Chamber Insider Blog

Black History Month Spotlight: Ashley Ivey, I-CARE

Thank you to Ashley Ivey of I-CARE Home Health Services (celebrating 30 years!) for answering a few of our questions. To learn more about the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Committee (DEIA), click here.

Where were you born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun? 

I was born in Toledo, Ohio but I don’t remember much from that area because my parents moved to Northern Virginia when I was 18 months old. My parents moved from Alexandria to Springfield in the ‘90s and we stayed there until moving to Burke, VA when I was in 5th grade. I often describe the area I was raised in to be like the community in the movie “Edward Scissorhands,” with the garage doors all opening at the same time, everyone mowing their lawn on Saturdays and everyone knowing their neighbors.

I moved to Loudoun County in 2017 shortly after giving birth to my daughter, Angela. I moved to this area because my awesome support system lived here (my parents!). I quickly fell in love with the Loudoun area. I loved the suburban feel and emphasis on small business. I also loved how almost every time I went to the Leesburg Wegmans, I would see someone I know, and we would chat and reconnect. Even though Loudoun is big, it has a home-town type of feel, and I love that.

Tell us about your business, and how long you’ve been in your industry. 

With a healthcare background and a love for service, Donna Ivey, my mom, founded I-CARE Inc., Home Health Care Services in 1993. My parents, Donna & Tony Ivey are co-owners of I-CARE Inc., Home Health Care provides family focused, quality nursing and personal care services for clients of all ages, in the comfort of the client’s home. We currently employ over 50 caregivers and nurses throughout the Northern Virginia area and are expanding to Maryland and Washington, DC. I-CARE’s caregiving team allows clients to safely age in their home and gives peace of mind to our client’s family members as they know that their loved one is being cared for. Home caregiving allows our clients to be more independent at home as well! Our licensed and certified nurse aides provide our clients assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing & hygiene assistance, dressing, light meal preparation, walking assistance, medication reminders, physical therapy exercises and much more! We provide part-time, full- time and 24/7 live-in care. In addition, I-CARE provides private duty nursing services for clients in their homes. Our skilled nursing teams provides general and specialty nursing including intravenous therapy, would care, central line care, OB/maternity needs, hospice, and palliative care services.

We are excited to be celebrating 30 years of service this year! I have been in the healthcare industry for 23 years, with 13 years of those years as a clinician. I love what I do, and I love the impact it has on our clients and their families!

How did you get into this line of work? 

My parents started I-CARE Inc. 1993, when I was 7 years old, so I was introduced to healthcare at a very young age. My 2 younger siblings and I were all W-2 employees of I-CARE Inc. at the age of 14. We joke that on our 14th birthday we received a birthday cake and a worker’s permit! At that time, I-CARE Inc. primarily provided rehabilitation staffing services. Health care facilities and companies that needed caring, credentialed physical, occupational and speech therapists, called us to provide these therapists.

One of my tasks at work included checking through the therapists’ notes, ensuring that they had all the required information, before submitting. I really enjoyed reading through the notes and seeing the different type of diagnoses and what the therapists did to make improvements with the client.

In high school, I was in advanced placement biology (which I loved), and we had to do an internship. I chose to work in an outpatient therapy center, and I shadowed a hand occupational therapist. She worked with patients who had an injury or ailment that affected the use or sensation of their hand(s). I was so intrigued watching the therapist provide manual therapy and different modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Another modality (of sorts) that she provided to patients was hope. I saw her encouraging patients to try and press more, while telling them that they would get better and most importantly reminding them of the progress they had already made. Between reading the notes of and interacting with the therapists at I-CARE and watching this therapist in a real-life setting, I fell in love with the world of therapy. In 2010, I received my associate degree in applied science in a physical therapist assistant program and after sitting for the boards, received my license as a physical therapist assistant.

We saw that many home care clients needed more help throughout the day. They needed hourly assistance and help performing their activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing themself, meal preparation, medication reminders and walking assistance. For individuals living alone, their loved ones wanted peace of mind, knowing that their loved one was eating, was safe at home and was being well taken care of. In 2007, I-CARE added personal care services in addition to rehabilitation services. When I received my therapy license, I was excited to be able to train our caregivers on physical therapy techniques for safely transferring patients and fun exercises to keep their patients moving. In a few years after starting personal care services, we focused on personal care only and referred out to our referral partners when patients needed physical, occupational and speech therapy services.

Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that guided your career? 

My special mentors and inspiration that guided my career are my parents, Tony & Donna Ivey. They built I-CARE Inc. from the ground up and have created a wonderful service that has helped so many. My mom is the heart and visionary of the company. She does everything she can to make a difference in the lives of her clients, referral partners and the community. She is loving, caring and is truly the heart of I-CARE. My dad is the business of I-CARE Inc. In the early ‘90s, he took a break from his job as a construction project manager to help my mom write the regulations and get licensed as a home care organization. For the last 15 years, he has been both the Vice President and Director of Operations at I-CARE Inc., . I have learned a lot about business from my dad. My dad also has a heart for care. Both of his parents had dementia and he is keenly aware of the highs and lows families go through when a loved one is diagnosed with this illness. I love them dearly; they both are my inspiration!

What is the best part of your job and why? 

The best part of my job is smiling! I love to network and learn more about other small businesses, all while smiling. I love to inspire and impart my experience and strategies on our administrative team, all while smiling. I love to meet new prospective clients and visit current clients, listening and smiling. I love speaking with families and giving them hope, despite their current situation. When I was sick, my dad would tell me every year (around New Year’s Eve), “Ash, next year is going to be better.” I never forgot that, and he was always right. It is amazing what gifting hope to a person going through an ailment or injury will do. Smiling and giving hope are the best parts of my job!!

What is it like doing business in Loudoun? 

In 2023 we set out to focus and LEAN INTO LOUDOUN, devoting even more time and resources to people directly in our community! We love working with our neighbors and small business owners. It feels great to know that you are positively impacting our friends and neighbors.

What does Black History Month mean to you? 

For me, Black History Month is an exciting time when my community learns more about Black history, culture and the many, many achievements Black Americans have made, despite structural setbacks. I am blessed to have been raised in an environment where who I am was celebrated, every day. We learned about our history from family and our church. Many of the people who we know and are still alive today, were part of the racial revolution of the ‘60s and are still impactful in social and economic justice today.

Favorite things to do when you are not working? 

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my children. Angela is 5 (will be 6 in April) and Kevin just turned 4. These are super fun ages because they are somewhat independent but also, they still love to cuddle and spend time with me. I like to take them on adventures throughout the DMV. Recently, we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. They loved it! My son was especially intrigued by the big elephant display and the dinosaur bones. We also frequent trampoline parks, movie theaters, parks (when it’s warm) and shopping malls. I love them to see different areas and ask questions about what they see! It is always so interesting to hear their perspective on life. We have a chandelier in our house and on some mornings, the sunlight catches the crystals in such a way that they shine a rainbow on our wall. I remember my daughter looked at the wall and said, “Mommy, look at all these colors! A unicorn was here, I see her tail on the wall!”. And from then on, she has been convinced that unicorns are real.

I also enjoy going to poetry open mic nights, listening to live jazz music, and traveling. Anyone that knows me also knows that I absolutely love to cook! I love creating awesome healthful meals for my family and friends.