Low hospital bed availability has been linked to admission of patients requiring non-urgent medical care.
Some of these patients are occupying beds in the wards receiving personal care such as bathing, wound dressing and just taking tablets to manage their conditions.
Concerned by this, Naomi Monari started Benacare in 2017, a company providing home nursing services to people with life limiting illnesses.
Its 21 nurses and physiotherapists offer home-based care to patients dealing with diabetes, hypertension, cancer and dimentia at between Sh1,500 and Sh4,000 a day depending on the level of care.
“We have catered for around 320 clients across the country since we started,” says the 27-year-old certified nurse.
It is while doing her clinicals at Gatundu Level 5 hospital that she noticed a growing number of patients staying in hospitals for non-urgent medical care.
Her first client was an aged patient from Kisumu who had stayed in the ward for long due to his diabetic foot.
“I approached the son and offered to take care of his dad from home at a fee,” says the graduate of Amref International University.
Initially, it was a juggle between clinicals and Benacare before she decided to go full throttle into the enterprise.
Through referrals, the client base expanded, creating the need to register the company and hire more nurses on part-time and full-time basis.
Her business partner Brian Ajwang’, a brand designer, came on board a year later and handles mostly the administration side of the enterprise.
Aside from home-based care, Benacare supplies home care medical equipment such as hospital beds, mattresses, oxygen concentrators and suction machines.
“We learnt that when a client asks for home service, they don’t necessarily understand that it requires them to have certain things at home since they have not prepared,” says Mr Ajwang’ who has a background in marketing.
Today, the company based in Westlands, Nairobi, handles up to 50 clients at a time, earning Sh600,000 on average monthly.
Upon receiving a request for compassionate care, Benacare physically assesses the home to advise clients on what is required.
Clients are given the option of buying equipment from Benacare’s network of reputable suppliers.
“We also buy the used equipment from clients when they no longer need them. This helps clients offload while at the same time help us to have a business,” she says.
Part of what’s contained in the contract with clients is a condition that the care-giver is guaranteed a safe environment and that issues emerging are addressed with her/his employer and not directly with the nurse.
To guarantee safety to clients, nurses are thoroughly vetted based on their past jobs, nursing license and certificate of good conduct.
There is an indemnity insurance, in case a licensed nurse does something contrary to what is expected of them.
“To protect our nurses, we require them to document everything and this can stand in a court of law when the client accuses them,” says Ms Monari.
Benacare was selected among five women-led start-ups that received Sh1 million seed funding in a programme funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University.
The five were awarded after completing three-month incubation at iBizAfrica-Strathmore University’s tech incubator.
The others were Soul Food, Taste Afrique, Nature’s Touch and Arbes Biotech.
They were selected from 380 applicants that are using technology to tackle problems afflicting the community.