Imagine this: you are a busy professional with a growing family and an ailing parent or in-law who needs care. But, you are raised to take care of your elders as they took care of you when you were young. Now, you are stretched thin trying to be a parent, a child to your parents, and a professional go-getter. You are constantly consumed by guilt thinking about putting your parents in an assisted living or nursing home. You know that if you get a little support, you will be able to manage.
Enter Homage, a service providing medical and non-medical support built on love and respect since 2017. It is a technology-driven personalised and transparent care service provider that now has its presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and Japan. Gillian Tee, the Founder, observed people in her circle who needed regular care giving rise to the creation of Homage. She saw the gap in the caregiving business after returning home to Singapore after living abroad for 15 years.
Provide All Round Care Under Homage
Homage was created to understand the need to provide care within the comfort of your home irrespective of the patient’s age and the duration of the care to be given. The patients that require assistance could be recovering from surgery or in need of physiotherapy or just basic care. Irrespective of the requirement, Homage provides personalised support and guidance.
The core services of Homage include Care assessments, Personal Care covering Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as hygiene care and mobility assistance, home nursing procedures, and home rehabilitation services, including Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. Additionally, they also provide COVID-19 swab test services both at home and in the office.
Need For Care Services In An Ageing Population
Reports show that as of 2021, 7% (3.5 million) Malaysians are over 65 years old, making it an ageing nation. By 2030, Malaysia will be classified as an “aged” nation with older citizens making up 15% of the country’s total population.
This change in demographic creates the need for more assisted accommodation and health care services in the country. There are just over 240 registered care centres (Under the Care Centr Act 1993) and 16 registered nursing homes (Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act, 1998) for the 7% population of the country. Or in other words, 240 registered care centres and 16 registered nursing homes for a potential market of 35,00,000 people needing assistance. This number, as projected before, will double before the end of the decade.
For a country with an ageing population, little is known about the type or standard of care provided in public, private, or voluntary long-term aged care facilities. A key focus area is to further strengthen and develop Homage’s technology platform and product offerings. They intend to establish strategic partnerships and integration across their operating markets.
The focus is on building the team and internal capacity to meet the demand for the services they provide. They also plan to hasten the regional expansion and deepen strategic partnerships in the acute and long-term care ecosystem.
How Has Homage Fared According To The Market Insights?
Homage has, in the recent past, crossed a million hours of care delivery for Malaysian families. A break up of the service requested shows that 49% of family members requesting assistance are aged 44 years and below. 29% between 25-34 years old.
80% of care services provided by Homage are non-nursing related. This consists of help with daily living activities such as personal hygiene, companionship, meal preparation, and check-in visits. The medical conditions requiring assistance from Homage are Dementia (20%). Stroke (14%), and cancer (10%). Other conditions include diabetes (8%), Parkinson’s (6%), and heart conditions (5%)
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The primary services under Homage are for:
- Activities of daily living (ADLs) like washing, toileting, dressing, feeding, companionship, mobility, and transfer.
- Medical escorts to bring care recipients for regular medical check-ups.
- Nursing support care for wound dressing, stoma care, etc.
- Medical conditions like dementia, stroke, hypertension, Parkinson’s, cancer, etc
Homage Is Unlike Any Other Care Giving Facility
Homage services are suitable for anyone who needs support taking care of their loved ones. Juggling a career, family and an ailing or special needs loved one can cause stress in the family. Putting a loved one in assisted living facilities or nursing home is unthinkable as there is a great value put in taking care of our aged and ailing parents.
Homage eases the tension by sharing the responsibility of providing care to the provider and by giving dignity to the recipients through:
- REliability: Personalized care with experience of local nuances which is only possible by hiring the best local care service providers.
- RElief: Complete A to Z care for all care recipients.
- REassurance: The Homage app eases apprehension by giving customers access to monitor their loved ones.
- REgain: By acting as a complementary partner to families and care recipients by providing comfort and dignity for independent living.
Turning An Offline Format Of Business Into Online Mode
Many compare trained caregivers with domestic helpers and assume that domestic help can also act as a caregiver. However, it’s important to note that all caregivers under Homage are trained professionals adequately equipped to do the manual transfer of care to the recipient, provide basic life support skills like CPR, and manage care for wounds and bleeding.
Without this training, providing care to recipients might be detrimental
Many families approach for assistance too late when the care recipient’s health has already reached a critical stage of their lives. Or only after the primary care provider has suffered burnout due to the stress. This challenges the veracity of the care provided by Homage.
For the brand, it was a very deliberate choice to operate the business in both online and offline models. The caregiving industry operates in an offline format. Creating a mark through technology-led care service providers took time. However, it has paid off and people are now recognizing the brand and the service it provides and trust is being built over time.
They’re operational in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Perak (Ipoh), Johor (Johor Bahru and Batu Pahat), Kedah (Sungai Petani, Kulim), Sabah (Kota Kinabalu) and Sarawak (Kuching).
Market Leaders Investing Their Faith In Homage
Homage has experienced significant growth in care demand in the past year alone. The regional business (including Malaysia and Australia) has grown more than 600% and tripled its revenue.
The revenue model is straightforward; pay-as-you-go. Families can seek assistance for as low as 1 hour upwards. They also have the flexibility to arrange care based on the time and date of their convenience.
Most recently in September 2021, Homage has secured a US$30 million (RM131 million) Series C fundraising round led by Sheares Healthcare Group, a wholly-owned healthcare enterprise of global investment firm Temasek.
Plans For The Future
Homage believes that everyone should be empowered with accessible healthcare anytime, anywhere. They have a talent pool of gig-based, professionally-trained caregivers and nurses who take up caregiving as a profession.
They also work to constantly elevate the standard of care service by providing avenues and opportunities for upskilling, especially for nurses in Malaysia. Their current method of care delivery is two-pronged; via Homage’s mobile app, and through partnerships with different organizations.
- Those who engage Homage for direct care service are families with seniors or individuals with chronic conditions and/or disabilities.
- The engagements with different established organisations range from governmental to non-governmental, private health care, and corporate organisations for post-hospital step-down care.
Most recently, they were partners in the vaccination program at 6 mega PPV centres. Some of Homage’s existing partners are CVS KL, Sunway Medical Centre, and AgeCope (Association for Residential Aged Care Operators in Malaysia).
Most countries in Asia will become an aged or super-aged population within the next ten years. It is an urgent matter to build quality long-term care infrastructure and be ready to meet the growing demands of assisted living support and clinical needs.
In countries like Singapore and Australia, Homage is partnering with the government and home care agencies for funding and subsidies like the Home Care Packages scheme in Australia and Home Caregiver Grant in Singapore. These are packages by the government to aid private care service providers for the aged.
In Malaysia, over half its population does not have life insurance. The everyday Malaysian makes up for 35% of the country’s out-of-the-pocket private health expenditure. Homage hopes to replicate the successful model of Singapore and Australia in Malaysia as well. This will enable them to provide better healthcare infrastructure for ageing in the long run.
Having built a solid foundation for solutions that would transform the long-term care and elder tech space, the brand’s focus is now to accelerate regional expansions. They also aim to scale their technology platform with support from local and global partners.