By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
When you’ve walked in the shoes of a caregiver to a family member in declining health, you know the person you want for your loved one has to be patient, kind, and fully educated on the treatment he deserves.
When a parent suffers a loss of cognitive ability, the physical and emotional toll and medical demands are often more than a family caregiver can absorb alone.
Nicole Tegeler, Tammi Mara, and Ms. Hudgins have walked this painful path with their loved ones. With a background in Dementia/Alzheimer’s in assisted living, memory care, and senior living, these women have founded a very special senior home care company.
As a way to offer a caring touch – physically and mentally – to help seniors, TouchStone Home Care was born as a boutique agency to provide certified, compassionate caregivers that treat each senior client with dignity.
Combining Nicole’s Masters in Exercise Physiology, Tammi’s experience in memory care in the assisted living communities, with Ms. Hudgin’s nurse practitioner medical background, the women wanted to help other families in similar circumstances, overwhelmed and looking for support.
“We got together with our personal experience from our family, and decided to start a nurse registry,” said Tammi. “There was a need for it, and we wanted a different approach – a boutique-style – a little different from other home care nurse registries.”
Opened in 2017, TouchStone Home Care is private pay, private duty, providing any service a senior may need that is considered not skilled. While the home health company does not do wound care, physical, occupational, or speech therapy, Touchstone provides daily living activities.
“We provide bathing, dressing, transportation, meals, medication reminders, and anything that does not require medical skill,” said Tammi.
The team creates a care plan for every client. A safe, socially-distanced one-on-one assessment is arranged with the influencer and directly with the client to put together the best care plan for that particular client.
“Every assessment and every client is going to be a little different,” she said. “Each care plan is tailored to what their needs are.”
Services range from a 15-minute check-up to round the clock care. Though live-in services are available, most clients opt for 4-12 hr shifts.
“It’s about building the right team and caregivers for that individual client,” said Tammi.
Nicole added, “Some of our clients come to us with their own needs. It may be a schedule that we’re with them four hours a day, three times a week, or 24/7. It all depends on the client. We give our recommendations based on the assessment. Ms. Hudgins, our nurse practitioner, reviews the chart and then based on the family or client’s need – they’re going to have some input on what they need and why they called us – and we design a plan of care and schedule accordingly.”
It’s easy to spot the home care team in vivid orange uniforms with the tagline “live longer, better.”
“It’s pretty impactful in the community. They may not know our name or exactly what we do, but we’re known as the ladies in orange for providing the services that we do,” said Tammi.
What separates this company besides its signature bright uniforms is the company has a focus on Wellness, including lectures and exercise classes, in the local senior communities throughout Hillsborough County. They focus on a holistic approach for the client and their family.
Nicole explained, “We offer a lot of education on the preventive part – aging gracefully.”
They focus on the front-end of health and wellness, and if they do need their help, the team at TouchStone Home Care can help them along the way.
“Wellness is definitely a specialty niche for all of us. My background is exercise physiology, and Mara and Hudgins have a huge wellness background themselves. We all live it, breathe it, and preach it because it’s important to help our seniors, but also along the way, help the family members,” said Nicole. “We want to be that impactful company. When we teach these classes in the community, presenting in our orange shirts, it gives us a chance to know the people.
During the pandemic, employees are required to send in negative test results every two weeks and are supplied with gloves and masks for the safety of the client, the family, and for their own safety and wellbeing.
“TouchStone wouldn’t be TouchStone without the incredible team that we have. We are very fortunate. We have close to 100 caregivers under our umbrella. They are not employees, people working for us. We work with them. We try to create a team mentality, so we can help our clients, giving the families peace of mind,” said Tammi.
TouchStone Home Care is continually growing and adding to their team to serve as many clients as needed. They are alway hiring and looking for diverse, experienced caregivers to add to their team.
Nicole said, “The ladies in orange help bring some joy and energy, and help make an impact so that our clients’ quality of life is better than what it could have been. Like our shirts say, live longer, better.”
To learn more about TouchStone Home Care, to find out about employment opportunities, or to schedule a consultation, visit www.touchstonehomecarefl.com. Or call (813)426-7848