A-Abiding CARE, Inc. was founded by Joyce V. Kernan, who worked as a registered nurse for several area hospitals in the 1960s and 70s, including Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines and Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, and also served as Director of Nursing at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. Joyce was a strong advocate for person-centered care before it became a buzzword, and proved herself to be a visionary. She saw what home care needed to become. People were living longer, healthier lives and wanted to age in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. She knew the Medicare model of home health visits, while valuable, did not address the everyday needs of clients who required assistance throughout the day and evening. Her vision of a vital, private duty home care model set the stage for A-Abiding CARE, Inc. to begin. The mission was clear from the start and hasn’t wavered since: provide personalized home care services with integrity, nurturing and respect for each client’s individual needs. Joyce believed that in serving the client you also serve the family, the community and the workforce. In March of 1983, experience, vision and circumstance came together and A-Abiding CARE, Inc. began taking care of the 1st of thousands of clients.
When Joyce started A-Abiding CARE, Inc., there were few local private agencies and limited resources for standards, regulations and guidelines. Ten years later, A-Abiding CARE, Inc. was asked to join a collaborative effort with a few professional private agencies in the Chicago area who then founded the National Private Duty Association, known today as the Home Care Association of America. As charter members, Joyce and A-Abiding CARE, Inc. were part of the grassroots advocacy efforts that to this day strengthen and enhance the provision of services and professionalism of private duty agencies for consumers, providers and workers.
The early days of A-Abiding CARE, Inc. are fondly remembered by Joyce’s children. At the beginning, it was all about having their Mom available to them as she began her home based business after their Dad died. The early days were part of the family routine – meals, school, work, homework, Mom and caregivers in the kitchen and a scheduler in the dining room. The “kids” watched this family business grow and watched their Mom advocate for good home care every day. As time went on, it was understood they were watching a pioneer in the home care field – someone others looked up to and came to for advice on all aspects of home care. When A-Abiding CARE moved into its current location on Northwest Highway in 1989, it was clear – Mom wasn’t just Mom. She was the President and CEO of a highly respected company in this community for over 20 years; an industry leader in standards and practices that are still foundational principles for the Agency today.
Joyce Kernan spent 20 years on her mission to build and nurture a business and develop the private duty industry. Because of this undertaking, she and her agency staff were instrumental in helping thousands of clients recuperate or age in place in their own home. She also employed hundreds of caregivers, mostly women, who were able to use their knowledge, skills and compassion to provide services they could be proud of.
In 2003, the family, Agency staff and community mourned the loss of this incredible woman when she suddenly passed away. However, the lessons of her life and her legacy were left in good hands. With the support of a stable administrator – longtime employee Betsy Szramek – and many experienced longtime staff and caregivers, the family transitioned to active owners, Board Members and officers of the company. In 2014, Joyce’s son – Michael Kernan – became the 3rd Agency Administrator who learned from the best. He and all the staff of A-Abiding CARE, Inc. continue to remember and uphold Joyce’s legacy and the quality, foundational standards that make A-Abiding CARE, Inc. an industry leader in home care.
A-Abiding Care, Inc. (AACI)
235 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068-3343
MONDAY – FRIDAY 8:30AM – 4:30PM
We Provide 24 Hour Phone Assistance & RN On-Call