Future Leader: Jessica Treat, Senior Marketing and Admissions Director, Josephine Caring Community

The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care. To see this year’s future leaders, visit Future Leaders online.

Jessica Treat, senior marketing and admissions director for Josephine Caring Community, has been named a 2020 Future Leader by Home Health Care News parent company Aging Media Network.

To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action and an advocate for seniors.

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Treat sat down with HHCN to talk about her career trajectory and the ways the home-based care industry is evolving due to market trends, regulatory forces and the COVID-19 pandemic.

HHCN: Can you tell me a little bit about your organization and role?

Treat: Josephine Caring Community is a social service ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America, so we’re a nonprofit. The organization was established in 1908, and we currently have five service lines.

Josie’s Learning Center is our child care division, so we don’t just do senior care, which some find interesting. The Suites at Josephine is our assisted living facility. We also have Saratoga and The Meadows, which are our skilled nursing and memory care facilities. Lastly, we then have Josephine at Home, which is our home care — and soon-to-be home health — division.

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I was the community relations director for Josephine Caring Community. I work with our referral partners in our area to help brand and educate the community about our services and continuum of care. In addition to that role, I have been working with Terry Robertson, the CEO of Josephine Caring Community, and Leslie Palmer, the clinical director for Josephine at Home.

I was recently given a promotion in August to become the senior marketing and admissions director for Josephine Caring Community. I will oversee the marketing and admissions department for all of Josephine Caring Community’s service lines moving forward.

Due to my work at Josephine at Home, I have been able to implement the PointClickCare CRM system, which is for all of Josephine’s senior care service lines. I will be implementing a more streamlined admissions process that will allow for an easier transition for consumers. Admissions and marketing staff will be trained with the idea of being a concierge for all of Josephine Caring Community services. My goal is to help our team understand the full continuum of care we offer so we can help our clients wherever they are.

What drew you to this business of caregiving, whether that’s caring for seniors or children, since Josephine Caring Community is such a diverse nonprofit?

I’d like to share a personal story, which highlights why I was drawn to Josephine. I have a large family. My parents always trained me to respect my elders and learn from them. My grandparents are a huge part of who I am today, and my grandfather was one of my heroes. When he was 94 years old, he fell working in his pasture and broke his hip. This was my first personal interaction with senior living and senior care. My family and I had to become his advocates, even when it came to just ensuring he got that surgery following the fall. Afterward, he was sent to a skilled nursing facility. Prior to being able to leave the skilled nursing facility, they said he would need 24-hour care at home. My mom ended up having to quit her job and moved in with him and my grandmother to offer the care he needed. We faced many challenges to get him home — and I knew there had to be an easier way.

Working in long-term care for over 10 years has given me a passion to help seniors and their families find the appropriate care services and support as they age. Home health is part of our senior care that has been underutilized for many years. And I think now with the pandemic, the numbers are proving that home health is what seniors and families have needed for an extended period of time.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I did some research on this, and I think I am a ‘transformational-and-coach-style leader.” I focus on clear communications, goal setting and employee motivation. I work to meet our organization’s objectives and goals, communicating them clearly to my staff. I also train and give my staff tools that allow them to adapt to their own style, to set their grounds for success. I am present and available, and I lead by example.

What would you say has been your biggest lesson learned since entering this industry?

I think the biggest thing, especially with what’s going on with COVID and the pandemic, is learning that change is inevitable. That’s true even outside of the public health emergency. Everyone needs to be willing to adapt and grow. I’ve learned to start with a plan, even though I know I may have to change that plan over time. I’ve also learned to prepare by collecting data, reviewing data and using information to form my plan. When I do need to change my plans, I do so based on education and data, not just knee-jerk reactions.

If you could change one thing about the future of home-based care, what would it be?

CMS has already started to consider this due to COVID, but I think we need additional reimbursement for home care, preventative care to help clients stay in their homes longer. Oftentimes, we’re seeing patients who have been struggling for a long time before they reach out to receive the care they need. If they could reach out sooner for services, they may be able to prevent the fall, the spike in blood sugar, the extreme weight loss, etc.

What do you foresee as being different about the in-home care industry looking ahead to 2021? What do you see changing?

Well, I want to note that I think this is the perfect time for Josephine to launch the home health care line. Everything coming out of the pandemic from CMS and other agencies shows that home care and home health care is experiencing an increase in patient need. I think that will continue to grow. We’re going to see an increase in patient need, so we need to be able to meet the patients where they’re at.

The home care industry will be the future for senior health care, offering new technology to help patients stay in their homes longer. Quality of life for clients will improve. I think we’ll also see an increase in remote services and telehealth.

How would you describe the future of home-based care in one word?

I’ll say “innovative.”

I think we’ll start to actually be in the home with the patient. It’s more of one-on-one care. We’re going to start to learn more and more about seniors and what they truly need.

To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit the Future Leaders homepage.

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