We recently had the opportunity to interview Doris Knecht, CEO and Head of Care at VivoCare. With a vision to extend community service and care for people with dementia, Doris has been carrying out her role exceptionally well, proving to be an inspiration for many.
With VivoCare, Doris offers a person-centered approach, standing out as unique and one of its kind in Asia. With a perfect blend of updated and competent Western care standards with Thai cordiality, the organization reflects Doris Knecht’s expertise in caring for people with dementia. In this interview, the CEO shares valuable insights on her journey, having effective teamwork, adopting a unique approach, and factors crucial to starting as a beginner in this field.
A Glimpse Into Doris’ Journey
We started the interview by asking, “Can you please provide us with some information about yourself, including your early life and education?”
Doris responds, “I am an Expert on Outreach Social Work and have expertise in social support and caring for people with dementia. For about 10 years I have been caring for foreigners,mostly Swiss, Germans, and British, with dementia in Northern Thailand based on a person-centered approach, which was developed by the well-known English gerontologist and social psychologist, Prof. Dr. Tom Kitwood, and adapted to Thai conditions by me and my colleagues. I’m also acquainted with holding management positions in various dementia facilities in Switzerland.”
Presence Of VivoCare
We were curious to learn about the presence of Doris Knecht’s company in Singapore. So, we asked, “Could you tell us about your company and its presence in the Singapore region?”
She responds, “VivoCare is domiciled in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We have a partnership with Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore, which sends students to do internships with us for several months each year. These students learn how to apply person-centered care to people with neurodegenerative diseases.”
Highs and lows are a part of any business. So, we asked, “How has the year been for your company in terms of overall performance and achievements?”
Doris shared, “The past few years have been characterized by constant growth in the number of people receiving support. Business development is quite continuous and stable at present. We currently look after around 25 guests and as per rule, guests stay with us until they pass away.”
Setting VivoCare Apart
We further asked, “In the current competitive market, what does your business offer that sets it apart from others?”
She continued, “The person-centered care approach we offer to our guests is unique in Asia. We combine contemporary and competent Western care standards with Thai cordiality. We are not currently aware of any other facility that provides dementia care to the same or similar standards as we do.”
Building The Perfect Team
To ensure sustainable success as a business, it is paramount to have teamwork and unity within the organization. We asked, “What measures do you believe employees and organizations can take to build effective teamwork and foster unity within the workplace?”
”In Asia in particular, it is important not only to teach know-how in theory but also to demonstrate and exemplify it in practice. Our open error culture focuses on how to prevent errors instead of looking for someone to blame. This creates a zone of trust for our employees and also leads to a constant increase in the competence of the entire organization.
VivoCare is fortunate that most of our employees have been with us for many years and will not leave us under normal circumstances. We also ensure that employees are fairly compensated and have good social benefits.” Doris shared.
Words Of Wisdom For Beginners
Beginners starting in a similar field will find it inspiring to hear from an expert like Doris Knecht. So, we ended the interview by asking, “Do you have any advice or tips for startups looking to follow a similar pathway to your company’s success?”
“Setting up a care facility for foreigners in Asia is a lengthy process. Especially, if you want to care for people with neurodegenerative conditions, you will have to proceed via a long path. Firstly, you have to convince the relatives and also make sure that the care guest is fit to travel. There are also visa requirements that need to be fulfilled.
It usually takes a few years to have a profitable business. In our case, it took almost 12 months to welcome the first guest. That’s why I don’t have a recommendation. However, one must show perseverance and competence, otherwise, there is no success.” Doris concluded.
Connect with Doris Knecht on LinkedIn.