A car passes a sign that reads "Town of Milford"
Milford's digital town sign, which stands at the corner of Davenport Street and Main Road. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

The owner of a Milford home care agency said business is back to normal two months after a lapsed state registration forced it to dismiss its entire workforce.

Earth Angels Home Care owner Molly Flanagan estimated the agency has regained about 90 percent of its roughly 35 to 40 employees and 50 to 60 clients following the March disruption. The lapsed registration has had “no lasting impact” on the organization that began last year, Flanagan said.

“We started like nothing happened,” she said.

The return of Earth Angels’ employees and client base closes an episode during which employees were told to seek unemployment insurance and an Aroostook County agency took on some of the Milford agency’s employees and clients.

Personal care agencies in Maine are required to register with the Maine Department of Health and Human Service, according to spokesperson Jackie Farwell. Earth Angels Home Care submitted a registration application on March 16 after its registration expired on Feb. 24, Farwell said.

That application was “immediately processed,” Farwell said, and the agency’s new approval expires on March 15, 2023.

Flanagan said a “paperwork delay” caused the expired registration, but the agency now has “measures in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Earth Angels Home Care provides non-medical home care for aging Mainers, assistance with recovery after surgery and disability support. Flanagan said the agency aims to help seniors maintain their independence and stay out of nursing homes by helping with daily tasks such as meal preparation or bathing.

While Earth Angels Home Care halted operations, another agency, Presque Isle-based Professional Home Care Specialists, hired 16 to 20 of Earth Angels’ former employees and took on 25 to 30 of the agency’s former clients, said Kyla Cronkhite, Professional Home Care Specialists’ district supervisor.

Cronkhite said six of those former Earth Angels employees and seven former clients chose to stay with Professional Home Care Specialists after Earth Angels resumed operations, and all are doing well.

Flanagan said she’s thankful other providers were able to take on her agency’s clients so they received uninterrupted care, regardless of who provided it.

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“We got into this business to help people find home care so they could stay out of a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Flanagan said. “It’s a beautiful thing to know we have neighbors who will step up in times of need and help out. Our clients are well and happy and we’re very grateful.”

Cronkhite said her agency took on Earth Angels’ employees to ensure their clients did not experience a lapse in care while the agency was out of commission.

“We take care of the elderly and they were being left with no services and no one to take care of them,” Cronkhite said. “A lot of these people are elderly and could fall easily or forget to take their medication. It can be very serious when these people don’t receive the consistent care they need.”

Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...