Life Care recently shined the light on some of our healthcare heroes, associates who have been stepping up to new heights of service during the coronavirus pandemic.
We had so many wonderful examples to share that we couldn’t fit them all in one article, so here is the second installment celebrating our heroes!
The staff at Life Care Center of Jacksonville, Florida, isn’t daunted by wearing face masks. Instead, for Easter, they had a mask-decorating contest and a parade. Residents sat in their doorways while associates strode by and showed off their creativity.
Jaymie Wabaunsee, liaison for Life Care’s East Washington facilities, shared about two excellent associates at Life Care Center of Richland: Michelle Goulette, interim director of nursing, and Joy Kaiser, resident care manager.
“This has been such a mentally and physically demanding time for all, but Michelle has led our team with her head held high!” Jaymie said. “She educated staff, supported her team, was always a strong support system to our residents and their families. Michelle was able to fight off COVID-19 even though she was face to face with positive residents and staff. She never complained and always, always had a smile on her face. She is handling this with utmost integrity and strength.”
About Joy, Jayme shared, “Joy is the most pleasant, caring, calm, intelligent person to work with in all situations. Our facility was unfortunate and had a high volume of positive cases. Joy also was unfortunate and became positive for COVID-19 after working tireless and endless hours supporting her staff, residents and families. She came back to work after becoming healthy again and has jumped right back in, always ready to go!”
Sue Bennett, director of social services at Life Care Center of the North Shore in Lynn, Massachusetts, nominated her whole team. “We are in a pandemic, and everyone from housekeeping, maintenance, laundry, rehab, activities, business office, dietary, social services, certified nursing assistants, nurses, the director of nursing and the executive director are working together. We are all doing jobs that we were not hired for so that the residents are taken care of. We are exhausted, working long, hard hours so we can give the best care to our residents. We are able to support one another during this time, give each other comfort and strength when needed. We suffer the death of a resident and help each other to grieve the loss because they are a part of our family. We are happy when a resident gets healthy, and we are able to celebrate them together. I have been working at this facility for 18 years and have never been so proud of the staff that we have. They are all heroes to me.”
The staff at Life Care Center of Stonegate, Colorado, created goody bags for recently discharged patients. Melanie Baker-Hood, business development associate, reached out to those former residents to let them know she would be coming by and leaving a bag on their doorsteps. The bags included snacks, toilet paper, toothbrushes and washable masks made by residents at Garden Plaza of Aurora, Colorado. “One lady was sitting in the window waiting for me,” said Melanie. “One asked if I could also get her some paper towels, so that was an easy add-on.”
Also at Life Care Center of Stonegate, Kurt Hunter, executive director, and Huma Villarruel, dietary service manager, arrived at 5:30 a.m. on April 1 to cook for associates on night shift and day shift. The staff got a nice thank-you for their hard work in the form of Belgian waffles!
Kristel Linzmaier, life enrichment director at Garden Terrace Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence in Fort Worth, Texas, shared about Diane Phillips, activity assistant, “She thinks of ways to uplift the spirits of our residents and staff like dressing up with different colors or superheroes and coming up with games like guess-the-number-of-jellybeans. She always approaches a resident or associate with a positive attitude and brings little treats for everyone.”
Marita Ülysee, care plan coordinator at Life Care Center of Orlando, Florida, shared about a hero at her building, Kim Mondor, evening nursing supervisor. “Kim embraces challenges and change with enthusiasm and positivity. She keeps things under control and handles daily routine assignments. Kim is the person you want at your side when evening becomes challenging. Most of our admissions come in the afternoon. Kim ensures they are welcomed, assessed and settled. Kim makes sure her team is protected, ensuring they wear their PPE and reinforcing education. She also ensures her nurses and nursing assistants eat dinner and simply take a break in order to keep up with their health and stamina. She is invaluable in her role and works tirelessly to facilitate communication between residents and their families via telephone and FaceTime. Our residents and families are so appreciative of her kindness, knowledge and compassion.”
Two therapists did something extra-special for Easter at Hickory House Nursing Home in Honey Book, Pennsylvania. Ellen Thompson, occupational therapist assistant, and Janice Horton, occupational therapist, stayed after work leading up to the holiday to practice guitar and hymns to sing for the residents on Easter. They then came in on Easter, their day off, to provide this special music. You can see a video of them above.
At Life Care Center of Hilo, Hawaii, Venus Tolentino, social services director; Valerie Nishi, director of nursing; Lilia Inciong-Aki, admissions director; and Lani Goodman, activity director, have been working together to create personal protective equipment on their own time. In one weekend, they completed more than 100 sleeves for PPE gowns. “The four of them exemplify everything that is special about Life Care Center of Hilo,” said Mark Mann, executive director.
At Life Care Center of Copper Basin in Ducktown, Tennessee, associates and community members gathered together at a social distance on April 20. Led by Bret Curtis, central supply and transportation associate, the group prayed for the facility, residents, family members, associates, first responders, hospitals and the country as a whole. “With huge success, we have made it an every Monday event,” shared Donna Hughes, admissions coordinator.