Growing up, Jackie Lieske watched as her mother became bedridden with multiple sclerosis.
“My father promised to keep my mom at home so we had to rely on in-home assistance,” Lieske said. “We had good experiences and some awful experiences.”
As an adult, it was her goal to open her own home-health business, and in 2010, she opened Shorecare of Delaware in Middletown.
Lieske, 51, was assistant vice president at Bank of America prior to founding Shorecare. She said her business experience and her experience caring for a sick parent are keys to her success.
Entering its third year, Lieske said the business has grown and expanded from Middletown, first to Dover and now to Sussex County.
“We've learned a lot over the past year and hope to put all this new knowledge to use serving the state,” Lieske said. “We do things differently at Shorecare because we work extra hard to make sure each family knows their caregiver.”
Instead of being assigned a caregiver, each family meets and interviews several possible professionals. In the end, it is the family who chooses the caregiver, as well as the back-up person who will fill in if the primary is on vacation.
Caregivers can provide care ranging from one hour to 24 hours a day if needed. A registered nurse makes each initial assessment of the patients, then follow-up care is assigned to the family's preferred certified nursing assistant, home-health aide or companion, depending on the patient's needs.
“We provide comfort for the family and for the patient,” she said. “In home healthcare, the family can't handle it on their own, and that's why we are there.”
Lieske also helps arrange at-home appointments with hairdressers or clergy and arranges transportation if the patient needs to get to a doctor's appointment or event.
“There are lots of small things we help with,” Lieske said. “I am trying to make it the one place where clients can go to find what they need.”
Besides being contracted by families, Shorecare also works with other organizations such as nursing homes to provide healthcare assistance.
"This is more than a business to me; the combination of living the experience and having a business background rounds out my business to give it that little extra that is hard to find in a larger, more commercialized, business," Lieske said.
Shorecare employs about 60 people, but also has temporary workers to fill in where needed.
Lieske has even bigger plans for the future.
“We started talking about building a respite center outside of Dover where clients could stay for a short amount of time,” Lieske said. “Nursing homes are crowded, so I am thinking of doing a 12-bed facility with the comfort of home.”
Lieske said the facility would have individual suites with a sofa and television so family members could come and visit.
The respite home would just be for patients waiting to get into a nursing home. She said when family members go on vacation, a patient could stay at the facility until they return.
“It would be like a vacation for the patients as well,” she said.
For more information, call 1-888-482-8201 or go to www.shorecareofdelaware.com.