Seeking care anytime, anywhere
Portal for careseekers looking for help and for those seniors looking for that second career.
Yeo Wan Ling’s 87-year-old grandmother had a bad cold, and after her discharge from the hospital in late 2014, she still was weak and her family wanted to find a caregiving professional to come to the house to look after her. Wan Ling remarked that it took them two weeks to find someone and the “experience was stressful for the family”.
“I wished we had the resources to make decisions at the time,” Wan Ling said. In another incident, when she had her fibroids removed, just two months after her grandmother’s discharge, her mother had to step in to take care for her. “If only our product was up then,” she said.
Wan Ling is talking about her portal Caregiver Asia, which was launched earlier this year, where “careseekers” can book online for a caregiver to help them look after a senior with dementia, take care of someone after giving birth or even a child with autism. They can book at a short notice, and anytime and receive affordable care islandwide within six hours. “Booking is immediate unlike other services [being offered]. Usually it is 48 hours or when they call back, which is no relief for the careseeker,” said Wan Ling.
Careseekers can even find a caregiver if they are looking for help with simple tasks such as wound dressing or hair-cutting, which is listed on the portal under personal care. Careseekers can browse from the available services in the different caregiving categories and then book for the service. If the category they are looking for is not available, they can put in a query to Caregiver Asia. According to Wan Ling, they are currently building an improved version of the portal where careseekers can list their service requirements.
Careseekers can view the caregiving professionals’ short profile and terms and conditions of their services. As an added peace of mind, they can see the reviews of the caregiving professional and give their feedback on the caregiver they had.
And for potential caregiving professionals, including seniors who have caregiving experience or who have worked in the nursing sector, or are looking for a second career, this is good news as they now have a platform to offer their services. On the portal, they sign up and indicate the length of their session, cost, language and location preferences, whether they can deal with pets or not, among other things.
Caregiving professionals are required to indicate the number of years of experience and upload their educational certificates, which are then screened and verified by Caregiver Asia. According to Wan Ling, there are also a number of other safeguards in place – “We also ask for their backgrounds, which includes if they have been convicted for a crime previously. Secondly, If there is three or more complaints about a caregiver or a careseeker, the account will be suspended. If there is a police report lodged, the account will be suspended immediately.”
According to the company, caregivers must come from an accredited school, and/or have the necessary experience and if they were a enrolled or registered nurse, they need to fill in their registration number. Only caregiving professionals who are Singaporeans or PRs can sign up to offer their services and at any time, their information given on the site can be edited by them.
There is no fee to sign up to the portal or for the caregiving professional to offer their services, however, the careseeker pays a service fee of six percent of the total service fee charged by the caregiver, which goes to Caregiver Asia. “We collect the service fee upfront so that the caregivers are assured payment when they have finished their services. Also, the careseeker is protected and will get a refund if the caregiver is a no-show,” explained Wan Ling. Charges will then be paid to the caregiving professional up to three days after the service is rendered and no complaints are lodged.
Caregiver Asia, which also has an offline placement business where it places healthcare professionals into full-time positions, is exploring subscription fees to the online portal or to charge listing fees when caregivers list their services.
As of presstime, Wan Ling shared that they have 8,000 caregiving professionals, most who are in Singapore, registered in their company’s database but they have not activated their accounts yet. Currently, about 300 people have signed up as careseekers, and about 100 caregivers have turned on their services at various times in the last two months. Added Wan Ling: “It is early days still, and we will be turning up our marketing and education efforts in getting people to use the portal. Ironically, while we get many careseekers who browse the service listings, the vast majority of them prefer to write us an e-mail to get us to book the caregiver for them.
“So many of the ‘matches’ are done outside the portal currently. I think that it is a matter of getting used to booking a ‘personal’ service like care online. So for the next few months, we will come up with explanatory videos on the process, so people can ‘envisage’ and thereafter feel comfortable with this new way of doing things.”
With the mission of reaching out to one million caregivers across Asia, said Caregiver Asia, the company has already set up offices in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong/Macau. Since launching in these cities, work is underway to launch the portal in Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and Japan.
“We don’t want to be just a one product company and we’re looking to focus at community care as our next enhancement to the portal. Essentially, we will be launching an additional platform that enables caregivers with similar or complementary skillsets to group together to share resources, and their caregiving schedules,” said Wan Ling.
The idea here she said is to ensure that caregivers don’t get burnt out, and new independent practitioners with limited resources, can pool together their resources to hit the ground running faster. Caregiver Asia is also planning to add best practice videos for caregiving professionals, and offering other alternative services such as art and music therapies.
** Caregivers and caregivers can log in through Facebook or Linkedin or directly to the Caregiver Asia portal. They can also download the Caregiver Asia app on their iPhone and Android phones.