Caregivers at Bhide's organisation are trained byu doctors, nurses, scholars and IITians. So far, about 60 families have benifited from the home service. |Fotocorp
Manjri Bodaonkar recently underwent a knee replacement surgery, but could not find a suitable home care health service provider. On a friend’s recommendation, she tested Aaji Care-at-Home Services and the doctors tell Bodaonkar she is treading fast on the road to recovery.
No longer uncommon in India, home healthcare services are fast becoming best option for post-operative recovery. And to help with that is a young Mumbai-based social entrepreneur, Prasad Bhide. A project manager in a US-based IT company in Mumbai, Bhide started Aaji Care-at-Home Services in August 2012 and there has been no looking back for him. “The idea came to me because of my personal experience when my grandmother and mother were hospitalised, and during the post-hospitalisation stage we were struggling to get a good caregiver at our home. I always wanted to start something to help people and I thought was an apt project,” says Bhide.
The organisation, with its unique one-month Home Care Assistant programme, provides non-medical care services to families through trained care assistants. “People working in this field need to be respected and empowered for their contribution. Also, I felt that the issues I faced during my family crisis should not be faced by others. This can only be done through more compassionate, safe and organised professional service to families with seniors, patients, disabled and small kids,” he says. Having trained close to 30 caregivers by doctors, nurses, PhD scholars and IITians in three batches, Aaji has helped 60 families around Powai with its services.
But like every other social enterprise, Bhide faced several hiccups before the big start. “When we started, our key challenges were getting good resources and convincing them for training. Also attrition was one of the key challenges in this area and we have taken various steps to minimise it,” says Bhide.
According to a September 2012 report of the National Journal of Community Medicine, almost 99.75 per cent (of 400 surveyed) households said that home care services were more comfortable and provided a familiar environment. About 98.50 per cent of experts say home care services could help patients to recover faster.
“We have received several calls from investors, but I want to test the field myself. There is high demand and requirement for such help, and it is an untapped sector which needs attention from all economic and social spheres of the society,” Bhide says. With the middle-class and high middle-class families in metro cities as his target, Bhide currently wants to focus only in the areas between Thane to Ghatkopar and Powai. “We have to start from scratch,” he points.
Shuttling between a high-profile job and his dream, Bhide runs a successful social enterprise which, he says, is getting useful feedback. “We are at a nascent stage and that means we are still learning from our mistakes. We are on the right track, and I am sure with everybody’s involvement, we will do an even better one in the near future,” he says confidently.