21 French high school students touring area


The students and their teacher were from Lyon, a city in southeast France with which Governor Tom Corbett’s office has an economic and cultural exchange program. Working with the governor’s office, Harristown Development Corp. coordinated the trip. Harristown, which owns and operates the downtown Strawberry Square retail and office complex, promotes social and economic activity in the Capital.

During their visit to Homeland, the students met with Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO, and had the opportunity to ask questions ranging from the kind of training the center’s staff receive to how care is paid for in the U.S.

Ramper explained that Homeland prides itself on treating residents like honored guests in a hotel and said he looked to the lessons of the hospitality industry in how a senior care center should be run.

“We know that we’re not going to replace someone’s home, so we try to provide the next-best experience,” Ramper told the students, who also toured Homeland. “We want to provide our resident the experience of being in a great hotel.”

Ramper also explained how residents either can pay privately, through insurance or Medicare, which has given Homeland its top five-star rating for top-quality care.

He also said Homeland takes pride in the fact that no resident has ever been asked to leave because of lack of funds, something made possible through generous donations made by members of the community that maintains the facility’s endowment.

Chartered as the Home for the Friendless in 1867, Homeland originally sheltered women and homeless children, including Civil War widows and orphans. Today, Homeland Center continues its traditional service as a personal care home and skilled nursing facility, with 50 state-of the-art personal care suites, 71-bed skilled care unit, and a 21-bed Alzheimer’s and dementia unit.

In keeping with its dedication to serving the community, Homeland Center established Homeland Hospice to help patients in the end stages of life and provide emotional support for their families.

Ramper said he welcomed the chance to talk to the students about the center and how senior care is provided.

“We very much appreciated the opportunity for them to visit Homeland Center” Ramper said. “The questions they asked were a reflection of their desire to learn, and understand, our philosophy at Homeland Center, and the systems within our society to assist our seniors.”