The sense of personal fulfillment and engagement with one’s community is exactly why Denise and Victor Henshaw started a Nurse Next Door franchise. They have now been proud owners of Nurse Next Door Sunshine Coast for over two years! We interviewed Denise to learn more about what led her and Victor to set out on the entrepreneurial path.
The Henshaws’ moved from Calgary, Alberta to the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia in 2015.
Victor is a retired family and emergency physician, and Denise has a business degree and an extensive work history as an accountant and IT consultant.
As an IT consultant, Denise would travel around Canada implementing systems and training companies to use new technologies. But she also traveled frequently to visit and care for her mother, who lived in another province. Denise’s mother was homebound for the last several years of her life, but was determined to stay in her own home.
Denise ended up hiring a home care service for her mother. It gave her peace of mind as a daughter who lived far away and also allowed Denise to visit her mother and spend quality mother-daughter time together, instead of having to carry out family caregiver tasks when she visited. When caring for a loved one from long distance, it’s crucially important to have high-quality home care for seniors, especially for those like Denise’s mother, who very much enjoyed being able to age, and eventually pass away in her own home. This experience allowed Denise to see first-hand what a difference quality home care can make in the life of a loved one that needs help to maintain their independence and their family.
Denise realized that she wanted a career change — this time with the objective of getting involved in her community, giving back and making a positive difference in people’s lives.
When Denise and Victor moved to the Sunshine Coast, they realized a huge demographic opportunity for home care: over a third of the population in Sunshine Coast is over the age of 65 years old (Statistics Canada)!
The couple did some research on what type of home care opportunities were available and came across Nurse Next Door. The core values of: WOW Customer Experience, Find a Better Way, Admire People and Passionate About Making a Difference aligned with them.
Denise says, “My favorite core value is ‘Passionate About Making a Difference’, because this core value impacts all of the other ones. If we are passionate about making a difference, then we are always looking for new ways to bring happiness to our clients, and we’re always committed to providing the very best customer experience. We admire our clients and it is so rewarding to be able to make a difference in their lives.”
Residential and Assisted Living Facilities are rather sparse on the Sunshine Coast. The situation that’s seen way too often is seniors having to relocate to the mainland to get the care they need, rather than being able to age in place on the Sunshine Coast. Denise and Victor are proud to provide their community’s seniors with the option and choice to stay at home.
What skill from your previous job transfer over to your own business?
“Of course there’s the usual business skills, planning, analysis, organization etc. But I think the most inspiring part of my previous job was connecting with people, helping them on a new path to success. In some ways, running a home care company is similar because we get to connect with our clients, and help them succeed and carry on at home when it becomes difficult due to declining health conditions.”
How do you build a strong Care Team? What’s your employee experience like?
“Firstly, we look for caregivers that have big hearts. Compassion and caring are qualities that we want all our caregivers to exemplify. It takes a special kind of person to be an amazing caregiver, therefore it’s important to us that our caregivers know that they are appreciated and that each one of them is an integral part of our team!”
Denise sends out monthly newsletters and provides resources such as First Aid training as well as on-the-job training for caregivers who want to expand their skills.
She tries to celebrate her caregivers whenever the opportunity arises, whether it is impromptu gatherings for lunch or coffee, barbeques at her home, training opportunities at the office, as well as annual Christmas parties. Recently Denise and Victor hosted a Labour Day party at their house along with a “fun” croquet tournament, it was such a hit that it’s becoming an annual event!
A home care franchise works well in a big urban city as well as a small town. Nurse Next Door’s territories are created based on local senior population and geography. Each territory is protected for our Franchise Partners to establish a robust business. You can work where you live! You can use your knowledge of your local area and build a full-fledged home care business whilst creating relationships within your community!
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