John Kraynak shifted from his career in engineering to home care, something he had been hoping to do for years. Brightstar Care, a national franchise, opened in November on Thomas Johnson Drive.

John Kraynak used the pandemic as an opportunity to shift from his career in engineering to home care, something he had been hoping to do for years. Brightstar Care, a national franchise, opened in November on Thomas Johnson Drive.

Kraynak, of Frederick, first became interested in home care when his father fell ill with dementia 15 years ago and his mother became his primary caretaker. He saw the stress it caused her and the strain it put on their relationship.

“Despite my mother’s love and efforts and dedication and great relationship with each other, she wasn’t prepared to be caregiver for my father,” he said. “Things would happen and she didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Additionally, when he tried to help his parents by making phone calls for them and setting up in-home care, he realized just how difficult the world of in-home care was to navigate.

“I kind of said to myself, ‘Ok, at some point there has to be an easier way for people to do this during this difficult stage,’” Kraynak said.

Since he is not a health care professional, Kraynak began looking into already established businesses and franchises that he could use as a jump-off point. After looking into several different options, he settled on Brightstar Care for its values, including its high standard of care and commitment to continuum of care.

Having to switch between different providers as his father’s needs changed was one of the many struggles he remembers from his parents’ situation.

“Every time something changed, it was hours on the phone trying to navigate a new situation,” Kraynak said. “ ... with Brightstar Care, it’s the same folks, the same director of nursing. She’s already familiar with the entire case and the progress of the loved one all along.”

Kraynak hired Kelly Brunstetter to be his director of nursing. She has over 15 years of experience in geriatric nursing and is a licensed RN, assisted living manager and director of nursing in Maryland.

“That is one thing I feel extremely fortunate and proud of, that she wanted to come work with us, which I think is tremendous,” Kraynak said. “I think she’s going to make a huge difference.”

Kraynak is still looking to hire RNs, CNAs and LNs for the practice. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has largely increased the demand for in-home care, as more and more people move out of assisted living homes and back in with family. That’s also increased the demand for nurses, so it has been hard to fill all his positions.

Another challenge the pandemic has brought is not being able to meet people face-to-face. Kraynak likes to make genuine connections with people, but said the lack of events due to COVID has made it harder to find those who need care.

He’s excited to move forward with the business and help as many people in the region as he can.

“The best thing about me owning this business is helping people, honestly,” Kraynak said. “It feels good when we go meet families and the people that need the care. They can have some peace of mind.”

Open for Business is an occasional feature highlighting new businesses around Frederick County. Contact Riley at

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley

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