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Consulting service seeks to empower at-home caregivers

Two certified nursing assistants have launched Senior Consulting & Staff Support, whose goal is to offer caregivers the resources they need to keep seniors at home.

Jennifer Currier, Jeff Kahn, and Laritha Burks
Jennifer Currier, Jeff Kahn, and Laritha Burks
Photo by Ian Swaby
  • Sarasota
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Lakewood Ranch resident Jennifer Currier said since becoming a certified nursing assistant in 1999, she has served as the sole caregiver for as many as 120 residents of a care facility in one night. 

Yet an overall lack of access to quality care, she said, is exacerbated by the fact that at-home care is extremely expensive, typically over $100,000 a year for 24-hour care. 

One day, she shared a business idea with her friend, Sarasota resident Laritha Burks, who has been a certified nursing assistant since 2004. What about training people to become at-home caregivers themselves? 

On Valentine’s Day of 2023, they launched the recently licensed business, Senior Consulting & Staff Support, which will serve Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as some locations outside that area.

"You have to think outside the box in nursing, because every single person is different, every single family dynamic is different,” Currier said.

She said while it’s easy for workers to follow a set pattern for how a job is done, when dealing with patients with disabilities or diseases, including those such as Alzheimer's that affect the mind, it requires an understanding of the patient that only people who know them thoroughly can provide.

Currier and Burks said they know this because of their experience operating as independent nursing contractors. 

“We’re able to map out and point out things that somebody from an agency wouldn’t be able to, because we know an individual’s baseline,” Burks said.

Currier also said an understanding of those diseases themselves is not being provided in the training that certified nursing assistants receive today, which she said is extremely time-compressed.

With their new business, Currier and Burks will focus on offering consultations to improve safety and quality of life, provide education and connect caregivers to resources they need. They will make an assessment of homes and determine what features they need, be it a ramp to get in out of the house, a driveway that is not too steep, a bed that is closer to the floor, or Meals on Wheels. 

Also on board with the initiative are two registered nurses, including Alicia Lynch, who are able to supplement the decisions by Currier and Burks.

“We're really trying to get the ball rolling, and going,” Currier said.



Ian Swaby

Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.

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