Washington home care agency marks first anniversary

Washington Home Care LLC, founded by Sara Guillemette, above, marks its first anniversary this month.

Washington Home Care LLC, founded by Sara Guillemette, above, marks its first anniversary this month.

Courtesy of Washington Home Care

Washington Home Care LLC in Washington marks its one-year anniversary this month.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-medical home care referral agency for hourly and live-in private duty home care has served the needs of 40-plus families throughout northwest Connecticut.

Created by Woodbury resident Sara Guillemette, Washington Home Care LLC is a registry model whereby caregivers are hired by individuals, families, or legal healthcare representatives for private in-home non-medical care.

The agency’s caregivers take their direction for care needs directly from their clients.

The business opened Dec. 21, 2019 “by welcoming more than 90 people for a grand opening celebration, Guillemette said.

The opening featured singer Chloé-Belle, catered foods by The Pantry, cider with donuts by Averill Farms, sparkling wines by Hopkins Vineyard, plus the Litchfield Distillery pouring.

Attendees included Washington area residents, companions, CNAs, PCAs, HHAs, LPNs, RNs, social workers and doctors, Town of Washington board members, the ambulance captain, a retired hospice author, the founder of Academy of Medical Training, bank presidents and attorneys.

“One year later, everyone’s life has changed dramatically and the need for in-home care services has escalated dramatically nationwide,” the owner said.

The agency is serving the private care needs of 17 individuals.

Spanning the past year, the agency’s service area has been Washington, Litchfield, Milton, Morris, Goshen, Warren, New Preston, Roxbury, Bridgewater, Woodbury, Southbury, Sandy Hook, Waterbury, Winsted and Watertown.

“In total, non-medical services have been provided to 43 individuals, from very short-term transitional periods such as, after leaving a hospital to safely returning home, to clients needing longer-term care,” Guillemette said.

The business’ 27 caregivers range from non-certified homemaker-companions to certified nurse assistants, certified home health aides and certified personal care attendants.

“Certified caregivers are essential for individuals who have a long-term care insurance policy,” Guillemette said. “ This criteria also meets a growing trend that our industry is seeing nationwide, families are preferring to have their loved ones recover and rehabilitate at home versus entering a skilled nursing facility after surgery or illness.”

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the caregivers and the families serviced, Guillemette said “caregivers referred are highly responsible and follow a stringent process for taking on their new clients, as is our vetting process for accomplishing those goals.”

“For PPE, client families agree to stock these supplies in their home, plus our office is amply stocked,” she said. “Hand sanitizer is generously donated via 5-gallon drums from Bedoukian in Danbury.”

Non-medical double-lined fabric masks are sewn, mailed, and donated by Tri-State Mask Making Group. And the office caries forehead infrared thermometers and a pulse oximeter for caregivers.

During business hours, the office is locked. Its use is limited to in-person caregiver interviews by appointment only.

“By the time the caregiver interviews, I have spoken with the client applicant via phone, Zoom and or FaceTime to verify all HR documents are in order, and I have called all professional references for each interviewing caregiver,” Guillemette said.

Non-medical live-In caregivers can also be hired through the agency.

Most of the caregivers hail from Connecticut; others are from Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

All caregivers are interviewed by client families before they are hired by a family.

Locally-residing caregivers can be hired on an hourly basis and generally hail from within a 15-mile radius of the agency..

“As a registry business, there is no geographic restriction on where we can refer live-in caregivers, however, we must ensure that back-up care is feasible when choosing all service locations,” the owner said. “If a client prefers a full-time live-in caregiver, and the client has more than one home or regularly travels, it is possible we can identify a caregiver for that client’s unique needs.”

Guillemette said she is grateful for the local agencies that have collaborated with her business over the past year, including Allumé Home Health, All About You Home Care Services, Danbury Nurses Registry, Elara Caring, GeronNursing & Respite Care, Inc., Growing Options LLC, Malaika Home Health Care, Regional Hospice, Salisbury Nursing Registry Home Care Assistance, Tender Heart Homecare, TLC Homecare, VNA Home, Inc. and VNA Northwest Registry.

To learn more, visit www.WashingtonCTHomeCare.com, call 203-577-8979, or write to P.O. Box 1244, Washington, CT 06793-9991.