to me with prior experience.
“I always accompany my caregivers to each client’s home for the first visit and introduce them to the client and to the client’s family because I want to make sure that it is a good fit. I will not put a caregiver with someone if it is not a good fit. I will stay there with the client and the caregiver for a whole day or however long they want us in their home, then I follow up with the caregiver to make sure that the caregiver feels comfortable and I follow up with the family to make sure that they feel comfortable.”
“I like my caregivers to have Certified Nurse Assistant certificate, as well as CPR and First Aid certifications. They also need to have a valid driver’s license and valid insurance.”
“I offer training once a year for my caregivers to make sure that we stay up to date as far as transferring clients or how to walk with a client, for fall prevention and all of that.”
What Sets Compassionate Hearts for Seniors Apart From Other Home Care Companies?
“We are more hands on than other home care companies I’ve seen. I am very involved in my business and I follow up with my caregivers daily. When my caregivers leave a client’s home, I receive an update on that client, including what they had to eat, if they were in a good mood, what their activities were, because I feel it is important for me to know what is going on so when the family comes to me with a question I can answer it. With larger agencies, they don’t get that one on one attention.”
Continuity of Care
“Once I’ve determined that a caregiver is a good fit for that client, I arrange for that caregiver to stay with that client on a consistent basis so they always know who they can expect to be staying in their home with them. If the assigned caregiver becomes sick or is unable to care for their client on their scheduled days, then I will go in her place.”
Coordinating Palliative Care and Hospice Care
“We also work hand in hand with palliative care and hospice. When I believe my clients need more medical care than we are licensed to provide, I will meet with the family and let them know that they may want to start considering palliative care or hospice care.”
“Palliative care is care that eases the patient’s pain and make them comfortable. If the patient gets to a point where palliative care is not sufficient to control their pain like they would like, that is when we transition them to hospice.”
“Hospice provides the medical care that we cannot offer. A hospice nurse will come in to monitor the client and make sure they have everything they need and make any changes that are needed.”
“We make sure that all of us — my caregivers, palliative care providers and hospice providers — are communicating together and keeping family members well informed about what is going on.”
“I am blessed to have a fantastic team of experienced and compassionate caregivers. All of us put 150% into the care that we give to our clients. When you have a team that cares and has good communication it makes the care for the client so much nicer and makes sure they and their family members get what they need. When a client is in our care, we want to make sure that the family members are not worrying about their loved one and know they are in good care.”
“We serve clients living in Warrenton, Bealeton, Manassas, Haymarket, and Gainesville areas. We are also available to travel with clients to weddings, family reunions or other out-of-town events and stay overnight with them for an additional charge.”
How to Contact Lisa
Visit www.compassionateheartsforseniors.com to learn more about Lisa’s services. You can submit a request for care through the website, and also find employment application forms there if you are interested in working for Compassionate Hearts for Seniors.