A calling to care: a passion for hospitality

A calling to care: a passion for hospitality

SYNERGY HomeCare’s Weama Kassem (right) opened her Edmond location in 2013, with a second Norman office start-up in 2016.

SYNERGY HomeCare provides hope and help to seniors and their families

by Traci Chapman

Kassem always knew she had a calling to serve – it was a calling that became a beacon of light for seniors and their families who needed help.
“Caring for people and providing hospitality are my natural passions, and part of my culture is to care for seniors,” Kassem said.
Kassem’s passion lit the beacon that became SYNERGY HomeCare, a flame that began to burn in 2011.
It was in 2011 Kassem graduated with an MBA from University of Central Oklahoma. That graduation marked a turning point for her – Kassem said she saw a void when it came to compassionate senior care and was determined to do something about it.
Kassem had a unique approach – fusing her drive to care for people with her love for hospitality, she did extensive research on senior care franchises. When she found SYNERGY, Kassem knew exactly where she was meant to be, she said.
“My heart just connected with the mission and values of SYNERGY HomeCare,” she said.
Kassem’s philosophy quickly took hold, spurring growth for the local franchise. Today, Kassem’s SYNERGY operation includes two offices – the original in Edmond and a second location, opened in December 2016 in Norman – employing 10 staff members and more than 100 caregivers. The company has a 5-mile service area and also provides referrals to clients in other locales, Kassem said.
“Although the metro area is geographically widespread, the small-town culture naturally evolved into relationships extending southward down the Interstae-35 corridor, allowing SYNERGY to begin penetrating the Moore/Norman market,” Kassem said.
While about five percent of Kassem’s caregivers provide live-in care, most do not, offering services to clients that take anywhere from an hour and up to 24 hours, at any given time, she said. Those caregivers tend to a myriad of needs, from the most personal – like bathing and dressing, feeding, dealing with incontinence and other issues – to companionship, coordinating outside appointments and services, meal planning and preparation, transportation, light housekeeping and running errands.
Those, of course, are necessities and things seniors need assistance with every day. But, there is so much more to it – and, that’s where post-hospitalization care comes in, Kassem said.
“It’s difficult for anyone to come home after a hospital stay, but for seniors it can be much more challenging – they might suffer from memory loss, their health depends on remembering and following hospital discharge instructions, keeping follow-up doctor’s appointments and other matters,” she said. “They also face trying to take care of day-to-day tasks while they’re recuperating.”
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, almost a quarter of seniors hospitalized are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, many times for conditions unrelated to the initial illness or injury. That’s one reason why SYNERGY moves beyond daily assistance, with coworkers providing medical and emotional issue care, including care management, recovery assistance, difficult behavior management and more. Caregivers provide help, and hope, not only to senior clients, but may also provide relief for family members who need respite from taking care of a loved one, Kassem said. It’s assistance that can mean all the difference to everyone involved, she said.
All Kassem SYNERGY caregivers are employees, not contract labor – something somewhat unusual in the senior home care industry, and management is always a phone call away, including on-staff supervising registered nurses, she said. Care assessments are always provided on a complimentary basis, Kassem said.
Veterans are an integral part of SYNERGY’s mission – in fact, she said the organization is one of the largest veteran home care providers in the state.
“Veterans call us directly, and we can even help get them through the paperwork process,” Kassem said. “At times we work with the VA Center in Norman and with the Dale K. Graham Foundation in Norman.”
As SYNERGY continues to grow, Kassem said she hopes to provide even more services, including expanding a program started in 2017 – Dine & Discuss, an event hosted at SYNERGY’s Edmond location, which also served as an Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser.
“We partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association, where we provided complimentary dinner and two free hours of respite care while the topic was discussed,” she said. “The topics change each month, and the speaker also varies – we hope to create the same opportunity to the public going into 2018, but working towards creating a calendar of speakers further in advance and promoting it more so the word is spread.”

More information is available by calling or reviewing SYNERGY HomeCare’s websites, both for its Edmond and Norman locations:
SYNERGY HomeCare Edmond
13720 N Bryant Ave
Edmond, Oklahoma 73013
405-254-3046
www.synergyhomecareedmond.com
SYNERGY HomeCareNorman
1272 N Interstate Drive
Norman, Oklahoma 73072
405-701-0791
www.synergyhomecarenorman.com

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