AccuCare owner Jacque Phillips was recently interviewed on the podcast Mich Mash! Listen to her story and some of the great insights she has into helping people live a better life.
Jacque: Sometimes you just need a little touch to remain independent.
Jacque: Sometimes you need somebody just to heat up your dinner and cut up your food. But you can do everything else, or go grocery shopping. Just very simple, little things. Sometimes just getting dressed.
Mich: Yeah, right, and we-
Mich: We don’t … like you don’t know until you get there that wow, this is really a difficult thing for me.
Mich: You know?
Jacque: And I realize it every year I get older, I’m like, wow, why did I think when I was 22 this was never going to happen?
Mich: I know, I think we’re in denial-
Mich: About it all times. Yes, no, I’m with you, I get it. I do the same thing.
Jacque: But now I go into clients’ homes and they’re 95, and I’m like going … that’s my next stop.
Mich: I’m going to get there someday.
Jacque: I better do what I can do right now.
Mich: But you so know the right people to help you out, so-
Jacque: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Mich: But your staff is … I mean, you’ve had staff that have been there forever and a day, right?
Mich: You take a lot of pride in your staff, and acknowledging them and their awesomeness.
Jacque: Yes, I have a lot that have been with me for 10 or 15 years.
Mich: That is so cool.
Jacque: Yeah, it’s great-
Jacque: They care.
Mich: When should people reach out to you?
Jacque: Usually … it’s usually a family member, sometimes it’s a spouse, sometimes it’s a child, an adult child. When they have concerns about safety. That usually is the trigger point.
Jacque: Or if there’s been an accident or an incident where they end up being hospitalized, their loved one ends up being hospitalized, then it’s like, I can’t come home and do what I was doing. So maybe it’s a short term recovery thing, or maybe it’s just a little bit of help at home, and then it ends up expanding and being 24 hours, seven days a week.
Jacque: It’s all different, everybody’s an individual, everybody has their own personal life, and what we do is very personal. It’s very personal. And it’s just important that we respect everybody that we take care of. We allow them to continue to have dignity, and as much independence as possible while remaining safe.
Mich: Right. So … and then a little piece of mind to the families, or family members. And that has to really help, you know, we see these people that are now taking care of their parents, as an example, and they get fatigued, there’s a caregiver fatigue. So it’s … I mean, what an awesome thing to know that there’s someone I can call and get a break.
Jacque: Oh, yes. It’s … you definitely need … we call it rest, but care.
Jacque: You need a break, and I really try to work with the caregivers, because they feel guilty if they leave for five minutes. They don’t want to leave their loved one alone. But they also feel stuck. And basically, I just feel this way in life. If you can’t keep your own bucket, or your own soul fulfilled by taking care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give to others.
Mich: Right, yeah.
Jacque: So it’s like they have to get a little break to go … even get their nails done, or just have a break to walk in the park.
Jacque: Just be themselves, and be with themselves instead of always worrying about being the caregiver.
Mich: So one of the things I know … you know, and like we hear so much about it is Alzheimer’s. And that has got to be a really difficult thing for a caregiver to deal with.
Jacque: It’s extremely difficult. As a caregiver, but even more as a caregiver loved one.
Jacque: Because there’s lots of times they don’t recognize you, it’s a lot of repetitive thing, there’s a total cognitive disconnect. And you can say things and it doesn’t connect.
Jacque: So it just is very sad, very emotionally difficult to deal with, and I don’t know if you’ve been in an emotional situation. For me, it’s more draining than the hardest physical workout I’ve ever done.
Jacque: The emotional pull and push of having a loved one that is … suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Jacque: We get a combination of both, and they kind of overlap, but Alzheimer’s is something very specific. Dementia, they all fall … kind of follow a lot of the same ways, which are cognitive decline.
Mich: And it’s kind of like they have to say goodbye to their loved one while they’re still alive.
Jacque: Yes, yes.
Mich: You know? We talk to … yeah.
Jacque: My mom was … lived a lot longer than she was with it, so it was like, okay, this is not my mom. I mean, it’s physically my mom-
Jacque: But mentally, it’s not my mom.
Mich: But I was … my grandmother was-
Jacque: So I learned a lot, yes.
Mich: Yeah, and it was just … you know, at one point I was like, this isn’t my grandma.
Mich: I just didn’t … they didn’t feel … it looked like my grandma, but just didn’t feel like my grandma.
Mich: And she was doing things that grandma doesn’t do, so-
Jacque: Didn’t act like your grandma, yeah.
Mich: Yeah, you know, and it was … so that was my grandma, but watching my mom go through dealing with that, it’s just heartbreaking.
Jacque: Very heartbreaking.
Mich: You know.
Jacque: It’s so difficult.
Mich: So you were saying … we were talking about the difference between like Medicare, Medicaid, you know, you’re up on all that. What … enlighten us on that.
Jacque: I think for laypeople it’s hard to understand, but … it’s just, it’s very simple and I just want to kind of go through real quickly. So Medicaid is when you don’t have much money, you have to have less than $20,000.00 in assets. And there’s certain care that can be had through that, a lot of care, and when people call me I try to educate them so that they can get the proper care and head them in the right direction to either get Medicaid certified, or … or to access the services.
Jacque: Because they’ll have caregivers come in, help clean your house, they’ll … I mean, they’ll-
Jacque: Take care of you, and there’s a fair amount of Medicaid services you can get, which are free. So just because you don’t have money, you’re not stuck.
Jacque: There are some limitations, of course. That’s Medicaid. Medicare is basically … there are always exceptions. Medicare is if you’re over 65, doesn’t matter how much money or what socioeconomic bracket you’re in, you can qualify for Medicare services. But they’re short term acute. It’s basically, there has to be an incident, accident, you have to have a hospitalization, some reason to get into an acute setting, where you need … or just a new diagnosis as a diabetic.
Jacque: So you need to be taught something by a nurse, or you need some physical therapy because you’ve broken your leg, or had a hip replaced.
Jacque: So that’s short term acute, they come in, they visit, they do some teaching. They teach your caregiver, who might be your spouse, or a loved on to help care for you. That’s short term. Usually if it’s not anything serious it’s about a six week duration.
Jacque: Sometimes it doesn’t even last that long. So that’s Medicare. And then I say an offshoot of kind of Medicare is Hospice, because it follows some of the same rules of Medicare, but the key thing is it doesn’t have to be an accident or injury, it has to be basically … you’re probably going to die within six months.
Jacque: And we’ve had people graduate from Hospice. They all the sudden did a turn around, and they’re alive-
Jacque: And it’s eight or nine months in, and the Hospice is like, “We can no longer justify these services.” And those are free services too, those are paid for by the government-
Jacque: When it’s not shut down.
Mich: Yeah, right. Oh-
Jacque: It’s still paid for by the government, but I-
Jacque: And I don’t do any of those services. We will help with the Hospice services and fill in with the Medicare services if there’s something they don’t cover, we’re just private pay.
Jacque: You have to pay out of pocket. But we will work side by side with Medicare and Hospice, and do every day. To fill in the little gaps.
Mich: Right. And so you can kind of help guide people a little bit-
Jacque: Oh, yes.
Mich: Like this is what is going to be covered-
Mich: You can do the following things, you have rights to this-
Mich: And then we’ll do this part.
Mich: Very cool.
Jacque: Yes. And I like to let them know what other services are out there.
Jacque: And if there’s something I can’t help them with, I like to … you know, give a recommendation of people that I’ve checked out that are good people.
Mich: So you’re very successful at this, ma’am. But when did you know? What was your hundredth monkey moment? When was the time you went, “Yep, this is what I’m doing?”
Jacque: Well, I searched for about a year, I was working in a big hospital as a nurse on a floor, and going up the chain of command and becoming assistant head nurse, and acting head nurse, and I was just like … this is really not about the patient, or making the patient better, or being proactive at all. It’s really a big business.
Jacque: And I understand it has to be, but I was like, I need to do something that’s more impactful, that makes me feel better, and fulfilled by being able to give what I can give and use my knowledge to help make people have a better life. The best life they can have. So I kind of thought about that, and interviewed for jobs for over a year, and then I left my big hospital job and started working for a home healthcare company, which was a national company, and I started their private duty side of that company. And I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m doing. So, and then while I was working there, probably within the first six months, I hired a nursing supervisor who later became my business partner. She’s like, “We can do this ourselves.” I’m like, “Yeah, we sure can, we can probably do a better job of it.”
Jacque: So … I was there for not much over a year, and then started out on our own. I started when I was 26, my first company, with a business partner.
Mich: That’s awesome.
Mich: And so then you just knew, “I want to do this differently and better.”
Mich: “And so I’m going to start … ” which, that’s the mother of invention, right?
Mich: Usually you say, “I know a better way to do this.”
Jacque: Yes. And I feel like I could do a better job for them, and then it was way more fulfilling for me, because I was passionate about doing the best I could.
Mich: And I mean, I’ve seen the testimonials. I mean, people … you are doing right by people. You do exactly what you say you’re going to do, and you don’t disappoint. So thank you for that.
Jacque: Yeah. Well, I’m not perfect. I’m a nurse, I’m a caregiver. I love taking care of people. I’ve learned over the years I have to take care of myself as well.
Jacque: But … I just love doing what I’m doing, and I think passion just shows through, and I … you have to worry about the money, but the money really follows if you’re doing something that you’re passionate about.
Mich: Right, right.
Jacque: If you’re doing it from your heart, it works. So …
Mich: So where can people find you?
Jacque: We are on Old Olive Street Road in Creve Coeur, but most importantly it’s Accucare.com. A-C-C-U-C-A-R-E dot com. Or my phone number is 314-692-0020, which is answered 24/7.
Jacque: And people [crosstalk 00:11:33].
Mich: And you have a great Facebook page.
Jacque: Oh, yeah, thank you.
Mich: Say, “And find us on Facebook,” come like the Facebook page.
Jacque: Okay, find us on Facebook, come like our Facebook page. Yes, and LinkedIn, and all those good things that … I don’t know about.
Mich: All that crazy social media stuff, right?
Jacque: All that crazy social media stuff, Mich, that you are so great at.
Mich: Well, you guys are great, it’s fun to work with you. And I mean, I love … I love people that … I mean, that understand, you know, that it is … we need to represent you well, and you guys give us a lot of great information, and it’s wonderful, so thank you.
Jacque: You’re welcome. There’s so much education we can help people with, and you’re helping, being a great conduit to do that.
Mich: Aw, thanks. Well, everybody out there, we’ve been visiting with Jacque Phillips with Accucare, thank you so much for what you do.
Jacque: You’re welcome.
Mich: All right. See you all next time on 100th Monkey Business.
Jacque: Bye bye.