Sandra Carson worked for years as a registered nurse in a variety of settings including a hospital and nursing home.
Then she spent three years caring for her elderly mother in her home and discovered her passion in the process.
"Nobody knows what it's like until you do it; it's just a huge responsibility," Carson said of providing at-home care. "But it was so hugely rewarding for me."
Carson often talked with her friend and coworker Eva McMullin about the joy she found in providing at-home medical care.
"She kept after me and said, you need to do this," Carson said.
Together the St. Paul Park women launched Heart to Hand Home Care, a home care agency prepared to work with clients in Washington, Ramsey and Dakota counties. After about two years of developing their business plan, they are beginning to look for clients.
Heart to Hand offers a variety of in-home care, and not all of it is medical. In order to remain in their own homes, some people need assistance with housecleaning or running errands. Others need help with bathing, grooming or getting dressed. Some just need a visitor, so companion care also is offered.
Heart to Hand emphasizes their basic health care. As a registered nurse, Carson can help clients with medication, wound treatments and other care allowed by licensed registered nurses. Heart to Hand also has four part-time certified home health aides who can assist with tasks such as bathing and grooming.
Carson and McMullin developed Heart to Hand as a state-licensed private-pay service and do not accept payment through Medicare. Instead, clients pay out of pocket or through their long-term care insurance. That was a business decision based in part on a desire to avoid some of the "red tape" that would come with receiving government-subsidized payments, McMullin said. However, they use Medicare guidelines for their client documentation.
Carson said she likes the personal aspect to home care.
"They're not just a patient in a gown in a bed any longer," she said. "They are a person in their own home."
Both have years of medical experience, Carson in providing care and McMullin mainly in administering it. They said that makes them good business partners.
Carson and McMullin are optimistic their business will grow because there is a growing population of people over 65 in Washington County and few comparable in-home care businesses.
"We just say bring it on; we're ready," Carson said.
For more information about Heart to Hand Home Care, contact Sandy Carson at 651-395-0536 or Eva McMullin at 651-280-7999, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.