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Written by: Michelle Caldwell on Friday, December 18, 2015 Posted in: Acute Care Rehab, Inpatient Rehab, Other, Outpatient Rehab

Over the past several years, your inbox was likely filled with blogs written by Mediware Senior Consultant Darlene D’Altorio-Jones. We are saddened to pass along the news that Darlene, our dear friend and colleague, passed away Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015.

As many of you know, Darlene was a caring and loving person who often went the extra mile to help others. Whether you were a friend, coworker, customer or a stranger on the internet looking for help, Darlene was the first one to lend a hand, kind word or dive a mile deep into the facts. And she went above and beyond to provide the resources to back up the information. She was thorough, thoughtful and a kind soul.

If you worked with her during a C.O.R.E. visit, talked with her at a trade show, attended her user conference presentations, read her blogs or listened in on her webinars, you knew her passion extended far beyond just a “job.” Day in and day out, she was an advocate for therapists and physicians working in rehabilitation units across the country. She was relentless in getting the answers you needed.

Darlene was a book of knowledge when it came to the rehabilitation therapy industry. The IRFPAI Manual and Proposed Rule and Final Rule were hundreds of pages long, and Darlene read each and every page for us year after year. When a regulation had the potential to change payment, or a rule was in jeopardy because of Congressional actions and the world needed to reach out to their legislators – and right away – she made sure we got the news out. She was the voice for so many in the rehabilitation world.

While dealing with her own challenges, her passion never stopped; she continued to write blogs and respond to emails and phone calls – that was just in her nature – helping others. It was just weeks ago that she sent an email to the team making sure we attended a vendor webinar – and then ensured our team followed up with the presenters to develop the information into marketing material. Her positive attitude and optimism never wavered.

Our clients honored her with the Susan M. Turley award in 2013, an award that honors a past MediServe employee

Darlene D'Altorio-Jones (right) was awarded the Susan M. Turley award. She shared the honor that year with colleague, Lisa Skorka.

Darlene D’Altorio-Jones (right) was awarded the Susan M. Turley award. She shared the honor that year with colleague, Lisa Skorka.

who lost her battle with cancer and who showed the same zest for life as Darlene.  One client wrote this in her nomination: “Darlene is clearly passionate about her job… you ask a question and she’s on it for the answer. You see, Darlene doesn’t just see it as a way of helping clients out, but she also sees it as a way to educate herself… she’s an exceptional person with a passion for lifelong learning.” But Darlene, it was us who learned so much from you.

From her love of Mimi’s muffins (which she spoiled the office with on many occasions) to the pounds of holiday goodies she brought in for the company cookie exchange and the stories about her beloved bird and dog, the visits from her family and new adventures in Arizona to the thoughtful cards she left on our desks, we treasure and hold close the many memories.

Her presence in the office, on the internet and, quite frankly, in our industry, will be missed. Our general manager, Stuart Foster, said it best: “If you knew Darlene at all, you know she would have thanked us for being her work family and sent us many ‘blessings.’ Darlene, with much love and many blessings, may you finally rest in peace.”

Many have asked if a memorial has been established. Darlene requested that memorials be directed to A Better Chance (ABC), a program that offers scholarships to underserved children in order to give them access to higher education. Darlene was awarded a scholarship to that very organization. More information can be found on a web page created by family members, where you can also share your memories.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Darlene’s family, her husband Larry and her children.

-Michelle Caldwell, Stuart Foster & the Mediware family

This Post Has 17 Comments
  1. Darlene was a wonderful and passionate woman and was a wealth of knowledge. She will truly be missed by those of us in Wisconsin at Aspirus. Darlene was always ready and willing to assist us and answer our questions. Her family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Darlene always looked for the good in every situation. She was not the keeper of information, but the disseminator of information. She loved to learn and was a great teacher – always improving others through education. She was certainly proud of her family and talked of them often. Darlene, you will be missed but not forgotten.

    Cal

  3. My condolences to all of Darlene’s family, both at work and at home. She was a wonderful person and a true advocate for the Rehab community.

  4. This is a very sad news. I admire her expertise and generosity in sharing her rehab knowledge and so quick to reply on inquiries.

    My condolences and prayer…

  5. Darlene was truly a kind soul who blessed many lives. She had a wealth of knowledge and was always willing to collaborate and help us to critically think through questions and issues. She will be missed! Many thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.

    Respectfully,
    Brenda

  6. Darlene’s knowledge of the rehab industry was extraordinary. But beyond her work role, she was one of a kind! She truly was kind and always willing to help out. Condolences to her family and Mediware family for this terrible loss.

  7. My condolences as well to all of Darlene’s family. She was so knowledgeable of the Rehab many processes. I’m so glad that I had the privilege of meeting and learning from her, she will be missed!

  8. I’m so sad to hear of Darlene’s passing. She was a special person who gave so much to all of us in the Rehab community. She wil be missed.

  9. My condolences and prayers for her family, friends, and co-workers. What an amazing resource for Mediserve, Darlene displayed extraordinary knowledge and willingly shared with customers.

  10. My thoughts and prayers are with Darlenes family in their loss and grief. I will remember Darlene’s giving spirit. She made time for everyone no matter how small the request or question. Her smile and warm kindness come to mind when I think of her. I am blessed to have known Darlene and I know the world is a better place because of how she lived her life and treated others.

  11. Darlene improved many rehabilitation facilities throughout the United States through the sharing and application of her clinical knowledge. My deepest sympathies to her family. May they know she will be especially missed in Ohio, where she lived and worked for many years.

  12. We are so saddened to hear this news. Darlene was so very knowledgeable regarding rehab regulations and was always willing to lend a hand. She was an incredible resource. Our deepest sympathies to her family and all of her coworkers, she will be missed dearly.

  13. I am truly grateful for having had the honor and privilege of working with Darlene. Her contributions to the rehab community are vast and invaluable. I echo Cal’s comments that she will be sorely missed, but not forgotten.

    My heartfelt prayers and condolences to Darlene’s family and friends.

  14. Darlene was an inspiration to all. I don’t know anyone else who read CMS guidelines as thoroughly and quickly as Darlene did. She was an incredible resource to me and the whole Burke Rehab team in White Plains. On a personal note she always attended my conference talks and sat in the front rows! I would look to her for a vowed of confidence to ensure I was making sense. She would nod in a reassuring way. She always asked great questions and comments to speaks, and her perspective was enormously helpful. I will really miss seeing her smiling face at future meetings.

    My sincere sympathy to her family and the Mediware family as a whole.

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