It takes patience, a big heart and stamina to get into the business of caring for sick children, but the need has never been more urgent. Families faced with myriad day-to-day responsibilities often find the burden of getting a disabled or gravely ill youngster to and from doctors' offices and hospitals to be overwhelming. Your decision to launch an in-home care business will greatly improve everyone’s quality of life from adults to children and, especially, yours.
Apply for or renew your professional health care giver’s credentials so you’re in a position to qualify for your home care licenses. Take classes if you’ve been out of the loop for some time or if you’ve been treating adults, as pediatrics will require you be proficient in the specialty’s language and practice. Obtain pediatric home care licenses and permits from local, county and state agencies.
Write a business plan for your pediatric home care business. Tap state licensing agencies for guidelines if you need assistance, ask other pediatric care-giving entities for help or contact an agency like Pediatric Services of America at 1-800-950-1580 if you have questions about what to include in your business plan.
Obtain catalogs and price lists published by medical supply and rental businesses in your area so you have a conduit for helping parents rent or buy equipment and supplies for your pediatric patients. Amass a list of resources you’ve vetted for honesty and affordability so you can recommend construction and remodeling professionals able to expand door frames to accommodate wheel chairs and build access ramps over steep staircases.
Learn the ins and outs of the Medicaid system if you anticipate that some of your pediatric caseload will come from low-income families already dependent upon public aid. Make an appointment with the closest Social Security office and speak with a Medicaid administrator if the literature you’ve gotten from their website or phone calls to their offices have left you with more questions than answers.
Protect your pediatric home care practice and reputation by obtaining malpractice insurance. Enlist the services of an accounting professional to make certain the legitimate expenses you incur while running your business are properly classified, allocated and amortized. Consider getting a surety bond if you feel that having one will enhance your business practice or reassure potential clients.
Market your services. Contact physicians, the pediatric departments of hospitals and clinics, social service agencies and others in a position to use or recommend your home care services. Affiliate with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce to create more conduits to people seeking pediatric home care.
Hire staff as your pediatric home care practice grows so you don’t burn out trying to be all things to all clients. Many little people—and their parents—are counting on you and you can’t give them your undivided attention, wisdom and enthusiasm if you’re too frazzled to think.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.