Personal patient care is probably more common than you think.

Hospice, one of the most common types of personal patient care, served 1.43 million Medicare recipients in 2016. When it comes to in-home care, there are plenty of people that are in need of services that can help them without going to a hospital.

I had the chance to sit down with Julio Quinones, CEO at Healthy Living Network, to get a sense of what it takes to provide personal health care. He gave me some insight into how hospice, home care and home health services work.

Quinones’s company is not just one company—it’s a network of independent providers, each certified and connected to the resources they need to provide the best standard of care for patients. Its structure makes it somewhat unique.

Types of personal patient care

“You have to distinguish between hospice and other services when you’re talking about personal patient care,” says Quinones. “Hospice is usually for people who are terminally ill, where you’re providing palliative care and making sure they’re as comfortable as possible. You’re also working with the family to make it as easy for them as it can be.”

Hospice is one of the main types of care that Quinones’s company provides. A 2006 Pew Research study found that 42 percent of Americans had had a friend or family member who suffered from a terminal illness or coma in the last five years. For those people, having someone who can come in and ease the burden is a huge help.

Healthy Living Network has a wide variety of hospice services that they offer. But they also do other types of home care. Their home health and home care are for people who are rehabilitating from injuries or illnesses as well as people who need long-term live-in services or frequent checkups.

“It’s impossible to state how much it helps a family to be able to pass off some of the responsibility to people who know what they’re doing and have the time to take care of an ailing loved one,” says Quinones.

A network of providers

Most home health, home care and hospice services are either small, independent providers or large organizations that run their own branches. But for Healthy Living Network, neither of those options seemed that appealing.

“We like giving a certain degree of autonomy to all of our partners,” says Quinones. “When you’re working on a scale like we are across as many states as we are, it’s a lot harder to have a centralized model. We hand much of the responsibility for how to approach each situation to the individual providers.”

Quinones’s company is built around some guiding principles of elder respect and comprehensive care, and they make sure that each provider is hiring qualified people and providing the type of services that they want. Beyond that, though, each provider is fairly autonomous. It’s more of a confederation of healthcare providers that share some resources than it is a regular company.

“The model we use allows us to provide oversight and help for each provider, but keeps them independent,” Quinones notes, adding that providers appreciate having a network to fall back on.

Healthcare in the United States

This one company’s model may not work for everyone, but it’s worked for them and their patients. The healthcare system in the United States isn’t bad, but it definitely doesn’t rank among the top in the world.

Companies like Healthy Living Network are working to change that. “We’re one of the world’s leading nations in many other respects,” says Quinones. “Why can’t healthcare be one of those areas?”

Elder care services like the ones that Healthy Living Network provides are among the worst examples of where America falls behind. 90 percent of facilities are understaffed, causing issues with neglect and sometimes abuse from frazzled staff who are run off their feet.

“If we can help even a little bit in creating a better healthcare option for people who have loved ones in need of care, why shouldn’t we? Sooner or later we’re all going to need the help,” says Quinones.

He’s right. And the one thing that stood out to me when talking with him about his company is the mission that lies behind everything that they do. There’s a clear purpose, a sincere desire to help, and a willingness to do what it takes to make the best home patient care possible.

If you’ve looked for home health services, you know how difficult it can be to find one that you trust to look after your loved ones. Companies like Healthy Living Network are working to change that, empowering independent facilities with the resources and oversight they need to make healthcare better.

It will take work, but in the long run, if other companies continue to step up to the plate, American healthcare will be able to hold its head high alongside the rest of the world.