FRANCISTOWN: A retired nursing aide, Caroline Kolobetso, 59, has turned her passion to care for others into a profitable business through home care and therapy service due to the gap that exists in that market.
After 22 years of working at the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH), Kolobetso, who is a widow and mother of five, resigned from her post as a nurse aide to look for greener pastures in providing supportive care and medical treatment to the sick and elderly.
In an interview with Business Monitor, Kolobetso said she took a deliberate decision to opt for early retirement at NRH in 2005 when she saw a niche in the market of the home-based care and therapy business.
She said that she ventured into home care and therapy operations around 2016 and at that time the business was very common in developed countries such as the United Kingdom.
The retired nurse aide said that she used some of her retirement package to buy relevant equipment and protective clothing to kick-start her operations as a home-based caregiver.
She said that her services are different from those of her competitors as she stays with her clients at their respective homes during the course of nursing until recovery.
The caregiver said: “My long time goal is to own a home care centre so that I can take care of my clients in one place than move up and down. I am also negotiating with someone so that we can partner in the initiative.”
In the meantime, due to the high demand for home care assistance, she is also working around the clock to come up with a home care and therapy agency.
Kolobetso said that the agency would be able to provide professional nursing aide across the country so as to curb the need for home care providers.
When speaking about her overall qualifications, the 59-year-old businesswoman said that she holds a certificate in
She added that she was interested in furthering her studies by enrolling at a local college for some health care courses related to home care therapy.
She said that some of the services that she provides include bed bath, feeding of patients, massage, checking vital signs, providing toileting assistance and position change if bed-ridden to only mention but a few.
She said that the charges depend on the condition of the patient, saying for example that it is mostly costly if the patient is bed-ridden.
Kolobetso also said that over the years, she has taken good care of at least seven bed-ridden patients, who mostly were dependant upon her services.
She also said: “I spend most of the time travelling across Botswana providing home care assistance at the expense of my patients’ families. I sometimes spend close to three months taking care of one patient, and I love my job.”
The home care provider said that the home care assistance period depends mostly on the agreement and payment made by the affected patients or their loved ones.
She indicated that some of the challenges in the industry include the high cost of medical equipment, lack of societal awareness of existence of nursing assistants and the inappropriate perception with regard to the nursing services.
Kolobetso also spoke against the society’s lack of trust in nursing aides, which often hinders her business to blossom in some areas.
She said that word-of-mouth from her previous clients has strategically helped her business to flourish and has recently started using social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook to promote herself.