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Episode 17 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is live!

We were fortunate enough to have Jean Wendland Porter on our show and she offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

Jean Wendland Porter, PT, CCI, WCC, CKTP, CDP, TWD is the Regional Director of Therapy Operations at Diversified Health Partners in Ohio.

http://diversifiedhealthpartners.com/

With more than 35 years clinical and managerial experience in a variety of settings, Jean directs and coordinates therapy operations, therapy personnel, recruiting, policy development, training, legal compliance and reimbursement from all insurers and all aspects of rehabilitative care. Jean is also skilled in consulting with other entities on optimizing the care, rehabilitation and reimbursement for a variety of patients in a host of different settings.

EP 17: Senior Care Industry Netcast with Jean Wendland Porter- Diversified Health Partners in Ohio 2
Jean Wendland Porter, PT, CCI, WCC, CKTP, CDP, TWD

She has been with Diversified Health Partners since 2012.

Check out the blog post with the #video 📹 and look for more episodes coming soon as we travel the U.S. to find the leaders in #seniorcare to share their insights, experiences, and joy.

Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry NetCast, where leaders with three or more years in the senior care industry share their advice. It’s six questions in nine minutes, so let’s get to it. Tell us in a few sentences who you are and what you do.

Jean Wendland Porter:

My name is Jean Wendland Porter. I’ve been a physical therapist since 1977, so it’s been a while, more than three years. And I currently work as a Regional Director of Therapy Operations for a company in Ohio called Diversified Health Partners. And we work as consultants in various sniffs, and we work out in the community, actually doing hands-on care for seniors who need it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. And, yeah, you’ve been around for a long time, so you’ve seen a lot of trends and a lot of different things, and the one that we’re currently in, our current situation has definitely affected all of us. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Jean Wendland Porter:

I grew up around older adults. They seemed very old at the time. They were probably younger than I am right now. But we pay a lot of lip service to our greatest generation. We talk about our seniors as if they were monumental figures in our lives, because they are. The things that they have been through, the things that they have weathered, the trials and tribulations that they have been through is truly inspiring, and we owe them. As the current generation, as the younger generations, we owe them for all of their service, to everything that they have done for us, whether it’s bringing us up, putting us through college, serving our country, all of those things. And it bothers me personally when I hear them referred to as being trivialized or acute and not one of them is acute older adult. These are people who have taken care of us for the last 80 years, and this is important. It’s important that we dedicate our time to them as they did to us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. You’re so right about that. In talking to folks, doing these interviews, I think that learning from our seniors and listening to them is… every single person I interview talks about the value of learning and listening, and that’s just part of giving them a dignified existence and understanding they’re human person. So thank you for that. You’re absolutely right. Dignity is what they all deserve.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. So we’re going to switch gears just a little bit and talk about your experience lately and with online marketing. So I hear from other senior service providers that marketing online can be a challenge. It’s confusing, it’s ever changing, especially right now. It’s probably more important than ever. We can’t go see our referral sources, but what is your experience or your thoughts about marketing and online marketing?

Jean Wendland Porter:

Well, I’ve done some of it myself, but I’m also very interested in the different modes of online marketing. When I am consulting in a city that I haven’t been to before and I don’t know anybody, I do a Google search because that’s what you do. And when I find a website that has misspellings or typographical errors or a misplaced apostrophe, I’m out. I’m that guy. I am the one whose retina burns when she sees a misspelled word. So recently, in the last year, I spent some time about four hours from my usual headquarters, and I didn’t know anybody there, but I needed to find a rehab partner. So I did a Google search and I went through two, three websites that had misspelled words or just clunky spelling. And one of them actually wrote thanks with an apostrophe, and I can’t have this. Healthcare without an L, so it’s heathcare. And so I automatically discount these, automatically.

Jean Wendland Porter:

And then I ran across one, a website that was not just clean and pretty and got to the essence of what I was looking for, but it was correct. Everything was correct. And because of that, I made a call. I teamed up with Teri Holland Camp in Cincinnati, Ohio, right on the Kentucky border. And she was a person who was as good and as right as her website was, and I brought her in as a consultant, we partnered with her in one of our buildings. So I think that’s very important.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Now in the age of COVID-19, we’re seeing bigger challenges. So when you look at a website and they haven’t addressed these restrictions that we have now and the restrictions, our visitation restrictions, they are not just visitation restrictions, but restrictions on who can be tested and how they’re going to be tested and all of these things, that kind of thing needs to be explained because that’s what we’re all worried about right now. This is what we’re all concentrating on right now, and it can’t be ignored. You can’t have the same website today that you had six months ago, because this is a different world.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. You’re right. And what you said about typos and misspellings, and human error happens, but I can’t disagree with you there, that having worked with hundreds of clients that we’ve developed websites for, I will tell you that there are… it speaks to your attention to detail your diligence about stuff that…

Jean Wendland Porter:

Exactly right. We all make typos, that happens. But it’s not just that, but the attention to detail is exactly what you just said, because if there’s a lack of attention to detail on this thing that everybody can see from anywhere, then the attention to detail in-person, onsite is going to be questionable as well.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. Absolutely. So, I totally agree with you and, whew. I’m not of someone who has never made a typo or a spelling error. Trust me. However, when I see that, I’m like, “Oh my goodness.” So anyway, thank you for mentioning that. And yes, in COVID-19 world, addressing it on your website, front and center, or at least a button or a sentence, or read more here or whatever, super important I think for everyone to at least acknowledge that they understand, they’re aware and they’ve taken the correct precautions. If you don’t see that, it doesn’t mean they haven’t, but on the other hand, everybody has the opportunity to address that right now, and it’s really important that they do.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Yeah. Agreed.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, okay. Switching back to your experience, a lot of us have successful leaders in our industry who have made an impact on us, who have been mentors, or maybe just other organizations in your life that you really want to maybe give a shout-out to. So are there people or organizations like that in your life that have really helped you through your career or made a difference?

Jean Wendland Porter:

Well, I’ve been around for a long time, and I can tell you that for the last 25 years, every facility I’ve run into has known the name [inaudible 00:07:58]. And D is a person who is known actually nationally for her MDS acumen and for being right on top of every CMS dictum that comes out day-by-day. She is our go-to person, my go-to person to find out exactly what Waiver 1135 means in COVID-19 times, to find out exactly how to make our way through the labyrinth that we’re in at any given time, not just now. And so I do rely on D for a lot of things. For about 30 years now, on and off, I’ve worked with Shelly Szarek-Skodny, who is currently our CEO. We work together very well. She is a very dynamic leader. She is the person who the entire state of Ohio, where we work, looks to for guidance and for clarity on so many issues that come up. And she is an excellent leader.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Excellent. You know what? That’s folks that some of us may not even know about, but when they are so, especially someone who understands the CMS rulings, super important to have that person in your back pocket. So, that’s [crosstalk 00:09:12].

Jean Wendland Porter:

They change all the time. [crosstalk 00:09:15].

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, yeah. Every day, there’s something new, something you can read. Oh, it blows my mind and, and I’m glad that someone else has to keep track of all that, because I can’t. Okay. What advice would you give to other senior care providers? It could be in general, in the age of COVID-19, whatever advice you’d like to give.

Jean Wendland Porter:

What I have found throughout all of this time working with the elderly is that there’s always a third party who is dictating how we run the business and how we deliver healthcare. And if nothing else, we have to be adaptable because, well, for one thing, every October 1st, we come out with new rules of some kind or another, but frequently in between as well. And so again, in the age of COVID-19, we have to be on top of this 1135 Waiver, but we also have to be hyper aware of any changes that come by, because it will change the way we deliver care, as well as how we get paid for how we deliver care. And this is super important that we have to be adaptable.

Jean Wendland Porter:

And I can tell you that in my career, I’ve heard so many people say, “Well, this is not the way we’ve done it before.” And my response has to be, “That’s right. This is the way we’re doing it now, because as much as it changes, we just have to go along with it.” We are swept up with the time and we have to make the most of it in order to deliver the care that our seniors need.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And this is so way we’re doing it now. And you know what? Never in history have we heard those words more frequently than we have in the last three or four months.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Right, right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It will continue to change. And you know what? I can’t even imagine the amount of heroes and the amount of amazing people that have really stepped up in your world to take care of seniors. And I know that skilled nursing facilities, in some cases, are getting a bad rep and in some cases, getting a good rep, but they are all doing the very best that they can with what they have to work with. I believe that. I believe everyone inherently is trying their best.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We have some areas of the country that are just ravaged with this. So you’re going to see different things off and on. I speak from my experience, well, I’m a nurse by trade, but I speak from the place where my father’s in a nursing home. And he is, luckily, to this moment, in a home where they have not had a case.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Wow. [crosstalk 00:11:58].

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is crazy, right? And every nursing home around him has had cases and people have left to go to the hospital from his facility for other reasons, medication adjustments, something else, medically happens, and they have succumbed to COVID-19 because they got an in the hospital. So we’ve been very lucky as a family, but I realize, and try to support that staff, as much as I can from a distance by sending masks or if they need something, you’re trying to help as a resident’s family member, because I know their job’s not easy and I know that they’re doing the very best they can, and so is everyone else, really.

Jean Wendland Porter:

And families are really, really impacted by this because it’s not the same to see mom and dad through a window the way it was when you could go in and hug them or hold their hand every day. Its not the same.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No. And they are helpful. I mean, we can send gifts. My dad likes peanut butter, so I can send him jars of peanut butter, and he can call me on his Alexa device, which is really nice. He wouldn’t be able to use a cell phone, but he can say, “Hey, Alexa, call Valerie.” If I say that too loud, she’ll try to do something, and it’ll call me, and I can talk to him for as long as he wants and just hang out with him. So, those are the things that families have had to just kind of adapt to. But I think everybody’s really doing the best they can. And it’s folks like you and the facilities that you are managing or over and director, over, that keep these folks safe. So we appreciate what you do.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Okay. Well, we appreciate families as well. Anything that you can do is helpful to us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Oh, yeah. Have to be engaged, you have to be the squeaky wheel and you have to be helpful. I think [crosstalk 00:13:56]…

Jean Wendland Porter:

Oh, that’s absolutely true. And I always tell people this, because they apologize when they call, “I’m really sorry to be calling you again,” but somebody has to be the advocate. And if it’s going to be the daughter or the son or the grandchild, somebody has to be the advocate for our seniors.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. So, yeah. It works. It’s a community. We have to work together to help everybody. So, okay. So my last question is a fun question. When you have a win in life or in business, or with a facility or whatever, how do you celebrate?

Jean Wendland Porter:

Well, who doesn’t celebrate with food? I mean, that’s a thing that we do. But used to be, and this was a lesson I learned several years ago, and my team makes me look good. You choose the right people, you hire the right people and you will have a win more frequently than you will have a loss. And so I would always celebrate with bringing pizza or something, make a cake and bring that in, something, because food makes everybody feel better about everything. And one of my staff once told me, “This is really nice that you always bring us in lunch or you bring us something like this, but you could just say thank you too because we would really appreciate that.” And you know what? That is huge. It is huge that all we have to do, and we don’t do it enough, is to say thank you to those people who make us look good and offers us successes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s very true. And leaders like you who recognize that, I think that it takes being around the block for a while to understand all those little things, but it’s talking to leaders like you that helps all of us remember really how to treat our staff and how to celebrate as a team, and even celebrate as a family, thanking each other and being there for each other is super important. So thank you. I really appreciate you doing this show. Thank you so much.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Oh, thanks for asking me to be on. This was great.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You did great. Thank you.

Jean Wendland Porter:

Okay.