I live by a small diner called (and I’m not kidding here at all) The Country Diner. It used to be called The Cozy Kitchen and many of those who live in my little town just call it “the kitchen.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist or a long time resident, it’s almost impossible to go to The Kitchen without someone talking to you. It is the culture.

A few things to note about The Country Diner:

  1. They only accept cash. You take your new fangled credit card
    to an ATM if you want good cookin!
  2. Regulars get (and if the diner is busy MAKE) their own coffee.
  3. If you go there 3 days in a row, you will see at least two of the same people everyday with no exceptions.

One of the regulars there is named Sonny, and boy is he a character! He’s always got a joke or two (clean only) and he’s never afraid to start a conversation.

If you look at Sonny, you’ll see a normal guy. He is in his early seventies (looks like he’s in his sixties, but he’ll tell you exactly how old he is if you just talk to him). Of all the noticeable features, his eyes stand out. They are friendly eyes. He looks at people with kindness and maybe, a spark of mischief.

Today, he asked about my son and if his swelling went down in his foot. (Jonathan stepped in a fire ant hill this weekend). He asks if my daughter is liking cheer and if my wife has sold any houses recently.

If you have ever wondered why someone would move to the outskirts of Nashville (instead of the excitement closer in) it’s because they want to live in a town that has a Sonny. A town with an Ed and Linda. A town where folks regularly drop off cakes to the fire and police department.

As I left the diner this morning, I thought to myself… “What would I do if I came in one morning and Sonny wasn’t there?” I like to think that the diner would call to see where he was. Maybe one of the regulars would swing by his house.

What if no one did?

I live in a little town that was built on an ideal that we watch out for one another. My town has become the acceptation to the rule. When I was working full time for a home health agency in Florida, no body was looking out for my patients. Many were alone.

There is a good chance if you are in a competitive market, then many of your seniors don’t have this kind of support network. The diner they have gone to everyday for the past 20 years has no idea how to reach them if they don’t come in for a couple days.

The doctor is so busy, missing an appointment isn’t a red flag. Their kids are busy and only call once a week. The neighbors are millennials and they have never spoken more than a few words to them.

When is the last time you simply asked your referral source if they had any older seniors that missed their appointment? How about anyone who just got put on a new medication that has made medication errors in the past? How about a patient that looks worse this month than last month? Could it be their diet? Could it be their living conditions?

You have a chance to stand up for these patients. Not as a salesperson or patient liaison. As a neighbor who dreads the day that those eyes go from kindness (with just a hint of mischief) to sadness with a look of constant exhaustion.

I challenge you.

This week, don’t think like a post acute provider. Think like a pre acute asset. Sure, Sonny isn’t necessarily homebound if he goes to the diner everyday, but be there when it becomes too difficult for him to make his daily breakfast or (for our in home care providers) get him there and home safely everyday.

I hope someday you get to meet Sonny, or someone like him. It reminds you that behind that referral is a person and most of them are wonderful.

Have a great week!

– Jason

About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Business Development

for Home Care Sales

He can be reached at:

Email: jason@homecaresales.com

Phone: 615.815.7907


PS: Might want to consider…

If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:

educating your referral sources

not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info

not knowing what to say to drive referrals

not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info

…then the 52 Wk Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.

It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!