Chastity Voiles and Michelle Shadburn heard the calling to help the elderly, and they answered.
The two left their jobs in the medical field to pursue their dream of starting a home care business. After spending six months working to obtain approval with the Georgia Department of Community Health, they officially opened Loving Hearts Care Service, LLC on May 23, 2019.
“We want the community to know that they matter and we’re here,” Shadburn said. “It doesn’t matter how big or small their needs are. You never know until you ask, and everybody matters.”
Loving Hearts Care Service is a Gainesville-based mobile home care company that caters to people around Hall County and surrounding counties.
The services Voiles and Shadburn offer include companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, hospital transfer assistance, fall prevention, postoperative care and assistance with basic needs.
Voiles and Shadburn, who own Loving Hearts Care Service, work hands-on with their three-person staff to make sure their employees are treating the clients the way they would.
They additionally have a contracted registered nurse who supervises the staff and performs assessments with the clients.
Depending on the person’s needs, the staff can devote anywhere from two to 10 hours a day per client. Since the company is newly established, Voiles said it only involves the non-medical side of home care.
Voiles said the biggest challenges of starting up a home care service entailed filling out the paperwork to receive approval from the Georgia Department of Community Health, and growing her clientele base.
Once they received the go-ahead from the state to launch their company, Voiles and Shadburn hit the ground running. They marketed it through rehabilitation facilities, assisted living homes and social media.
Shadburn said most of their clients found Loving Hearts Care Service via word of mouth. After a month of opening the business, people finally started calling.
Voiles said their combined experience of 30 years in the medical field helped establish trust with their new clients.
“Everybody that we’ve come in contact with so far, they’ve known someone that has met us before,” she said.
When Shadburn cares for her older clients, she thinks of her grandmother.
Shaburn’s grandmother had Alzheimer's. She eventually forgot who her granddaughter was, but remembered one request she made — to have Shadburn sing over her at her funeral.
When the time came, she fulfilled her grandmother’s wish.
Shadburn said many people asked her, “How did you do that?”
“It goes back to what we will do every day for our clients,” she said. “Will it be hard to do? Absolutely, but that’s the very last thing I could do for her. It was hard for me to do emotionally, but it was easy for me to do because she asked me to. With our clients, we do what they ask us to do because that’s what they need.”
Voiles said her eyes were opened to her passion for the eldery while she worked as a certified nursing assistant at 17.
She cared for a man at the end of his life. One day she was asked to help the nurses “turn over and change him.”
“I’ll never forget that day,” Voiles said. “That’s when I knew caring for the elderly was what I always wanted to do. I loved that man and when I turned him, he died. I knew because I heard him take a breath, then he stopped breathing.”
Voiles said she couldn’t hold back her tears and stayed with the man’s wife until his body was taken away.
Voiles and Shadburn make a point to be invested in their clients’ lives. More often than not, they become adopted family members.
“Yes, what we do is catered toward the client,” Shadburn said. “But, at the end of the day, we’re not only there for the client, we’re there for the family.”
Every week Voiles and Shadburn pop by their clients’ homes to give them a gourmet cupcake or sub sandwich. Although family members may say that they’ll regularly visit their loved ones who live alone, Voiles said 10% of the time, this isn’t the case.
“We want to give them something to let them know we’re checking up on their family member,” she said. “One thing with the elderly that I’ve noticed, especially with my grandmother, they just want some attention and to know that somebody cares.”
Voiles and Shadburn also pay surprise visits to monitor their staff. The owners, who have witnessed elder neglect and abuse outside of their company, said they condemn those actions and will fire anyone who fails to do their job.
“We’re making sure that we hire trustworthy people,” Shadburn said. “At the end of the day, the client is the No. 1 responsibility and their needs are more important.”
The co-owners said they keep their phones on 24/7 to accept calls from potential or current clients.
Voiles said they are willing to help anyone who needs their service. The company’s staff drive to homes within a 50-mile radius of Hall County. Loving Hearts Carer Service also offers discounts to veterans, first responders and new clients.
People can reach Voiles and Shadburn via email at email@example.com or by calling 770-530-0532.
For more information about Loving Hearts Care Service visit lovingheartscareservice.com.