Assisted Living Locator's founder Angela Olea spends some time with 89-year-old Magdalen Bieling at the assisted living home where she resides. Julio Jimenez Tribune
An assisted-living placement service founded by two nurses has experienced rapid growth and will begin nationally franchising later this year. Scottsdale-based CALL RN (Certified Assisted Living Locators) provides clients with information about group homes, or assisted living homes, as an alternative to hospitals and nursing homes.
Angela Olea, a registered nurse, is the cofounder and owner.
“I just saw a need in the hospitals for discharge planning,” she said. “We would see the same people come back every few months. Each time they would get readmitted, they would be sicker and sicker. We would send them home where they’re not getting proper monitoring. They wouldn’t have proper nutrition, follow-up and so on. So on their own, their medications would run out, and they would get sick again and then get readmitted.”
Olea began researching to determine what options were available for elderly patients and learned of several nurses who were starting group homes or assisted living homes. “Mostly they’re homes that are sprinkled through every single neighborhood throughout Arizona,” she said. “They just look like a regular house, but they have grab bars in the bathroom, and the home is actually licensed by the state, and they provide 24-hour care.”
The firm provides its service free to seniors and their families, and has more than 500 contracts with smaller group homes and
larger assisted-living facilities. The company generates revenue from the fees paid by the group homes and assisted living facilities per placement.
“I have a team of 10 people who work with me, and it ranges from a master’s degree social worker to a geriatric nurse practitioner, and a senior advocate,” Olea said. “There’s also registered nurses.”
Typically, the company is contacted by either a hospital discharge social worker or the relative of an elderly loved one.
“They will call us and say either my mom is in the hospital or my father’s had a decline in health, what options are available,” Olea said. “Once we find out what are their care needs, what are their medical needs and what’s their finances, we present them with options to help them, especially with finances. We try to present them with at least three different options.”
CALL RN has a video library of all the group homes and facilities available, and can provide virtual tours to clients. In addition to being licensed by the state, all of the homes are evaluated by company staff.
“In Arizona, we’re up to probably 1,900 group homes — residential care homes — so I think that people want an alternative to the nursing home setting,” Olea said.
“They want to be in a homelike situation. We’re seeing a trend toward what is the noninstitutional.”
For example, one of the group homes CALL RN works with is Emerald Groves, a home in Mesa that includes a large garden and farm animals. “In Mesa, you can have up to 10 residents living in a home, and then in Chandler you can only have five people living in a home,” Olea said.
“If you drove into a neighborhood, you would not be able to tell that assisted-living home from your neighbor’s home.”
Olea’s firm is growing, and it placed its 1,000th client late last year. It is now working with James Ullman, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, LLP, on its franchising plan.
Franchisees, or those given permission to market the company’s goods or services in a local area, would train at the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale and then replicate the company’s operations in their home state, Olea said.