Only The Best Home Care offers quality assistance when, where needed
Lewes — Sometimes, it's those little but necessary tasks of daily life that can wear a person down. Add disabilities that might come at any age, and a bit of trusted assistance goes a long way.
Only The Best Home Care Services LLC wants to give its clients exactly that – only the best.
The company serves Sussex County, providing nonmedical care– assistance with meal preparation; bathing and dressing; light housekeeping and laundry; shopping and errands; and exercise and companionship.
“We started in March, and we’re just getting on our feet,” said owner Debbie Portocarrero, a licensed practical nurse with more than 34 years of experience in healthcare.
The company’s name comes from one of Portocarrero’s characteristics. “I strive to be the best; I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I just like the name,” she said.
“We can serve anybody who needs nonskilled care,” she said, adding medical insurance pays only for skilled care services.
Although hers is a small business, Portocarrero said Delaware Department of Health and Social Services requires her to have approved regulations, policies and procedures before opening.
It took her a year to write her own administrative documents, apply for a business license and wait for a decision.
“I worked very hard to get here,” she said.
Her niece, Jessica Kearney, manages the office.
“We provide services from 2 hours a day to 24 hours a day. There’s a big need for it today. There are a lot of senior citizens in the country,” she said. But one’s age isn’t a factor
She said follows up with client visits to make sure they’re receiving the services they’re paying for.
Fees for companionship and homemaker services are $18 to $20 an hour. Overnight services cost a little more.
“I know there’s competition out there in Sussex County. There are a lot of franchise services, but not too many privately owned companies,” Portocarrero said.
She said her clients are people, not just numbers.
Portocarrero said skilled and unskilled care providers sometimes work together with clients.
Portocarrero said she does tasks that some might think are demeaning, such as changing an adult’s diaper.
“It doesn’t bother me at all, I’ve done it hundreds of times,” she said.
There’s nothing that’s hard about providing care, she said. “The most difficult thing is finding staff who have my passion. I don’t want just anybody working for me,” she said. The company does not subcontract employees.
“They work for us; we’re responsible for their taxes,” Portocarrero said.
Employees are thoroughly screened: Portocarrero said she talks to previous employers, gets recommendation letters from past employers, checks for use of illegal drugs, checks whether applicants are on a list of people with histories of patient or child abuse, and checks fingerprint records.
“You hear a lot of bad stories out there sometimes about caregivers, those who take care of elderly people. To me it’s sad, very sad,” Portocarrero said.
All of the information can be obtained using the state’s online Background Check Center, also known as the BCC.
“It’s a centralized system where everything’s online. It helps us decide much quicker who we’re going hire and take under our wing,” office manager Kearney said.
Sometimes the client calls, or sometimes it’s a family member. Many times, Portocarrero said, older people don’t realize they need help.
“These people have worked hard all of their lives; they’ve fought in wars. If they don’t have any family here, they’re all alone. They’ve lost their spouse and their children, and we’re all they have. I want it to be an exceptional experience for them. I think it’s important that they be taken care of at the end of their life, the later part of their life,” she said.
A free consultation and home visit ensures Only The Best is able to provide services that are needed and appropriate for clients. She also completes medical and home checklists.
“At some point in our lives we all need help, and there’s a time when we have to depend on somebody, as much as we don’t want to,” Portocarrero said.
The company has a Facebook page and is developing a website.
Call Only The Best Home Care Services at 302-645-7416. The office is at 17527 Nassau Commons Blvd., Suite 105, Lewes, near Five Points.