In an effort to keep up with the fellows who contribute to our seminars and our tool development, Ida recently reached out to Trevor Menchenton, who participated in our first seminar series, which yielded the Patient Journey tool.
Trevor is an excellent example of a clinician who has integrated counseling into his practice with great success. He is now the co-owner – along with his wife – of Audiocorp in New Brunswick, Canada. They purchased their company in 2011 and now have five clinics, and are continuing to hire new audiologists and front-of-house staff. Trevor is currently working on his AuD, and continues to see a full load of clients.
Trevor’s interest in person-centered care began early in his career.
“When I started practicing, I designed and implemented an individualized approach to aural rehab,” he says. “All the aural rehab training we’d received was through group sessions. I was extremely busy at my clinic and it was frustrating that I couldn’t implement those things with each individual patient, so I designed a new protocol to do it.”
Years later, a person-centered counseling protocol is still the backbone of his practice, and what all of his clinicians follow. The process, which he attributes a 99% success rate to, involves six appointments, rolling out information slowly, and lots of repetition.
“We focus a lot on taking the process from very simple to becoming more and more complex, involving the family as much as possible,” he says. This can mean waiting until second and third appointments to explain volume controls and wax guards to his clients, giving them time to adjust to handling their hearing aids first.
The first four appointments with a client involve a lot of repetition. “It all started with this idea that patients only remember 50% of what you tell them, and only 50% of that is accurate,” says Trevor. “The first thing that I started with was making sure that I had four appointments where I told them the same thing four different times and modeled it.”
These visits also involve focusing on patient concerns in order to resolve any difficulties. “To address any specific areas of concern, I created my own modified COSI of 10 different scenarios that they have to keep notes on,” says Trevor. “In each appointment, we’re addressing those things to ensure that by the end of the fourth appointment we’ve really homed in and taken care of as many of the problems as we can. [It’s also] a visual for the patient to show where we began and where we’ve gone, like a Patient Journey idea.”
This approach also extends beyond the appointment. Audiocorp has 18 different handouts to send clients home with at different phases. The handouts cover practical information about hearing loss, what clients should expect from their journey, the different hearing aids the clinicians fit, and more complex concepts like neuroplasticity and the advantages of using amplification. Audiocorp’s front-of-house staff trained in person-centered methods, and the website has further resources for clients to refer to.
If the client isn’t satisfied with the product at the end of their six-month trial, Trevor will give them a different hearing and start the process all over again.
“When I go through the process, if a person’s not completely successful, then I don’t let them keep the hearing aids. I say, ‘Let me try something different because I can do better.’”
The method of focusing on clients and not selling products is successful with his audiologists. Trevor makes a point of hiring employees who are committed to counseling and person-centered practices.
“For me, everything is based upon patient satisfaction. If someone has no sales for a month but they have 100% happy patients, I’m okay with that. My audiologists know that,” he says. “Our main focus is in the care aspect of it. What we say is, ‘Take care of people, the business will take care of itself.’ I make sure that anybody I hire has the exact same mentality. All our staff has been with us for more than two years consecutively, so everybody’s happy, and I think that really shows.”
Trevor is continuing his commitment to AR and person-centered care through his studies for his AuD. He’s pleased with how familiar the content of his assignments have been.
“Right now I’m studying audiologic counseling by Clark and English. What was super cool was to see the Patient Journey, that model we created, is actually a diagram in our book. It’s interesting to see it come full circle.”