LifeSpire of Virginia, Home Care Joint Venture of Pinnacle Living Form
Two providers of senior residences – LifeSpire of Virginia and Pinnacle Living – have teamed up to provide home care services under a new joint venture agreement. The partnership comes at a time when more and more senior care providers are integrating home care into their service lines, a trend that has not gone very well in the past.
Richmond-based LifeSpire of Virginia is a senior housing provider that operates four Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) with 1,300 residents in the state of Old Dominion.
Meanwhile, Pinnacle Living is a Glen Allen, Va.-Based retirement home provider that offers assisted living and memory support residences. The company operates five communities and serves 1,100 residents.
The newly formed organization was named Senior Living Partners of Virginia LLC (SLP). William Mayes has been appointed CEO of SLP. Prior to joining, Mayes was senior vice president at WesleyLife in Des Moines, Iowa.
The decision to form SLP was inspired by demographic trends and the goal of increasing care options for residents, Mayes told Home Health Care News.
“You have 70 million baby boomers starting to age, and the older that population gets, the greater the need for this type of service – home care,” he said. “They have always had outpatient services in their communities, and they see an opportunity for them to offer this kind of service to help meet the needs of residents.
Discussions to form SLP began a few years ago, when the two vendors recognized the similarities between their organizations.
“These are two large continuing care communities in the state of Virginia with very longstanding histories,” Mayes said. “They have each been in business for over 70 years. They are both faith-based nonprofits, and they started talking about how similar they were and how they wanted to expand their mission.
The Senior Living Partners of Virginia model
Through the agreement, SLP will provide qualified home health services, as well as on-call care. SLP will initially offer these services in the greater areas of Richmond, Newport News and Williamsburg.
For now, SLP plans to focus on serving residents of LifeSpire of Virginia and Pinnacle Living, with plans to eventually expand home care services to surrounding communities as a whole.
“The big picture is an aging population and how we can help them maintain their independence no matter where they live, whether it’s their personal home or a community like LifeSpire of Virginia. or Pinnacle Living, ”Mayes said. “We are going to support them and help them stay as healthy as possible to avoid hospitalizations.”
In addition, SLP also finalized the purchase of Williamsburg Landing Home Health and acquired its existing assets, including state and federal home health licenses and certifications. The company will operate as a subsidiary of SLP and operate under the name Affirmation Home Health.
While home care is new territory for Pinnacle Living, LifeSpire of Virginia took the plunge in 2019.
At the time, the company launched Lakewood at Home, a continuing home care program that helped seniors age in place. Under the program, members pay a monthly membership fee for home care and other services.
This previous experience has proven useful for SLP in staffing. The company will hire existing Lakewood at Home staff, with plans to expand the team as needed.
Emerging trends and potential pitfalls
In general, the speech-language pathologist follows the trend of elderly care providers entering the home care space. Providers of retirement homes have been particularly interested in providing private paid home care.
This is often a response to the increased demand for home care, as older people prefer to stay in their homes and communities. In fact, 90% of seniors want to stay at home for as long as they can, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the AARP Public Policy Institute.
Besides the speech-language pathologist, some examples of senior care providers moving to the home care space include Bickford Senior Living, Senior Resource Group, and Holiday Retirement. Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) also plans to expand its home health business, according to a June report from Senior Housing News.
Overall, more than half of the largest nonprofit seniors’ organizations in the United States offer some sort of home and community service (HCBS), according to the LZ 200 list.
One of the reasons that home care services are attractive to senior living service providers is that they allow operators to create internal referrals, where clients can start receiving home care, then move to a community later, if necessary.
Home care and senior living also has similarities with private paid income models, which are typically used in independent and assisted living.
Still, there are many challenges for elderly care providers who wish to provide care at home. And many operators who have tried to launch HCBS lines in the past have failed.
One of the biggest hurdles is staffing.
Even the most experienced home care providers suffer from staffing issues as labor shortages persist. The median turnover rate for private home care providers was 65.2% in 2020, according to the Home Care Benchmarking Report.
There are also significant differences in what home care workers and the elderly value. For example, home care workers tend to favor flexible hours, while workers in retirement homes often value consistency, SHN noted in its recent report.
Mayes believes the biggest challenge with senior residences is understanding the difference between the two industries. Home care and elderly care providers provide care to similar populations, but they have very different operational platforms, he said.
Before jumping into home care, senior care providers should do the right amount of market research and build relationships with established industry experts, Mayes said.
“I think studying the market is really important,” he said. “It’s important to bring in people who know the industry you want to get into. Make sure you plan to develop a very solid plan and base of operations. Make sure you have some solid advice or guidance before you start.