When Brian Stemple’s aunt was released from a hospital in Tulsa and told she could no longer live alone, family members living elsewhere had to scramble to find a place where she could get the care she needed.
The lack of knowledge about what facilities were available led to confusion, frustration and stress. It also led Stemple into the business of helping Wichita-area people who find themselves in similar situations.
“Between my aunt’s situation and a desire to have a job where I’m helping people – versus just selling a product – that all came together at the same time,” said Stemple, a former medical equipment salesman.
Stemple and his wife bought a franchise in Assisted Transition, a California-based company that provides families with information about nursing homes and other living facilities. The service is free to the elderly and their families, with Stemple receiving referral fees from the facilities.
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“I don’t represent a specific service,” he said. “It allows me to tailor a best-case solution for the family.”
Stemple said he worked in medical sales in Wichita most of his 20-year career.
“I was familiar with the medical industry, but the senior care part of it was a completely different animal to me,” he said. “I felt like I needed the backing of a national franchise to give me that direction.”
Stemple spent a week at the Assisted Transition headquarters in Long Beach, Calif., learning about different types of facilities and what levels of care they provided. He also developed a better understanding of what setting would be appropriate for someone based on their circumstances and physical condition. His franchise is one of 43 across the country and the only one in Kansas.
Since opening in May, he’s visited dozens of facilities in the Wichita area.
“I wouldn’t recommend a place unless I’ve been there and evaluated it,” he said. “I go out and assess them all, take pictures, take notes.”
Stemple also offers clients advice on in-home care, benefits and services, such as real estate and legal help they may need. His office is located in the Office This complex on Harry, where several companies involved in elderly care are housed.
“I maintain a database on services that have a good reputation in town,” he said.
Stemple said it’s the time-sensitive nature of many hospital discharges that cause families stress. Other than the Internet and word of mouth, most “start from zero” in trying to find suitable living arrangements for their loved ones.
“It’s a brand new situation for the family every time they have a parent or grandparent that needs to transit,” he said. “My service is to make sure that’s done more efficiently and take the stress and confusion out of that.”