Nurse Next Door making lives better one visit at a time


May 24, 2011

Making lives better one visit at a time. Nurse Next Door prides itself in making the lives of local seniors easier by providing excellent home health care.

Owners of the Oakville and Burlington franchise, Christopher and Lori Paton experienced troubles of their own looking for a company to care for Lori’s mother who had just been diagnoses with Ovarian Cancer three years ago. Lori felt a lack of warmth and sincerity from the companies she researched in the area.

She stumbled upon Nurse Next Door, a company that originated in 2001 in British Columbia. Founders Ken Sim and John DeHart were apprehensive about the people being sent to look after their family members. The caregivers did not have criminal background checks, reference checks or medical examinations conducted. They decided to start their own home health care service. Since then it has grown to 45 locations across Canada.

At the time Lori was looking for help, Nurse Next Door wasn’t available in Ontario. This encouraged the couple to open one in their community in October 2008. Nurse Next Door offers companionship, home management, personal care, live-in home healthcare and respite care. “We offer everything from doing crosswords and having conversations to end of life care and everything in between,” said Christopher.

“Companion services are offered for seniors who are still relatively physically well but find the basic day to day tasks a little challenging. Caregivers take charge of meal preparation, laundry and many other daily chores. But we also making sure they’re taking their medications properly and giving them some social interaction,” said Lori.

Nurse Next Door does basic criminal background checks, reference checks and interviews but most importantly they decide for themselves if they’d want this worker to look after their own parent. “We always joke that it’s kind of like a dating game,” said Christopher. “Trying to match personalities is important. It’s not just about providing a bath or performing technical duties. It’s about finding a good match spiritually. The client and caregiver have to enjoy spending time with each other.”

“One time we were caring for a gentleman in his early nineties who was less well off than his wife. She wanted to go play bridge with her friends every Tuesday afternoon but didn’t feel confident leaving him by himself. We would come in from 1p.m. until 4p.m. so the wife could go play with her friends. After lunch he typically would fall asleep, so the caregiver would pick a cupboard in the kitchen each week to clean. She would take all the dishes out, wash them by hand, replace the shelf paper and put the dishes back. By the time she had finished, the man would have woken up and they would continue on with their visit,” said Christopher.

“It’s the little things that count,” said Lori. “We hire caregivers that have that passion to make a difference. It’s not just a job for them and they look for ways to help people.” Nurse Next Door is an important service to have, especially for the future of baby boomers. When this generation becomes elderly, they will not tolerate long term care facilities because of the lives they’ve led up until now.

“Our clients now have gone through wars. They’re very stoic and they’ve put up with a lot of discomforts in life,” said Lori. Baby boomers are used to having what they want and when they want. As the senior population of baby boomers grows, more and more of them will want a service like Nurse Next Door where they can virtually choose the care for their own needs.

“We’re fortunate in that we get to be the hero in a sense. When people say ‘do you do this?’ we respond with ‘what do you need?’” said Lori. Adults who work full time and have to care for their aging parents can have a peace of mind knowing that there’s a service, providing safe in home care. They can go back to being family members, rather than playing the role of both a family member and a caregiver.

From as little as one visit a week to around the clock, seven days a week care. People can remain where they want to be, in their own home and have the care they need. Nurse Next Door accommodates whatever is needed. They go above and beyond to succeed in making a positive experience for their clients.