Make us your home page
Instagram

Bayshore Home CARE

From donning rock concert shirts to pizza parties, Bayshore Home Care builds team spirit

Bayshore Home Care employee Geraldine Sterlicchi gets client Mary Hochadel settled with lunch. Sterlicchi spends five days a week at Hochadel’s Belleair home.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Bayshore Home Care employee Geraldine Sterlicchi gets client Mary Hochadel settled with lunch. Sterlicchi spends five days a week at Hochadel’s Belleair home.

LARGO — Instead of its usual holiday party last December, Bayshore Home Care held an '80s gala to celebrate its founding in 1986. As big-haired employees in jeans and rock-concert shirts streamed into the Hilton Carillon Park, other hotel guests took notice.

"Since it was right before Christmas, most people were in suits so we got a lot of looks," says Todd Atkinson, who with sister Suzanne Johnson owns the home health care agency.

The '80s bash not only was "great fun," Johnson says, it fostered the kind of team spirit that helps Bayshore retain skilled, caring employees in an industry where that can often be a challenge. The camaraderie also helped make Bayshore one of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces this year, the seventh consecutive year it has earned the honor.

In all, 13 health-care related companies were among the Top Workplaces — the most in any single category.

"Health care is a big part of (the nation's) GDP," Atkinson notes.

When their mother, Dianne, started Bayshore 31 years ago, the concept of "aging in place" — living at home as long as possible — was just starting to take hold. At that time there were only a few other private-duty agencies in Pinellas County. Now there are dozens.

Medicare generally doesn't cover home health-aide services, so clients either pay the $20 hourly cost out of pocket or rely on long-term care insurance. But demand for in-home services is such that Bayshore has grown to five offices in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. In a typical week, 225 employees are out helping clients dress, shower, take their medicine or fix their meals, offering companionship in the process.

"We strive to have a culture of putting clients first," Johnson says, adding that Bayshore looks for employees with "a heart for care. Some of the skills can be taught, but the heart has to be in the right place.''

To help recruit that type of employee, Bayshore offers attractive benefits including health insurance, paid time off and a 401(k) retirement plan. To keep employees, it strives to build esprit de corps among workers who don't often see each other except when they come in to pick up their paychecks.

"We do appreciation days," Johnson says. "We have Popsicles in the summer and pizza parties in the office."

While Atkinson handles the finances, Johnson is in charge of business development and clinical operations. "Each year we try to have a theme," she says. "This year, it's 'We're part of one team.' "

Employees received baseball-style jerseys and stress-relieving squeeze toys in the shape of a ball player. Marketing materials include fliers that tell potential clients: "Your team just got bigger — make the hand-off to our team of senior care professionals."

On the Bayshore roster are five full-time registered nurses. They make announced and unannounced visits to employees in the field, both to see how they are doing and to give advice.

"That sets us apart," Atkinson says of the nursing supervisors. "The state doesn't direct that we have as many nurses as we do."

Lori Deschenes, who's been with Bayshore for four years, likes the fact that supervisors can be readily reached.

"Once this office is closed you can call and still get someone," she says. "If you need anything after hours, they are available to answer questions. You always have somebody to go to; you don't ever feel like you're alone out there."

Currently, Deschenes is working days, which gives her time in the evenings to be with her school-aged daughter and 10-week-old foster baby. She likes the variety of clients, "their amazing stories" and also the benefits of working for a small, family-owned company.

"Everybody is friendly, everybody works real well together," Deschenes says. (She pronounced the '80s bash a "really good time." Her own throwback to the decade included a denim skirt, pink top and "lots of hair spray.")

Pam Atkinson has been with Bayshore since it started 31 years ago. Today, she is in charge of intake, providing information about the company's services and coordinating with employees who meet with clients or their families.

Over the past three decades, she has enjoyed helping the company grow and evolve.

"You have to look outside the box and be one step ahead because other agencies are competing for the business," she says. "We always see what we can do to make ourselves better."

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

Company Bio

Ranking: No. 12 in midsize companies

Founded: 1986

Ownership: Private

Sector: Health care

Employees: 184

Locations: 5

About Bayshore

Home CARE

Bayshore is a premier licensed private duty home health care provider. The company employs nurses and home care aides to provide services ranging from companionship and housekeeping to assistance with personal care and skilled nursing. This allows clients to age in the familiar surroundings of home.

What employees say

• I can make a difference however small it may seem every day. I have the opportunity to intervene in someone's life and give them support and care when needed. I use my experience to successfully overcome a challenge and show the benefits of choosing Bayshore.

• I come from a large corporate setting and enjoy working here because your suggestions are heard, and changes are made by those closest to the action. The owners are very hands-on without being micro-managers.

• We are doing something meaningful to assist people with living a safer life.

From donning rock concert shirts to pizza parties, Bayshore Home Care builds team spirit 04/07/17 [Last modified: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. As Clearwater Marine Aquarium expands, it asks the city for help

    Growth

    CLEARWATER — When Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates saw an architect's initial design for the facility's massive expansion project, he told them to start all over.

    Clearwater Marine Aquarium Veterinarian Shelly Marquardt (left), Brian Eversole, Senior Sea Turtle and Aquatic Biologist (middle) and Devon Francke, Supervisor of Sea Turtle Rehab, are about to give a rescued juvenile green sea turtle, suffering from a lot of the Fibropapillomatosis tumors, fluids at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Wednesday afternoon. Eventually when the turtle is healthy enough the tumors will be removed with a laser and after it is rehabilitated it will be released back into the wild.  -  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is launching a $66 million renovation to expand its facilities to take in injured animals and space to host visitors. The aquarium is asking the city for a $5 million grant Thursday to help in the project. American attitudes toward captive animals are changing. Sea World is slipping after scrutiny on the ethics of captive marine life. But CEO David Yates says CMA is different, continuing its mission of rehab and release, it's goal is to promote education, not exploitation. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Times
 file photo]

  3. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners

    Business

    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

  4. International array of artists chosen as finalists for pier project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A diverse group of six artists will compete for a chance to install their work at the city's multimillion-dollar Pier District, expected to open in early 2019.

  5. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times