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Helping caregivers' dreams come true

WHEN asked what our dreams are, most of us have one or two in mind, but we're often too sidetracked by daily life to focus on them.

WHEN asked what our dreams are, most of us have one or two in mind, but we're often too sidetracked by daily life to focus on them.

But North Vancouver-based Nurse Next Door is helping its employees find time to explore those dreams and hopefully make them come true.

The franchise, which offers at-home health care services to seniors, recently rolled out its Dreams program, which offers employees a chance to think about their dreams, discuss them in a group setting and create a "written compass," that will serve as motivation.

"Basically it's getting all the things that you want in life and putting it all together in a collage of images, so that's something that you're seeing every day. And when you position it that way, when you see something every day, that's what you're going to start going towards," says Danny Birch, co-owner of the Nurse Next Door's North Shore franchise, adding that the company will also make one of it's employees' dreams come true through a contest. According to Birch, the dreams can be as simple as taking the family out to the movies or as big as sponsoring relatives from another country.

Nurse Next Door offers everything from companionship to meal prep, transportation and around the clock nursing care. It hires registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, care aids and even moms who just want to provide support.

While the main objective is to help clients, Birch said it's just as important to take care of the caregivers.

"Our caregivers are the heart of our business. They are the ones that are in the clients' homes every day, and they are the ones filling our purpose of making lives better so it's our job as a company to help our employees make their lives better."

The Dreams program works particularly well from a business standpoint, because it makes casual staff members want to stick around for longer, according to Birch.

"The turnover with the staff is quite high in this industry, and what that means for our clients is we can't provide that continuity of care as much as we'd like to -- having that same caregiver go in so they can build that relationship up with the clients," says Birch.

"By implementing a program such as this, it's building huge loyalty to the company . . . because we're not only helping their dreams come but we're really connecting with them on a personal level."

Nurse Next Door has been recognized as a top employer in B.C. by The Globe and Mail and BCBusiness Magazine.

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