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Georgia Lloyd, President of Always Home Homecare talks to the Chronicle Herald

Posted May 15, 2013

GEORGIA LLOYD of Dartmouth started Always Home Homecare Services Ltd. at her home in 2006 with one care provider and a part-time scheduler.

This year, the senior home-care and in-home health-care services provider is on track for revenues in excess of $3 million.

“We’re in a growth industry, that’s for sure,” founder and president Lloyd said Thursday in an interview.

Always Home has about 250 full- and part-time staff, most of whom regularly visit mostly elderly clients throughout Halifax Regional Municipality and in some outlying rural communities.

Lloyd recently launched her own transportation division — with a couple of drivers and vehicles to start — and will also soon begin offering in-home visits by registered nurses and licenced practical nurses.

The business is now far too big to operate from home and is based in a renovated downtown Dartmouth heritage building on Dundas Street.

Always Home is branching out into new areas, but Lloyd said the mainstay of the business continues to be in-home care, personal care, 24 hour live-in care and post-operative care.

“One in five people in our province will be over 65 in about 10 years,” said Lloyd, an entrepreneur who has clearly found her niche.

Demographics may ensure a bright future for Always Home, but to survive, a business must remain nimble and innovative, she said.

Much of the business’s growth came through competitive pricing and efforts to innovate, Lloyd said.

The recent addition of transportation services is a good example. Clients or their family members can call the Always Home dispatcher to arrange a return trip to Dartmouth General Hospital from most locations in the community for $20.

“For this fee, our driver provides some assistance getting to and from the vehicle, walks with the client into the hospital and gets the client home safe and sound,” said Lloyd.

The company is not making a lot of money from the transportation service specifically, she said, but clients and their families like it.

“It’s just one link in the mix of services we provide.”

Lloyd has extended her staffing network to some remote Newfoundland and Labrador communities to offer regular stints of work to about 85 women with limited employment options at home.

She recently flew to Jamaica to meet with groups offering training in that country on Canadian standards for continuing care, and is also seeking to attract more workers from the Philippines.

Always Home also obtains trained workers through the Continuing Care Assistant program at the Nova Scotia Community College as the business continues to grow.

About eight years ago, Lloyd said, she came close to putting down $27,000 for a franchise of an American home-care operation. Had she followed that route, she would be sharing a significantly different story today.

“A lawyer I was dealing with said I was paying for one week of training and a manual, so I should go it alone, and that’s what I did.”