Families will soon have more access to private home care for their older loved ones in the greater Montrose/Grand Junction area.
Husband and wife team Stacie Jeffers and Michael Christensen are gearing up to open the doors to their new home care business, BrightStar Care — one of more than 345 locally owned and operated agencies within the franchise.
Jeffers serves as operations manager while Christensen provides support in areas such as marketing, recruiting and sales in between his offshore job assignments.
While the new location isn’t yet open or serving clients, the couple hopes to begin service by November once their business license arrives. For now, they’re eager to begin providing service for local residents already requesting care.
Jeffers and Christensen are new to the healthcare industry, previously having worked together for an offshore drilling company.
Before his time overseas, Christensen was an Automation and Controls Electronics Engineer for the U.S. Army. He continued on as a field service engineer, supporting power plants and offshore vessels, where he met his wife, who was working as a navigation officer.
The leap from offshore work to running a homecare agency may seem substantial, but both Jeffers and Christensen each bring their own unique history in this new endeavor. The couple moved to the Grand Junction/Montrose area in 2015 to be closer to Jeffer’s 92-year-old grandmother, MaryLou, as her family’s search for in-home aide proved challenging.
Jeffers used to spend every summer with her grandmother in Montrose and was determined to find quality care.
Christensen went through a similar situation with his own mother 10 years prior, but had only positive experiences with the family’s home health care aide while his mother underwent treatment for terminal cancer.
Now the couple aims to bring support to aging seniors and their families in the community while helping them safely maintain independence.
“After we moved to Montrose in early 2019, we began discussing ways to move away from offshore life and how to do more for the community we were in love with,” Christensen said of the decision.
“After dealing with the current agencies in finding MaryLou care, and myself seeing the great care my mother had received during her illness in Ohio, her love for her caregivers and their love for her, we thought we could bring that kind of care and support to the Western Slope. BrightStar Care presented us with that kind of opportunity.”
Research into needed and available in-home health care services in the community led Jeffers and Christensen to Shelly Sun, founder of BrightStar Care.
“Shelly really stood out above the rest. With their standard of care, the recognition from those that need BrightStar Care services and the support of the brand and Shelly, we felt this was without a doubt the company and services to put our name behind,” said Christensen.
He said the couple’s combined leadership experience in high stress situations will equip them to lead and support a group of caregivers, while providing the necessary tools for giving families the care they need.
Jeffers noted that her experience in the offshore industry has helped her tailor her approach to business relations, although the biggest transition is learning the healthcare side of the business.
Her experience leading teams through high stress scenarios ranged from corralling marine crews, engineers and at times temperamental oil field workers, while also managing simultaneous operations and the stress of navigating through busy hurricane seasons, will cross over into this new business, the couple said.
The office will serve families throughout the Grand Junction and Montrose area, including Delta, Palisade, Fruita, Rifle, Paonia and Hotchkiss. Range of services will start out with companion care, transitional care and personal care.
“Hopefully by the end of the year we will get into skilled care,” Jeffers added. “We provide light housekeeping, meal prep, showering/bathing and grooming.
BrightStar Care currently has two employees, but are on the way to hiring a Director of Nursing as well as five more staff. Overall, the private home care service is looking for a range of 10 employees, from caregivers, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN).
The couple is also working on acquiring a Joint Commission Accreditation, a standard hospitals are held to, within the year.
Jeffers and Christensten said they felt both blessed to be a part of the community and passionate about the work they’ve set out on.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Jeffers. “We look forward to caring for those families that need our services and want to give them the same level of care that we would want our own family to receive.”
BrightStar Care Grand Junction/Montrose is located at 715 Horizon Dr. Unit 300 in Grand Junction.
Cassie Knust is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.