Uber-style disability care service launched in Seattle

twin sisters of Minneapolis and Joshin co-founders Melissa Danielsen (CEO) and Melanie Fountaine (COO) are excited to see their product hit the Seattle market.

The duo have created a digital care platform that connects caregivers with families with specialist care needs because they understand this struggle firsthand.

Joshin is clearly addressing a need currently felt by many other families as the company has seen a 200% increase in its community base over the past year (including caregivers and members). The need for the type of support offered has become particularly acute during the pandemic and has been a major factor in the departure of mothers from the workforce.

“We have been everything from sisters to direct caregivers to working mothers,” said Danielson, explaining the origin of the business. “Growing up, our older brother Josh had developmental disabilities and epilepsy. Like one in five families across the country with complex needs, we have continually struggled to find reliable care.

Although they often rushed to care for Josh with pride, the sisters knew that a better solution had to exist. When Josh passed away 12 years ago, they decided that the lessons their brother had taught them and the advocacy they had built could be used to address the issues faced by families with complex health needs on a daily basis.

“Inspired by our brother’s unique sense of humor and his love for ‘joshin around’, we created Joshin to facilitate specialist care,” Danielson said.

Fountaine says there is “a major gap in the care economy”. When people talk about care, they often only talk about care for children and the elderly.

“Care benefits end at age 12 and care for the elderly begins at age 65,” she said. “What about the intervening years? We believe that quality caregivers should be accessible to all. The disability community is often overlooked and under-represented, and we are committed to changing that. Joshin is for all ages and needs, and we won’t stop until all families have access to equitable care for their loved ones. “

The sisters have worked hard to ensure that the Joshin dashboard is flexible and self-managing; participants register by answering a few questions and immediately logging into care providers, post-care jobs, unlimited messaging, etc.

“Each care provider in the Joshin Network is verified and has at least six months of disability experience,” Danielsen said. “If you prefer hands-on assistance, our dedicated Care Coordinators are available to find care providers and schedule your employees. “

She said the COVID-19 crisis was a major factor in parents leaving the workforce. When the world essentially stopped, families found themselves without the services they depended on for loved ones, such as schools and daycare centers.

“Without access to a network of pre-screened and experienced caregivers who could provide home care, families had to balance full-time jobs with full-time care responsibilities,” Danielson said. “Because of this, more than three million women have left the workforce to become primary caregivers. “

“Joshin adapts to the unique needs of each family,” adds Fountaine. “Throughout the pandemic, our caregivers have supported members of all ages and needs with virtual hangouts, home care, runs and runs, transportation and more. “

According to Danielsen, the hardest part of getting Joshin off the ground was raising awareness about disability care in technology and investment spaces.

“It is not often a subject like this that is discussed,” she said. “We had to provide evidence of the relevance of the complex care needs in America, but also of the financial advisability of supporting this under-represented population.”

Yet every day working at Joshin has been rewarding – from the incredible team who are “passionate from the ground up to provide equitable and accessible care to the community”, to the positive stories of families touched by Joshin.

“We are continually honored to be a solution for the 112 million Americans who need access to care,” Danielsen said.

Currently, Joshin is building a network of resources for people with disabilities, specialists, doctors, therapists and schools.

“Families caring for loved ones spend 13 hours a month just looking for services, information, doctors and financial matters,” Fountaine said. “They are often given binders of papers from different therapists, doctors and providers.”

Over the next year, Joshin’s team plans to take all of this fragmented information and create a digital hub for disability resources and materials. Families and their team of providers will then have access to everything they need to support their loved ones.

“The entire team caring for an individual will work together through the Joshin Platform to support and achieve goals, while reducing stress on families when managing care,” said Fountaine.

Anyone can get started by creating an account.

“Answer a few questions about your loved one and start connecting with care providers who meet your needs,” she said. “It’s so easy!”

About Antoine L. Cassell

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