Advisory Board Profile – Summer Napier, CEO and Owner

The Private Duty Home Care Association (PDHCA) Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty/personal care services community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring, you our members are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families.

Over the next several weeks, we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community.

In this issue of the Private Duty Source we have the pleasure of profiling Summer Napier, CEO and Owner of Healing Hands Healthcare, Little Black Bag House Calls, and Healing Hands Primary Care.

Tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met.

I am the President and Co-Owner of Healing Hands Healthcare, Little Black Bag House Calls, and Healing Hands Primary Care. I oversee the day to day operations by making sure that all departments comply with the current healthcare laws and regulations, oversee the financial management of the budget, patient fees and billing, inform employees of new policies and procedures, develop strategic plans, respond to questions from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to identify issues and needs,  deal with conflict resolution, oversee that all employees are working at the top of their licenses by providing educational opportunities and certifications. I am extremely passionate about the work that we do. We change lives. There is no other profession in the world that I would rather be in other than homecare.

Tell me about how you ended up working in home care/private duty. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?

When I graduated from nursing school I knew that I wanted to work in the home health and hospice realm. I knew that I wanted to have a longer more meaningful relationship with my patients.

I started out as an RN Case Manager and worked my way up. I opened up my own home health agency in 2016 and we added Private Duty home care in 2018. We knew that no matter how great our skilled nursing care was, if the basic needs weren’t being met, the patient couldn’t not achieve holistic health.

Why choose private duty/personal care services? Why not something else, or some other part of home care?

Private Duty/Personal Care Services are so important because no matter how great skilled nursing care or therapy services are, if the basic needs are not being met, the patient cannot achieve holistic health. Private Duty not only meets the basic physical needs, but it also meets the psychological and emotional needs of companionship. These caregivers get the opportunity to spend time with a generation who is starved for time. This day to day interaction gives these patients a reason to keep going and something to look forward to. This also gives the adult children of this generation assistance in being able to remain the daughter/son and prevent caregiver burnout.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?

There is too much to list but if I had to choose one particular thing, it would be giving back to the generation that gave so much to us. The spark in their eye when someone shows up because you were the last person they have seen or spoken to since your shift yesterday. It’s knowing that because we are meeting their basic needs, they get to stay home in their house of 80 years a little longer.

Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?

My two largest frustrations are staffing and knowing it’s a business. What I mean by that is sometimes you know that they (our patients) need more care than they can afford. It’s always hard to make the decision of what we can negotiate on and what we can’t when their wellbeing is on the line. 

What Is your favorite professional memory? Why?

I don’t have a favorite, I have many.

But overall, my favorite memory is giving people their life back. The patients, as well as their grown adult children by giving them the peace of mind that their loved one is going to be taken care of, and they don’t have to put their life on hold to do it. They get to remain the son/daughter/granddaughter, etc. That’s a blessing.

What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?

Employee Moral. Being a caregiver is a hard job and these caregivers can’t pour from an empty cup. There is a reason the industry turnover rate is so high. Low wages and hard work rarely go hand in hand if they don’t feel appreciated. I am always worried about if we are showing them enough appreciation and giving them enough support. They are the boots on the ground, and without them, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to impact so many lives.

What made you first get involved with NAHC and PDHCA?

NAHC has always been my go to throughout my years of “growing up” in the industry. With starting my own agency, to adding on different divisions, NAHC has always been the leading industry expert. I so much appreciated their level of commitment to their members and knew I wanted to be a part of it. They work tirelessly 24/7 to make sure we are informed with all of the changes, as well as fight fiercely for the longevity and sustainability.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a NAHC/PDHCA member?

What are you waiting for? You CANNOT keep up with the ever changing world of home care on your own. You do not have enough time in the day to do the work they do for you and run your organization. Work Smarter, Not Harder.

What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty/personal care services?

You will never have a more rewarding job. Yes, there will be hard days, but when you get to help these sweet elderly patients through their hard days and get to walk through the golden years with them, those hard days are worth it. Honestly, this is the best job in the entire world! On behalf of everyone at the Private Duty Home Care Association and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, we thank Summer for her detailed and candid responses. We are grateful to have you as a distinguished member of the PDHCA Advisory Board and thank you for your dedication, commitment and passion to the Private