Advisory Board Profile- Britteni Salerno, CEO and Owner

The Private Duty Home Care Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring you, our members, are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families.

In our recurring Advisory Board Profile series we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community.

Last week, we introduced you to Summer Napier, CEO and Owner of Healing Hands Healthcare, Little Black Bag House Calls, and Healing Hands Primary Care. This week, we have the pleasure of sharing a little more with you about our Advisory Board Chair, Brittnei Solerno, the President and CEO of La Jolla Nurses Homecare

Tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met.  

We provide nursing and aide level care to patients in the comfort and safety of their own homes. The care can be provided for a few hours or around the clock, depending on the needs of the patient.

Tell me about how you ended up working in private duty home care. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?  

My mother founded our agency in 1977.  She had a pioneer’s vision in recognizing an unmet need for private duty home care services in the San Diego community.  She hired me years later to answer the phones when the office was closed.  This was my job through college. I learned a lot about the business dealing with the middle of the night emergencies.  After graduation, I left the position to relocate to Europe for several months.  I intended to go into a different industry upon my return, but my plans were derailed when my mother had a sudden opening in the office.  Having previous experience with the after-hours position, I was quickly drafted into service.  Although it was meant to be a temporary position, while working in the office I soon became hooked on the art and the science of staffing private duty home care.  The more I learned, the more intrigued I became with what was a little known but growing industry.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?  

In the early years, it was most rewarding to work with my mother.  It allowed me to see and appreciate her in a new way, through the eyes of the business community. Those are treasured memories.  Throughout the years, the most fulfilling part of my job has been the relationships formed on all levels, with staff, patients and colleagues.  Private duty is rather unique from other health care providers in that our patient relationships are often long term.  One of our patients has been on service for fifteen years. We have staff who have worked here over a quarter of a century.   These relationships, along with some deep friendships fostered with colleagues the industry, are priceless to me.

Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?

Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of regulations governing home care.  Sometimes it feels like a full-time job.

What Is your favorite memory working in Private Duty? Why?  

Every patient situation is unique and memorable in its own way, but my favorite memory is probably assisting with the set-up of care for a former first lady.  My Director of Patient Care and I met with the patient’s advance team prior to her arrival.  While my DPC reviewed the clinical set up in the patient’s room, I met with a team of secret service agents, who instructed me on various security protocols.  They had me test the remote alarm our nurses would keep on them at all times.  Once I engaged the alarm, secret service agents flooded in from all entries within seconds.  It was quite impressive.  The former first lady was a lovely patient, always appreciative of her care and intensely interested in politics, even in her final years.

What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?  

Especially now during a pandemic, it is the safety of our patients and employees.  Both parties deserve our utmost attention to their safekeeping.

What made you first get involved with NAHC and PDHCA?  

I first attended the annual conference. I was amazed by the size of the event, the high caliber of speakers and the fun events.  Then I attended the March on Washington.  On day one, we were ushered into a room in The Russel Senate Office Building.  It is a very historic and majestic building in the Senate.  I was amazed to see a stream of Senators come to speak to us with an obvious knowledge of home care.  At least ten percent of the senate attended, and they all understood who we were. It was clear this association has tremendous clout in Washington, DC.  That matters to me as a member.  I want the fiercest, most experienced representation available.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a NAHC/PDHCA member?  

I would say NAHC/PDHCA is definitely the right choice.  It is the oldest national association representing home care interests.  Its staff is at the top of their field in legislative and regulatory advocacy. It offers high quality education as well as a wide range of member engagement opportunities within many specialized committees and workgroups.  

What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty home care?

I would tell them there are tremendous opportunities in the world of private duty home care, either working as a clinician or in the administrative side of the business.  I’ve seen countless examples of aides coming to work for us then climbing the career ladder to LVN or RN.  It’s a great way for someone considering the nursing profession to get a realistic view from the inside.  One of our managers started with us over 20 years ago as an aide who wanted to try working on the administrative side of the business.  With continued training, she has risen in our ranks over the years and is now a top manager in our company.  Finally, private duty has proven itself to be tenacious.  It is one of those sectors that seem to be largely recession proof and pandemic proof.  

On behalf of everyone at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, we thank Brittnei  for her detailed and candid responses. We are grateful to have you as our chair and distinguished member of the PD Advisory Board and thank you for your dedication, commitment and passion to the Private Duty home care industry.