A message from Andrew Parker
When I founded Papa in 2017, the team and I set out to create a new kind of care, built on human connection. We wanted to alleviate the effects of loneliness, isolation, and other unmet social needs threatening millions of Americans every day. Many of the members we serve face complicated challenges in their day-to-day lives, with few options for other social support. Members value the freedom to continue living independently in their homes. Papa is an essential part of the in-home services ecosystem that allows our members to live healthy, fulfilled lives, on their terms.
I’m deeply committed to protecting the safety of our members and Papa Pals. It’s important, and it’s personal. I think of every member as I would my own grandfather, who I called Papa, and every Pal as a friend. That’s why today, Papa is announcing a new Trust and Safety Roadmap, inclusive of new enhanced safety measures, protections, policies and protocols that we are actively implementing across Papa’s platform. And once these changes are implemented, we will continue to evaluate, re-evaluate, and we will always make additional changes to how we do business as needed to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of our community.
As anyone who has been a caretaker knows, the work is not easy. Caring for older populations, especially those with many unmet needs—whether it be social, emotional, financial, physical—comes with its own set of unique challenges. I saw this firsthand with my “Papa,” who was not a fit for traditional home care from a nurse or attendant. He needed a companion—someone to check up on him, help with grocery shopping or getting to doctor’s appointments, and listen to his jokes and stories. Papa started as a way to help my grandfather and others like him, but it has grown into so much more.
In the past six years, our Pals have conducted over 1.6 million visits with members, and every single one counts. We help bridge the gap between those who need support and those who can’t access it, or otherwise wouldn’t know where to turn for help. The dedication of our Papa Pals—who serve as eyes and ears in the home—has made a tremendous impact in the lives of our members, and their health as a whole. In turn, our Pals radiate a sense of purpose and pride—the work has made a difference in their lives as well.
Per the U.S. Center for Disease Control, as many as 41% of traditional home healthcare workers have reported sexual harassment. That’s an alarmingly high number and is why additional solutions to eldercare are needed. For comparison, fortunately, trust and safety incidents at Papa have been incredibly rare and we work as hard as we can to keep it that way. Though even one incident is too many, only 0.1% of in-person visits have contained a member-reported safety complaint, and 0.3% of visits have contained a Pal-reported safety complaint.
We have consistently put trust and safety at the center of our operations, and over the past year, have taken even further measures to improve the security and safety of members and Papa Pals on our platform. This includes fundamentally reviewing and revamping our screening process to go above and beyond the industry standard, adding manual reviews of the raw data background check vendors receive, in addition to analysis by the background check vendor’s software, to avoid potential configuration issues. At the same time, we conducted a retroactive manual review of every Papa Pal in our system to ensure these high standards are met across our network.
We also significantly enhanced Papa Pal training and education, more than doubling touch points to its Pals; rolled out enhanced geolocation technology to catch anomalous situations that could present safety concerns; implemented software that automatically scans for over 300 keywords to uncover and escalate safety-related issues sooner; and improved the ability to report visit problems within our app.
Earlier this year, we engaged a world-class, third-party trust and safety expert to conduct an end-to-end review of our platform. Robert Chesnut brings 30 years of experience spanning the U.S Department of Justice, to eBay and Airbnb. Based on Chesnut’s review, we prioritized additional areas for improvement and investment, as outlined in our new Trust and Safety Roadmap announced today. More specifically, we are actively implementing the following:
- adding additional trust and safety expertise to our organization by establishing an external Safety Advisory Board
- further increasing training activities for Pals, with a focus on combating sexual and other workplace harassment, responding to emergency situations, and cultural competency during onboarding
- enhancing Pal screenings and identity verification checks, with monitoring related to transportation and vehicle safety standards
- adding new in-visit and post-visit safety features for Pals and members, improving the ability to report visit problems–across multiple secure channels, receive assistance in the event of an emergency, and more
- rolling out more secure communication channels, such as number anonymization, without hindering relationship-building
In the coming months, we will continue to look for opportunities to further enhance our safety programs to ensure that we continue to help individuals who often have no one else to rely on. At Papa, we believe wholeheartedly that investing in human connection has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, and society as a whole. That is why I started Papa, and that is why we remain committed to serving and supporting people in the safest possible way.
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