Customer Service Team Is Standing By To Help Wellington Residents In Need

Customer Service Team Is Standing By To Help Wellington Residents In Need

In 2018, Wellington’s Customer Service Department handled 43,000 phone calls and assisted 33,000 visitors. The team of 13 people is dedicated to serving the community and takes the relationship between local government and its residents very seriously.

“Instead of each department, we have one centralized location where we can provide the best customer service to the residents of Wellington,” Customer Service Manager Mindi Lockhart said. “Everyone is trained so that residents are getting consistent information and not being bounced around. Resolution is our goal.”

The department covers more than the front line of service windows, it also handles the village’s call center and the main front desk at the Wellington Municipal Complex. Operators are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there’s a plan in place for emergency calls outside of normal business hours.

Lockhart’s teammate Elizabeth Arocho is also a customer service manager. She finds working during the worst of times — specifically during a major storm — a vital responsibility for the department.

“During storms, we have folks here on lockdown. That means they are here before the storm starts, during the storm and after the storm. We don’t leave. We make sure the public has the ability for direct contact with a live person,” Arocho said. “During Tropical Storm Isaac, we had a lot rainfall and flooding. So many residents were calling in scared and worried about their horses. Just watching the call centers take those calls in a calm manner that helped quell our residents’ fears — that was a proud mom moment.”

The team is passionate about this important role. Customer Service Administrative Coordinator Wayne Turpin is a perfect example. After nearly five years in the department, he is still excited about his work, even during a storm.

“I volunteered for it. My family lives close by, so I might as well be here working and helping out. They normally get us in a couple of hours before a storm gets bad, so we are here through everything. In the last storm, we were here Saturday morning through Monday morning,” Turpin recalled. “There is always a liaison from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue here with us. I got a call during the last storm from a resident who lost part of a pergola, and it had punctured a gas line in the middle of the storm. We were able to get people dispatched to address the problem. PBCFR coordinated with us and got someone there to seal it off without any issues.”

Lockhart and Arocho work in tandem to keep the department running smoothly. “Our main goal during a hurricane is to make sure that the public is safe, and our staff is safe. We are all in this boat and have to get through a hurricane together,” Lockhart said. “Afterward, of course, we work to get everything back to normal as fast as possible.”

The recurring theme in the Customer Service Department is teamwork. They treat each other as a second family, but also as an additional resource when dealing with difficult situations.

“People call us for every single thing, from people who don’t know what to do with an alligator to others wanting to rent a pavilion; from what the movie is going to be this weekend to how to get a passport or driver’s license. We have to be on point and have all the information at our fingertips,” Senior Customer Service Representative Christina Fugarese said. “We get calls from everywhere and have so much to offer our residents. We like to wow all our callers and give them wonderful, outstanding Wellington service.”

Arocho has worked for the village for more than 14 years now, in several different departments. She finds her current work very different than when she started out reading water meters in the field.

“Customer service is a bit fast-paced, and you definitely have more responsibility,” Arocho said. “I think it’s because you’re dealing with customers firsthand and making sure that the image we portray is a good one.”

The Customer Service Department team is charged with knowing what all 300 Wellington employees do, otherwise routing calls to the correct person becomes a much slower task. Training remains important to the department, and future plans include finding more ways to better serve the community.

“We are in the process of putting in a training for crisis management so that not only is our call staff knowledgeable about the community, but they’ll also have the knowledge of how to handle those types of calls, too,” Arocho said.

Utilities Customer Service Representative Jashly Botex noted the differences in her past three years with Wellington compared to her experience working with other municipalities, particularly regarding the web site.

“I needed special training on the online system, especially things like troubleshooting with the customers. We will help them set up an online profile or autopay, and they have all other types of questions,” Botex said. “We must have such an understanding of the site and also be consistent both on the phone and in person. We learn to ask the right questions, to go above and beyond, even offering same-day service.”

With a staff that ranges from two to nearly 20 years working for Wellington, all take pride in developing solid, genuine relationships with residents.

“I get very few escalated phone calls because our representatives treat the customers how they want to be treated,” Lockhart said. “It’s also because when you give good, you get good. Our employees do that because they know they are treated well here, and it’s a great place to wake up in the morning and say, ‘I get to go to work, and it’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.’”

Both managers agree that working for a smaller, tight-knit community allows for excellent customer service.

“My favorite thing is the relationships that you form with residents — it’s a friendship more than a customer-type feeling here,” Arocho said.

Whether handling business tax inquiries, sharing information about public meetings and events, or helping customers solve problems with their homes, the consistency and commitment of Wellington’s Customer Service Department remains strong.

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Dr. Emily Harrison Uses Technology To Provide A More Personal Approach

Dr. Emily Harrison Uses Technology To Provide A More Personal Approach

Originally from New Jersey, Wellington’s Dr. Emily Harrison cares for patients the way she would want her own family members to be treated. She works to get to know her patients as individuals, and to develop an understanding of the cultural, spiritual, and social factors that may be contributing to the patient’s health concerns, all with technology and a personal touch.

Moving to the Wellington area three years ago, Harrison enjoys spending time outside of work with her family, being outdoors and running in the community’s many parks. She enjoys going to equestrian events with her family and cooking healthy meals.

“My passion for preventive care inspired me to go into primary care,” Harrison explained. “I enjoy working with patients to set personal goals to improve their health.”

Harrison helped start up the first One Medical office in Washington, D.C. The firm, which now has offices nationwide, is part of a new concept in healthcare across the country that focuses on a personal approach with a designated provider for each patient. The doctor/patient communication relationship is emphasized, and the access to the doctor is maximized while waits are kept to a minimum.

“It is almost like a concierge service, but they take insurance,” Harrison explained. “They treat patients personally, in a relaxed setting with lots of provider communication with the clients. I love that approach — with so much communication. I strive for it in my own practice.”

Harrison incorporates the patient’s entire lifestyle into treatment to get them healthy and keep them that way.

“I focus on educating my patients and setting personal goals to improve their health,” she said. “I stress the importance of incorporating diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications to prevent and treat disease.”

Harrison makes a point to get to know each of her patients very well to facilitate the overall treatment and wellness plan. Somewhat ironically, technology is helping in re-establishing that seemingly long-lost family doctor/patient rapport.

The medical practice has portal technology to make keeping up with medical records easy for the patient, and it has the ability for patients to communicate with the doctor using phones and computers without the need for an office visit.

“I offer telemedicine for established patients,” Harrison said of the HIPPA-compliant, secure computer video link for patients where she can interact with them and “see” the patient without the need for an office visit.

Harrison explained the benefits of the technology.

“It is sometimes difficult for patients to come in during their busy schedule and workdays, or they are too sick to get out of bed,” she said. “These visits may be used for colds or acute illnesses, as well as follow-up visits for high blood pressure or for prescription refills when appropriate.”

Harrison added that the service makes it easier to continue getting the appropriate follow-up care if the patient’s busy schedule, mobility issues or illness makes it difficult to come in.

Harrison said that she is happy to be building her practice here in Wellington and is accepting new patients.

“Wellington has so much to offer, whether experiencing an internationally recognized equestrian event, enjoying local parks or the beach, and events at the exceptional schools,” she said. “I enjoy taking care of patients of all ages and strive to keep the entire family healthy.”

Dr. Emily Harrison’s office is located on the campus of Wellington Regional Medical Center at 10111 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 255. The office accepts insurance and there is no subscription fee. Call (561) 377-7131 or visit www.emilyharrisonmd.com for more information.

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Spacious Homeland Estate Features High Ceilings And An Ultra-Modern Design

Spacious Homeland Estate Features High Ceilings And An Ultra-Modern Design

This picturesque, five-acre estate is located in the peaceful, gated equestrian community of Homeland, located just minutes from Wellington’s world-renowned equestrian venues. A total transformation was recently completed on the 7,600-square-foot home, giving the remodeled property a very modern, luxurious design.

Boasting six bedrooms and expansive bathrooms throughout, the property has a separate building for grooms’ living quarters, with more than 1,400 square feet of living space that includes an additional four bedrooms with ultra-sleek bathroom designs. Complete with a professionally designed jumper and dressage arena, no detail has been left undone. Additional equestrian amenities include eight paddocks and a 10-stall concrete block structure barn with tack and feed rooms.

The main house features an open, sunny floor plan with high, 22-foot ceilings in a 2,500-square-foot living room area surrounded by sliding glass doors opening out to a 4,000-square-foot wooden deck, two heated salt pools and an outdoor bar/grill area. The newly rebuilt home has a new, four-zone HVAC system, electric, plumbing, metal roof, kitchen, smart home system, elevator, movie theater, entertainment area with a pool table, bar, walk-in wine room and built-in coffee machine — all in an energy-efficient space.

The home was designed by Alex Timpy, who has been designing luxury homes for decades. She has designed many homes and has even lived in and sold several in her years as a designer. Each of the properties she is commissioned to work on gets its own unique look once complete. She breathes new life into each project she takes on. You will never see the same placement of furniture in any one arrangement, as each home has a different pattern to the layout, and Timpy arranges the furniture to adorn each room.

Although a designer, Timpy approaches each design through the lens of an owner, and she tries to incorporate what they love and showcase the features that they desire. This property is no different, as the large wood beams stretching throughout the first floor invoke the passion of the outdoors and a farm-like flair that surrounds this ultra-modern indoor style. While the aesthetic design took on a life of its own, there were also walls moved and rooms redesigned and reconfigured.

“The color palette jumped out at me immediately when I envisioned this home and its final result,” Timpy explained. “This home also screamed for a media room complete with movie theater and billiard room, as there will surely be a lot of entertaining going on here. With the wall opened up to the back and placement of surrounding glass sliding doors facing the beautiful lake, I had to definitely create an outdoor kitchen built as a chef’s dream, alongside a very modern fireplace that you can view from both sides.”

This home is located in paradise, and it is truly a one-of-a-kind dream estate.

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New Whit’s Frozen Custard Serving Up Smiles In A Cup

New Whit’s Frozen Custard Serving Up Smiles In A Cup

The newly opened Whit’s Frozen Custard in the Courtyard Shops of Wellington goes far beyond making tasty treats. The husband-and-wife proprietors, Chris and Natalie Mass, strive to bring the community together, while giving back along the way.

“We’d been looking at different markets to expand, and Wellington as a community really matches up with our core principals,” Chris Mass explained. “One of the things I learned early on is that we’re creating more than a customer experience. We’re creating memories.”

The thriving Ohio-based franchise was started by Natalie’s childhood best friend, Lisa, and her husband Chuck Whitman in 2003. The two started franchising in 2008, with expansion to Florida in 2015. Chris and Natalie Mass watched the progress, then decided it was time to open their own custard shop. They started in Stuart, and celebrated their Wellington grand opening on April 27, tantalizing the taste buds of customers with their different take on the frozen dessert.

“The difference between frozen custard and yogurt, first, is the amount of air, or overrun,” Chris Mass said. “Ice cream and yogurt have as much as 80 percent air in it. We have less than 20 percent, so we’re more dense.”

What also sets Whit’s apart from other frozen confection franchises is the small batch approach, using only the finest and freshest ingredients. It’s a daily process that starts about 3 hours before opening each day.

“First and foremost, we make the custard fresh every day,” Mass said. “We make three flavors in small batches. We continuously make it throughout the day, so it’s uber-fresh. We make a little bit, serve it, a little bit, serve it.”

Aside from vanilla and chocolate, Whit’s makes a flavor that changes daily. Along with a wide array of mix-ins, this allows guests to enjoy many combinations of the custard, which is softer than ice cream and firmer than yogurt.

“With less air, there’s a higher butterfat content,” Mass explained. “That’s actually a good kind of fat, so that gives it some of its creaminess. Then, we also use pasteurized, sweetened egg yolks, which makes for a richer version of other frozen desserts.”

The two biggest sellers are sundaes, as well as what they call “Whitsers.”

“Whitsers are where we add the toppings and blend it lightly to mix the toppings in it, but you still use a spoon,” Mass said. “We use the highest quality ingredients only.”

Toppings include fresh strawberries and blueberries, caramel, butterscotch, pecans and many more.

“The Whitmans, who started the franchise, gave us a book of 350-plus recipes for our daily flavors. We rotate new ones, but also make the favorites,” Director of Operations Amanda Bachman said.

The daily flavors run the gamut and include Maple Donut, Key Lime Pie, Bourbon Praline Pecan, Fluffer Nutter Cookie and many more. A calendar hangs on the wall, mapping out each flavor of the day for the month. The flavors, along with their descriptions, are posted on Facebook each day as well, so customers can plan their visits. There also are vegan options, made with coconut milk.

Prices start at $3.75 for a 5-ounce kids’ scoop, to a 22-ounce large Whitser for $8.75. The owners also find it extremely important to give back, including incentive programs and partnerships with schools, with what they call the “Scooper Star Award.” That’s where a student who does a good deed is rewarded with a certificate for a free single scoop, or $2 toward any other menu item.

“It’s for elementary and middle school students where they get a free kids’ scoop,” Mass said. “I distribute the certificates to administrators, free of charge, and I ask them to reward children who are being kind, generous and thoughtful. When they come into the store, we make a big deal out of it. They get to tell us what they did or what their accomplishment was.”

Creating job opportunities for young people is also important.

“We hire as young as 14 to 15. We have shift leaders who are 17 and 18 years old,” Mass said. “It gives them experience in the workforce. I’ve had some go off to college and write me to tell me how it has helped to prepare them for their future.”

Mass also extends discounts to groups within the community. In July, all healthcare industry workers and their families received 10 percent off their total. In August, its chamber members and their families. Throughout the entire summer, anyone who works for the school district gets 10 percent off their bill.

They also offer a loyalty program, where customers earn 10 percent off toward their next visit every five times they check-in. They can bank it until they have as much as 50 percent off. “It’s based on visits, not amount spent,” Mass noted.

Whit’s also features hand-packed quarts sold in their grab-and-go freezer, as well as frozen custard cakes. There’s as many as 30 different recipes that can be custom-made starting at $25. The most popular is the Buckeye Madness, which is made with peanut butter, fudge and Reese’s cups.

Mass and his wife have plans to eventually expand to Port St. Lucie and Jupiter. As for the new location, he is striving to make it a community gathering place for making memories for years to come. “Our goal is not to be in Wellington for a couple of years, but decades, so families can come for generations,” he said.

Open Monday through Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m., Whit’s Frozen Custard is located at 13880 Wellington Trace in the Courtyard Shops at the corner of Wellington Trace and Greenview Shores Blvd., next to Tijuana Flats. For more info., call (561) 855-2500 or visit www.facebook.com/whitsofwellington.

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Service Is The Key To Keith Jordano’s Success As An Independent Insurance Agent

Service Is The Key To Keith Jordano’s Success As An Independent Insurance Agent

Being available to listen is a key to the success of Keith Jordano’s 30-plus career as an independent insurance agent. Recently, the Jordano Insurance Group, the firm he founded and leads, expanded its services to assist with home and auto insurance coverage as well.

Originally from New Orleans, Jordano moved with his insurance firm, founded in 1993, to the western communities 20 years ago.

“When I first went into the insurance business, my manager told me not to give out my cell and personal phone number,” Jordano recalled. “I told him the day I could not be accessible to my clients was the day I should not be in the business.”

This is a goal that he has kept his focus on ever since.

“I’ve made myself available for my clients when they need me. Most insurance agencies all sell the same companies’ [products] at the same price, as the providing insurance company sets the price. The difference is the service,” Jordano explained. “We are here because of our clients, mentors and family.”

He noted other areas that Jordano feels set him apart from his competition, such as “listening to the client and working with them to find their needs with a personal touch.” 

The cliché about an agent who can “sell snow to an Eskimo” is the story of a terrible agent, Jordano remarked.

“To sell them the right heater or blanket is to find their needs and sell them based on that,” Jordano said. “We listen and try to place clients where they are protected at a price they can afford. We try to cover our clients with a blanket of protection.”

On April 1, 1999, Jordano resettled in the western communities after traveling all over the eastern United States.

“It may have been April Fools’ Day, but we got the last laugh,” Jordano said. “After 20 years, we are going strong and growing our footprint of products and services. We travel around the United States and meet people from all walks of life, occupations, social and economic status, and we have learned how to listen to their diverse needs.”

While Jordano’s firm previously focused on varieties of life insurance and health insurance, he now offers a more comprehensive array of services.

“The Jordano Insurance Group represents home, auto and motorcycle insurance; Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans; as well as individual and group health and benefit packages,” Jordano said. “We try to get to what our clients really need and lead them to where to find it.”

Jordano stressed that the benefit of his firm is truly listening to each client’s needs.

“Whatever plan they need, we make them feel protected, safe and still have money to feed their family,” Jordano explained.

Jordano and his wife Lois have three grown children: Melissa, 36; Robin, 35; and Adam, 31. He described his hobbies as gardening, sports, charity work and community involvement.

An active member of the Rotary clubs in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, as well as the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, Jordano has served as a board member and officer in all of them, even being named small business of the year, as well as being named to the industry’s Health Underwriters Soaring Eagle membership and leading producers roundtable.

“Living in the western communities has been one of the best moves our family has made,” Jordano said. “We have many friends, with many of them starting as clients. I’ve tried to make all my clients feel like a friend and mean it. Our community is safe and friendly with lots to do. It is a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The Jordano Insurance Group is available online at www.jordanogroup.com, where there is an option to reach out for a quote. Jordano can be reached via e-mail at keith@jordanogroup.com or through his cell phone at (561) 307-2622. For specific information on life and health insurance, call (561) 333-6228. For auto and home insurance questions, call (561) 225-2659.

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Bowen Realty’s Paris Lynn Addington Brings Her Clients A Lifetime Of Local Experience

Bowen Realty’s Paris Lynn Addington Brings Her Clients A Lifetime Of Local Experience

Paris Lynn Addington of Bowen Realty is well-versed in the day-to-day life of area residents. She lives here and has spent a majority of her life in Palm Beach County. However, her story began on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I was an army brat, born in Paris, France,” she recalled. “My father decided to name me after that beautiful place. We left Paris when I was six months old.” 

Addington’s family relocated from the City of Lights to South Florida while she was still in diapers. 

“I have lived here most of my life,” Addington said. “I graduated in 1981 from John I. Leonard High School. I’ve lived in Royal Palm Beach, Wellington and Loxahatchee, and I know the western communities very well. I have watched Wellington develop from the beginning, from just a few golf courses and homes to the thriving community it is today. My kids have attended school in the Wellington and Loxahatchee areas.”

She headed west for a while before returning to Palm Beach County.

“I’ve spent the last nine years in Dallas, Texas, where we have some family,” Addington said. “We moved back last year to be with our growing family and couldn’t be happier to be home again.”

Addington entered the real estate field for reasons that are both personal and professional.

“I decided to get into real estate because I genuinely love the area and the people and have family in the business,” she said. “I specialize in finding homes that people will love, and that includes either buying or renting.”

Of course, when the time comes to leave their home, Addington is sympathetic to the emotions that situation conjures up.

“I also understand that people’s homes are their pride and joy, as well as one of their biggest investments,” she said. “I will work hard to market their home when the time comes to sell.”

Not only is Addington happy with her career choice, she’s glad to be working for a company that supports her and provides the tools necessary to enhance her performance.

“Working for Bowen Realty truly benefits all of our clients, either buying or selling,” she said. “We offer many years of experience and offices all over Palm Beach County and Port Saint Lucie. We use the latest marketing tools available and can market homes on many platforms.”

The future for buyers, sellers and renters looks bright.

“I believe that the real estate market in Palm Beach County, specifically in the western communities, will continue to grow and prosper,” Addington said. “With so many people moving to Florida, our economy continues to expand and strengthen. After all, who doesn’t want to live in paradise?”

Addington has seen many parts of the nation, but it is Wellington and the surrounding areas that she holds most dear.

“In my opinion, the western communities are the best places to live,” she said. “It has fantastic schools, shopping, dining, world-famous equestrian facilities and everything you could possibly need. It’s great for young people just starting out. From young families to senior citizens, there is something for everyone.”

Paris Lynn Addington is based out of the Bowen Realty office at 1168 Royal Palm Blvd. For more information, call (561) 301-1289 or e-mail pladdington@hotmail.com.

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Patients Benefit From Award-Winning Wound Therapy Program In Wellington

Patients Benefit From Award-Winning Wound Therapy Program In Wellington

C It was a simple MRI to determine the cause of pain in Cindy Johnson’s left shoulder. No big deal; this was not Johnson’s first experience with an MRI or healthcare services. As a two-time breast cancer survivor and an amputee of her right hand, she has become a bit of an expert when it comes to healthcare. Zip in, zip out — find the source of the pain and quickly start treatment.

As part of the preparation for her eventual hand prosthetic, Johnson was wearing a mesh compression sleeve on her right arm. She was required to wear it for the majority of the day, and she was looking forward to receiving the prosthetic and regaining some use of a right hand. However, it was not long after the MRI started at a local radiology center that she noticed something was not quite right.

“A few minutes into the MRI, I felt pain in my right arm and thought, ‘I should not be having pain’ but decided to endure it since it was only going to be for a few minutes,” Johnson said. “But when the MRI was completed, it was obvious something was not right.”

Her right arm was blistered and had second- and third-degree burns above her right elbow. It turns out that the compression sleeve had silver threads woven into the fabric, and those reacted with the MRI, resulting in the burns to her arm. The burns were significant enough that she would need wound care therapy to heal.

However, this is the point where she considers herself a bit “lucky” to be a breast cancer survivor. She had met Dr. Kathleen Minnick, who served as the medical advisor for her breast cancer support group and is the co-medical director of the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. Little did Johnson know at the time that meeting Minnick at the support group would eventually be very important to her own health because, in May 2018, Johnson was found unconscious and facedown at her home.

It is not known how long, but Johnson was on the floor an estimated three or four days before she was found. The resulting wounds included five significant pressure ulcers on her face, right thigh, left knee, right ankle and her right chest. In addition, her right hand was under her body during the entire time, and the damage was too significant to be repaired. The hand had to be amputated.

Because of her previous relationship with Minnick from the support group, Johnson chose to have wound therapy treatment for the hand amputation and the pressure ulcers at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

So, when facing wound care again after the MRI burn, she returned to the wound treatment center that always treated her like an old friend and had such great success.

“I chose to come back to the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center because of the success of my first wound care experience,” Johnson said. “It is such a friendly place. Everybody there knows me and treats me like family. I am very appreciative of what they have done for me.”

Having completed her treatments for the MRI burn, the wound care center recently held a “graduation ceremony” for Johnson, which included a graduation hat and tassel.

In contrast to Johnson’s treatments to heal wounds from a traumatic injury, John Shore was being treated at the wound center in an attempt to prevent the amputation of his right toe. Shore, a Type 2 diabetic, originally cut his toe on rocks after swimming in the ocean. He was not too worried. After all, it was not much more than a scratch. But, as a diabetic, the risk of complications from wounds on the foot are significantly higher — and his scratch eventually turned into a dangerous wound that not only risked his toe, but his entire foot.

“After seeing my doctor, I was immediately admitted to Wellington Regional Medical Center because the wound on my toe was so significant,” Shore recalled. “I was given the option to amputate the toe or try wound care in an attempt to save it. After meeting the team at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center, I choose wound care to try and save my toe.”

Shore’s wound was so significant, he had to start emergency treatment that same day. Unlike Johnson, Shore was a candidate for the center’s hyperbaric chamber. With hyperbaric treatments, a patient is placed in a chamber that is pressurized to the equivalent of going about 49 feet under the surface of the ocean. Inside the chamber, Shore breathes 100 percent pure oxygen, which is carried by his blood to the wound to help promote the body’s natural wound-healing functions. A patient usually receives about 40 treatments, Monday through Friday, each lasting between 90 and 120 minutes.

Shore is 14 treatments into his program and has already seen significant results and said his doctor is amazed at the results so far.

“The care here has been absolutely phenomenal,” Shore said. “I can’t picture going any other place. It is more than just medical care here. The staff is wonderful, and they treat me like family. Five minutes into meeting them for the first time, we were laughing like we had known each other our entire lives.”

The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center recently received the distinguished Center of the Year award. More than 600 centers had the opportunity to qualify for the award, but only six centers received the recognition. In order to qualify, stringent quality measures must be met, such as high levels of healing outcomes, low days to heal and excellent patient satisfaction rates. The recognition is a reflection of the program achieving quality patient care and clinical outcomes.

In addition, the center was also awarded the prestigious President’s Circle award in recognition for outstanding performance in the areas of patient satisfaction and wound care. To earn the distinction, Wellington Regional Medical Center’s wound care center achieved patient satisfaction rates higher than 92 percent and a healing rate of at least 91 percent in less than 30 median days to heal, for a minimum of two consecutive years.

“The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center continues to provide advanced treatment therapies for our patients,” Minnick said. “It is an honor for our team to be nationally recognized by Healogics for our quality, and patients who choose our program for their care can be confident that they have access to the most current treatment protocols and therapies.”

Dr. Arthur Hansen, co-medical director at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, agreed. “We have known for some time that Wellington Regional’s elite wound care program ranks among the best in the nation,” he said. “This designation is an indication of the medical team’s commitment to providing the best possible wound care services in the country.”

To learn more about the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center,  call (561) 753-2680 or visit www.wellingtonregional.com/services/wound-care.

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Support Group For Families Navigating Mental Illness Now Meeting in Wellington

Support Group For Families Navigating Mental Illness Now Meeting in Wellington

Four decades ago, two mothers gathered together in Wisconsin, thirsting for mutual understanding and in desperate need of empathy and support. Each woman had a child suffering from schizophrenia, and from small beginnings around a kitchen table, the National Alliance on Mental Illness — or NAMI — was created.

The purpose of the organization is to support families of those with mental illnesses by providing education, advocacy and support, striving to see families and their loved ones sail smoothly through stormy seas.

Now, a NAMI family support group has arrived in Wellington.

Since its conception in 1979, NAMI has grown to an organization consisting of 1,000 affiliates nationwide, with the Wellington group falling under the umbrella of NAMI Palm Beach County.

While the national nonprofit is currently based in Virginia, it is constantly establishing and equipping affiliate branches around the country. These individual branches then continue to organize family support groups within their respective areas, the newest in Palm Beach County being the Wellington group.

The members began their monthly meetings in March of this year, meeting at Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 30 at 9610 Stribling Way. They continue to meet at the same location, beginning at 3 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month. Each meeting is different, but they all center around the encouragement and support of family members of individuals with mental illnesses.

This isn’t the first NAMI group that has attempted to set sail in Wellington. According to Katherine Murphy, the director of programs for NAMI Palm Beach County, there was a Wellington group that tried to start up a few years ago, but it never earned its sea legs. That’s when Tracy Bem stepped forward.

While Bem had frequented the previous Wellington group, she started getting more involved with NAMI. “I started hooking up with the NAMI group and taking all the classes again, and I realized the need for a support group out in the western communities,” Bem said. “That’s when I talked to them, and I took the training so that I could do it, because it definitely meets needs.”

There is a significant stigma surrounding people struggling with mental health issues. Both Bem and Murphy emphasized the importance of experienced and empathetic help when dealing with the issues of loving somebody with a mental illness.

“When you have somebody with a mental illness, you need a resource,” Bem said. “You need people with the same situation.”

Murphy noted that people without an accepting and understanding community may have a lower chance of caring for their loved one as effectively as individuals who do have this type of support system. “If families are isolated, alone, they don’t have resources, they don’t have support,” Murphy said. “They might not have that endurance to continue to support their loved ones.”

According to Murphy, the hope is that these NAMI family support groups can reinforce the family members and provide them with helpful tools and resources to press on.

Bem added that people who don’t have a loved one with a mental illness don’t understand the frequent difficulties of the situation. Bem compared the seriousness of mental health conditions to that of a disease like cancer. Unless people see mental illness as an actual — often deadly — disease, she said, they tend to think the family member is merely going about things the wrong way.

“They blame it on you, but when it’s a mental illness, you need somebody who totally understands it to share with,” Bem said. “So that is a huge need. I mean, there should be a support group every day of the week.”

NAMI, according to Murphy, works to educate the family members on the best ways to communicate with a mentally ill family member.

“Sometimes, if we don’t have training in communication or different techniques, different ways to work around things, we might not have the whole toolkit,” Murphy said. “One of the things about NAMI, the family support group, and everything we try to do, is to empower families and to give them the tools and resources. There’s the emotional support, but then there’s also the very concrete tips and tricks.”

Each family support group facilitator goes through a two-day training of the NAMI model and guidelines, and they are all volunteers who are loved ones of a person with mental illness.

“What we offer at NAMI is the ‘lived experience,’ so our groups aren’t led by clinicians, they’re led by family members,” Murphy said. “It’s family members speaking to other family members — people who understand what it’s like to sit in the waiting room, people who understand what it’s like to have to call 911 when times get tough, and people who know what it’s like to go on that journey.”

For this reason, NAMI considers itself a complement to clinical care and not a replacement for it.

Along with the family support groups, NAMI provides services such as NAMI Connection, a group for people with mental health conditions, as well as mentoring programs, mingling activities and more.

Everything NAMI offers is free-of-charge, Murphy noted.

“NAMI’s goal is to help the family to be there for the long term,” Murphy said. “We want to provide them with the tools, support and resources to continue to support their loved one for the rest of their life.”

If you have a loved one struggling with a mental illness, or if you would like to learn more about NAMI Palm Beach County programs, call (561) 588-3477 or visit www.namipbc.org.

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Exercise Is Medicine Fighting Physical Inactivity Is Crucial In Modern America

Exercise Is Medicine Fighting Physical Inactivity Is Crucial In Modern America

“Sitting is the new smoking” and “exercise is medicine.” Those were two of the big-picture thoughts which I shared with the Rotary Club of Wellington on Thursday, June 13. On that day, I discussed the national issue of physical inactivity during this gathering of Wellington community leaders.

In addition to writing for Wellington The Magazine, I also serve as the director of communications for PHIT America, a national nonprofit group working to reverse the current “inactivity pandemic” in the United States. I have also spent more than 30 years working in the communications sector of the sporting goods and fitness industry.

Right now, this “inactivity pandemic” impacts the lives of 81.7 million Americans. The issue of physical inactivity negatively impacts healthcare costs, academic achievement and military readiness.

During my recent presentation, I shared a number of facts about the magnitude of the physical inactivity problem in America. I could tell by the expressions on the faces of the Rotarians that they were surprised by the depth of physical inactivity in the U.S.

How bad is the state of physical inactivity in the U.S.? According to the Physical Activity Council, nearly 82 million Americans are physically inactive. This is largely driven by America’s sedentary lifestyles, which has prompted many medical doctors in the U.S. to declare that “sitting is the new smoking,” and the medicinal benefits of exercise are so strong that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses the mantra “exercise is medicine.”

Sadly, 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. Parents and other adults must get physically active during their free time. You can’t sweat on the Internet, so start by putting down cell phones and turning off laptops. Then, they will be free to lead family fitness sessions in their neighborhoods, after dinner on weekdays and during the weekends.

Adults must get physically active for their own benefit, and they must serve as role models for their children, as physical inactivity is affecting the vast majority of young people in the U.S. In fact, less than 10 percent of children ages 6 to 17 are physically active to healthy standards, according to the CDC.

To further confirm the importance of parents and grandparents serving as fitness role models for their children and grandchildren, there is a recent study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine that examined fitness levels of children from 50 different countries. Sadly, the results of the study revealed that U.S. children ranked 47th in global fitness. Overall, American children are just not physically fit. Kids, too, need to put down their cell phones and take a break from their tablets.

To get started on the path to physical activity, you don’t even have to leave your desk. There are five simple forms of exercise that don’t require any kind of equipment or athletic experience. They are called “deskercizes.” They can be performed at home, at work or at school.

  • Paper Pushups — With your arms outstretched, while grabbing the edge of your desk, lean at 45 degrees and start doing pushups. Consider 20 every hour on the hour.
  • Book Press — Pick up the heaviest book that you can hold with both hands. Then, extend the book above your head, and then lower it down behind your neck. This will help your triceps.
  • Shoulder Blade Squeezes — To improve your hunched posture, stand up and squeeze your shoulder blades back and forth. Hold the squeeze on your shoulder blades for 10 seconds.
  • Chair Squats — Stand a few inches from the edge of your chair, lower yourself until you are seated in your chair, stretch out your arms parallel to the ground and keep your back straight.
  • Standing Calf Raises — While grabbing the back of your chair, put your feet together, and get up on your tippy toes. This process strengthens your calf muscles.

Physical inactivity in the U.S. is having a major impact on military readiness. Believe it or not, but the U.S. Army went on record with PHIT America in 2017 to produce an op-ed to address physical inactivity in the U.S. In U.S. Army & PHIT America Respond To Obesity News: National Defense Is At Risk If Physical Inactivity Is Not Reversed, the U.S. Army made a plea to U.S. education leaders to bring back daily physical education to schools because too many military recruits coming out of high school are not physically fit, and, therefore, not capable of making it through boot camp without getting injured because their bodies are not used to basic levels of physical activity.

Learn more about how fighting the “inactivity pandemic” at www.phitamerica.org.

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From Soil to Oil Oliver’s Harvest Brings Natural CBD Oil To Wellington

From Soil to Oil Oliver’s Harvest Brings Natural CBD Oil To Wellington

Longtime Wellington residents Frank and Herta Suess are ahead of the curve in the trending field of CBD oil. Oliver’s Harvest, the two-year-old company named after their son, is dedicated to bringing a natural product to people looking for a safe option for treating a variety of issues from pain and inflammation to insulin control.

The variety of products available is impressive. Herbal supplements help with specific issues, such as joint support, sleeping issues and blood glucose management for Type 2 diabetics. Tinctures are concentrated CBD oils that provide more broad-spectrum support for general wellness.

“CBD with melatonin — I take that,” said Frank Suess, who has used CBD oil since before starting this venture. “I used to take Lorazepam, which is a prescription and addictive. I switched to our product, and it works well. With the Lorazepam, you need time to wake up, but with this, I felt rested and not drowsy.”

Suess has been involved in the healthcare industry through his Wellington-based businesses for decades, so it was a natural fit to base Oliver’s Harvest here as well.

Early on, Suess realized that while his pharmacist’s recommendations were solid, to develop a full product line, he needed an expert. So, he brought in a biomedical researcher to keep them on the cutting edge of the field. That is when Jamila Mammadova joined the team as the company’s research and development director.

“We want to refer to scientific data behind everything we claim,” Mammadova said. “We have studies on rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, pain sensitivity, insulin sensitivity for Type 2 diabetes and social anxiety. Currently, there is a clinical trial going on in Israel for inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Currently, there is no cure for these chronic diseases, and people are just living with it. They need an anti-inflammatory that will be able to calm down the body’s response, and CBD does exactly that.”

CBD — which stands for cannabidiol — can also be purchased in treats like gummies and honey sticks. These offer full-body effects and an energy boost.

“That’s one of the huge advantages of CBD — it does not have side effects. It doesn’t make one nauseous, it doesn’t numb your emotional responsiveness,” Mammadova explained. “You can’t damage your liver if you take it long term, and you can’t overdose with CBD. Because it’s such a natural product, it is safe for consumption.”

The company uses one source for its hemp-based CBD oil — a farm located in North Carolina where the Suess sons Oliver and Marcus work in the business. The hemp is grown, and the oil extracted, in the same facility.

“We want to control the quality,” Suess said. “Oliver does the bulk shipping from up there, and Marcus runs the extraction facility, which is like a brewery for CBD.”

Considering the connection between hemp and the soil, knowing where and how the product is grown and managed is vital.

“The quality of the soil is so important because hemp absorbs everything in the soil. It used to be used to clean the soil from contaminates. That means that anything in the soil becomes part of the plant, and what is in the plant becomes part of the extract,” Mammadova explained. “That’s why you want to keep soil as clean as possible for growing hemp. We also send out samples to an ISO-accredited third party for lab tests, ensuring that the product is high quality.”

Another popular CBD oil product is a line of pain creams specifically designed for tackling localized pain. Creams are combined with either lidocaine or capsaicin to treat pain in two ways.

“Lidocaine and capsaicin are analgesics that will numb the pain for short-term relief. The CBD component goes into the source of the pain and reduces inflammation to keep it from coming back. This is both short- and long-term pain treatment,” Mammadova said. “Capsaicin has additional properties. It is a neuroprotectant. That means it prevents nerves from being damaged. That works well for diabetic neuropathy or for any kind of pain that comes from nerve damage, like sciatic nerve pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.”

For many people, pets are family members who deserve the best of care, like any of their human relatives. Oliver’s Harvest has a line of products to help animals, including dogs, cats and even birds cope with pain and anxiety.

“It actually works faster with pets,” Mammadova said. “They have more receptors that will respond to CBD, so at the first dose, we see results.”

Helping both people and animals is important to the company.

“It fits in with the medical supplies because we already had pet supplies. We have glucometers for diabetic pets, for example. So, it was a natural extension,” Suess said. “We participate in the Noble Paws program, too. For every product that we sell for a pet, we donate a product to a rescue facility.”

Pet products for inflammation, arthritic pain and anxiety come in bacon-flavored tinctures or supplements and peanut butter. The latter is a tasty favorite of dogs that provides a broad-spectrum, full-body effect.

The company is working on additional products, such as a special supplement that combines 10 herbs with CBD to combat anxiety and stress, and another designed for PMS symptoms, including mood swings and cramps. They are also bringing in cigars made with CBD flowers.

CBD oil from hemp comes from the same family of plants that produce marijuana, but there is a key difference.

“The difference between these products and medical marijuana is the THC,” Mammadova said, referring to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. “That will impact your functionality through the day because you feel high, you feel euphoric. You do not get those feelings by ingesting CBD; you only get the relief.”

Suess understands the concern of many professionals, including police officers, firefighters and truck drivers, to name a few. He stressed that CBD will not impact them in a negative way.

“We are even working with somebody who is developing CBD to treat addicts. Many addicts get started on opioids because of pain. High-strength CBD works for pain,” Suess said. “There are now quite a few trials going on because CBD is non-addictive. So, you can give CBD to help get addicts off pain medications.”

The Oliver’s Harvest factory outlet store is located at 3361 Fairlane Farms Road in Wellington. The doors are open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but staff is always happy to answer questions and take orders over the phone and online.

Drop by the warehouse in person and receive a 10 percent discount on your purchase.

For more information about CBD oil products from Oliver’s Harvest, call (866) 634-3134 or visit www.oliversharvest.com.

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