Guaranteed Wants to Change How Society Talks About Death
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Jessica McGlory knows most people don’t want to talk about death — which is why she thinks it needs to be talked about.
The 31-year-old tech marketing professional was fairly uneducated about the topic herself until a doctor advised her family that her father, who had been in the hospital for two weeks after a double heart attack, needed hospice care. At the time, she hadn’t even heard of hospice.
“When I Googled it, that was actually the first time I learned and understood that my dad was terminally ill and was actively dying because that’s the only way that you would be recommended into hospice,” McGlory said. “That struck me as a very strange way for me to find out that my dad was dying.”
When her family selected a hospice provider, they were taken aback by the lack of customer service and education they received.
“The person just was like, ‘Alright, there’s your bed. There’s your portable commode. There’s some morphine. Good luck,’” McGlory said. “There was no real education on what we should be expecting and what to anticipate so we could be a better caregiver, which we had to become overnight.”
When her father was crying out in pain one night, McGlory called their hospice provider only to find out that they would not be able to send a nurse until the next day. McGlory ended up video-calling her friend, a certified nursing assistant, who was able to identify bed sores on her father’s body and then teach McGlory how to clean them.
Determined to help other families in a similar situation, McGlory launched Guaranteed in November 2021.
If we don’t talk about it, there’s no way that more people will actually choose the end-of-life path that they think is best for them, which we believe should be pain-free and come with comfort care.”
Guaranteed employs 12 caregivers who provide unlimited in-person visits at a patient’s house, as well as at assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities.
The web app offers on-demand video telehealth sessions, which McGlory found far more useful than a phone call when caring for her father. Guaranteed also provides educational materials and grief management to families. Its currently testing a text messaging component that is expected to roll out in the future.
“I chose the name Guaranteed because I started to realize that the only thing that is truly guaranteed in life is that we will die. However, we do not have a guaranteed experience across the board for all of us that truly will be pain-free and filled with comfort care,” McGlory said. “I wanted to be able to build something that would be able to provide that guaranteed experience.”
Although the company is headquartered in NYC and has an office in Midtown, Guaranteed launched its hospice care services in July 2022 in Los Angeles, where McGlory saw an opportunity to address a hospice care gap among Black and Asian American populations.
McGlory said some hospice providers limit their services to low-acuity patients who do not have comorbidities or other health problems that require more care. By providing more comprehensive, culturally-competent care, McGlory hopes Guaranteed will reach underserved groups who may have lost trust in the healthcare system. McGlory also hopes to help those who feel like they must be the sole caregiver for their loved ones.
“If we don’t talk about it, there’s no way that more people will actually choose the end-of-life path that they think is best for them, which we believe should be pain-free and come with comfort care,” McGlory said.
Guaranteed is certified by Medicare, Medicaid and California’s Medi-Cal program. The startup recently raised $6.5 million in seed funding, which it plans to use to hire NYC-based tech professionals who are inspired by their vision. The company is hiring across engineering, operations and marketing.
In the future, Guaranteed hopes to scale into new markets, such as northern California, Philadelphia and New York.