Watch the Program

On Thursday, March 11, tune in to the program through the button below as early as 6:20 p.m. to get the evening started!

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**Audio Description will be provided. Check back before the event to access the special link. Special thanks to MindsEye for providing this service.


Program

Thank you for joining us for Celebration for Compassion and Care! The program for the evening is below to provide you with the agenda and speaker bios for the night.

Join us throughout the night in the chat to congratulate award nominees and toast the winners!

BINGO

  1. During the event, access your BINGO card through the button below.
  2. Throughout the program, as you hear words or complete actions indicated with an asterisk, mark your BINGO card.
  3. Once you have a line completed, take a photo or screenshot of your card.
  4. Email a photo of it to events@voycestl.org.
  5. You’ll be entered into a raffle to win a STL Goodie Bag with St. Louis Blues Swag, Anheuser Busch merch, and a $50 gift card to Dewey’s pizza!

Awards

View our awards, the nominees, and their stories below. We will update this page throughout the night with the winners!

Residents Rights

Awarded to one or more individuals that have gone above and beyond to champion resident rights and/or promote the dignity of the older and aging population. This award is an in-house award with the awardee(s) determined by VOYCE.

Beacon of Hope

Awarded to an individual that has shown resilience in caregiving. This person may have persevered in the face of obstacles, provides solutions to problems when they arise, and overall has a positive attitude. 

See the nominees and read their stories and watch their video nominations below.

Organization: Martha’s Hands Home Care Service

Title/Credentials: Director of Nursing, RN

Years in Position: 6-10

Nominator Message: Andrea has been with Martha’s Hands for over 7 years.  She started as a Nurse Care Manager, and then was promoted to Director of Nursing.  Andrea embodies “Compassion & Excellence” in Home Care – the Martha’s Hands Way. 

Compassion: our emphasis on our mission-based approach of “Love through Service.”  Andrea cares deeply about each one of her clients, often spending personal time to take care of special needs for her clients.  One client that she Care Managed for four years stated, “we wouldn’t have known the first thing to do for Mom and Dad if it were not for Andrea.  Her care and concern over every detail made their journey through life much easier.”

Excellence: our emphasis on our Nurse Care Management model, providing clinical oversight for all of our clients and support for our Caregivers.  Andrea has directed a Caregiver Evaluation Program to ensure the Caregivers have the needed skills to care for a client.  Andrea also has helped create a Career Ladder for our Caregivers that want to make a longer-term commitment to Martha’s Hands while developing their clinical, communication and technology capabilities.

Andrea’s Leadership came to the forefront during the COVID Crisis.  With little time or resources, Andrea helped co-create Martha’s Hands COVID Protocols including Infection Mitigation, Infection Identification, and Infection Response systems.  These were made all the more challenging with differing and changing guidance from governmental agencies.  Andrea’s Protocols helped minimize COVID Infections among the 300+ Caregivers and 500+ clients that Martha’s Hands has served since March 2020.

Organization: Right at Home St. Charles

Title/Credentials: Field Support, HHA

Years in Position: 3-6

Nominator Message: Jean has gone above and beyond more than anyone can count.  She picked up and delivered a free Hoyer from a deceased client’s family and delivered to another client in need.  She continues to push her clients doing exercises alongside with them while still being compassionate.   She uses her own time personal time to call and check up on clients and their families even after that client has passed.   She checks up on clients she once cared for but are better now.  She brings special Christmas gifts and plants and meals to many, many of those clients, still with us and no longer using our service.   Jean fills in on last minute shifts and supports new caregivers on the team in anyway she can. Jean makes sure the nurses are informed with any change of condition with her clients, not only with their physical well being but on their emotional well being too. She is a good listener for both the people she is caring for and their families.

Many times just in conversation she mentions, that she stopped by someone’s home to bring them their favorite drink, or meal just because.   We have never met someone with a bigger heart for caregiving than Jean Scott.  Without being asked she always offers her time and assistance to all! 

She has been through the worst of the worst loosing family members including her beautiful daughter in law whom she cared for though hospice. When she is done at the end of each day with her clients she comes home and cares for her father who lives with her. Jean is truly amazing.

Organization: Frontier Health & Rehab

Title/Credentials: Receptionist

Years in Position: Less than 1

Nominator Message: Joann is a friend of everyone’s, regardless of familiarity. A brilliant light of kindness and positivity, she improves the day of everyone before they’ve even taken 3 steps into the building. She genuinely cares for our staff and residents, and has made a noticeable impact on the morale of every single employee and resident she comes into contact with. She doesn’t work for us because she needs to as she is retired from a bountiful lifelong professional career. Joann clocks in every day because she has a passion for our residents and helping to add light into all of our lives.

Organization: Right at Home of St. Louis

Title/Credentials: Caregiver

Years in Position: 3-6

Nominator Message: From the moment Lauren was hired, she has been an exemplary member of the Right at Home caregiving family. She demonstrates an unparalleled dedication and commitment to doing her best for our company and the client she has taken care of exclusively for the past four years. During this time, Lauren has truly excelled at all facets of caregiving by providing cheerful, compassionate support for her client’s recovery from multiple strokes. Lauren is well-loved by her client’s family because they say she simply goes “above and beyond their expectations every day.”

What first strikes you about Lauren is how she radiates empathy and concern through her delightful and sunny disposition. Her client’s family says she shows up genuinely happy to spend time with their mother and be of service every day. It is Lauren’s optimistic attitude about life that inspires her client not to give up on things she loves to do even when it may be more challenging. Lauren patiently stays by her client’s side, helping her through, as a true companion.

Lauren’s dedication has also been recognized by the family many times over. They describe her caregiving approach to be as if she was “caring for own grandmother.” She can be counted on to attend all doctor appointments with her client and she takes to heart the care plan to be followed. Lauren makes it a priority to show up for her client, regardless of the weather or personal situation. She has covered last-minute shifts, stayed late and came in early, and faithfully trained any new care team member.

Lauren’s unwavering commitment to her client’s well-being is demonstrated by her pursuit of stroke-specific training and skills. Several times Lauren’s quick thinking and resourceful actions have prevented her client from sustaining further debilitating stroke damage. It is this watchful concern and thoughtful presence that makes her client’s family tell us often that they “trust her implicitly.”

Lauren’s commitment to serve has inspired her to pursue even further education, enrolling in nursing school while still holding down a full-time work schedule.  In addition, when it was difficult to afford the tuition, she put in the extra effort to apply and receive scholarships that would help her achieve her goals. True to her nature, Lauren is now giving back by tutoring younger nursing students, giving up her weekends to do so.  Lauren is truly a “Beacon of Hope,” inspiring all of us to “show up, shine and serve. “

Organization: Right at Home of St. Charles

Title/Credentials: Field Support/Caregiver

Years in Position: 3-6

Nominator Message: Michelle has been a caregiver with Right at Home for several years.  She generally stays with one or two clients and they become her family.   Michelle is an amazing caregiver, who will devote all of her time to her clients’ needs.  She will take over the family to remove any thing she can from their plate, including taking the client to the doctor, hairdresser, etc.  Michelle has become so very close to her clients and families that they trust her completely with their loved ones care, as we as her clients caring deeply for Michelle.   When there is an issue and the client is needing more hours, the family is willing to pay overtime for Michelle to continue to be with their loved one.   She remains in contact with the family after her clients are deceased and continues to check on them.   Michelle can work with anyone and is very good working with other caregivers and promoting them as well.  She has a heart of gold and will do anything for her clients.  We are so very blessed to have her on our team and part of our RAH family.

Organization: Friendship Village Chesterfield

Title/Credentials: Medical Records Coordinator, RN

Years in Position: More than 10

Nominator Message: Patti was born and raised in Montana, before earning a pair of Associate degrees at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming and earned her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 1983. Patti was hired here as a part-time floor nurse in the Village Care Center in 2003. On her very first day, a floor nurse was sent out on an emergency, so the Education Nurse came and pulled her out of orientation since Patti had the most experience, saying, “You know what to do, so you need to go and cover the floor for us.” Patti shifted gears to help out and has continued coming back ever since.

She has risen from her part-time role to her current role as the Medical Records Coordinator, checking the census to see new admissions, if anyone has passed away, who is coming or going from the hospital, and then checks back on medical records. With COVID-19 presenting new challenges, Patti has taken on several additional tasks beyond her job description. She has filled in as a CNA, assists with COVID testing weekly, and even signed up to be a bath aide. “Touch is important to me,” Patti says. “Being able to touch, hug, and love is so valuable to people. There’s so much love that radiates out of someone when you are touching or hugging them. Even if they’re so angry, there comes a point where they finally let go – and everything settles, because they aren’t alone.”

As she did at the start of the pandemic, Patti has continued to fill critical roles to help people, beyond the scope of her position. Patti’s leadership and tremendous spirit brings out that same nurturing energy in those around her at Friendship Village. This work takes a toll on healthcare professionals, so having Patti here to help care for her team as well as the residents is truly a blessing.

In October, Patti was visiting her family in Montana for the first time in fifteen months when she got a call for help. Her neighbor in Missouri had fallen and needed a place to go. Patti immediately reached out to Friendship Village and helped arranged a stay in the Care Center for a few weeks. When that same neighbor unfortunately had to transition to hospice, Patti didn’t stop taking care of her. After her shift at Friendship Village, she would go home, change, and walk to her neighbor’s house to provide care until she passed away. “We have been entrusted to take care of people,” Patti says. “There’s no greater job in the world than being gifted to take care of someone else’s loved one. It just matters.”

Organization: BJC Health

Title/Credentials: Clinical Process Leader, LCSW

Years in Position: More than 10

Nominator Message: I first met Sue Sullivan just 4 years ago.  She, working at BJC and I, working at SSM, had similar roles in our organizations….that is, working closely with the skilled nursing facilities in the St. Louis region to assure a true partnership with PAC providers so that our patients could experience the highest quality in care.  What I immediately noticed and continue to notice about Sue was her vibrant personality, her immense knowledge on care for our elderly but mostly her desire to assure our PAC providers have what they need from BJC to be successful.  She was so committed to assuring a PAC connection to the health systems that she was willing to share her experience and knowledge with other health systems!  In 2018, Sue put into motion what is now called the St. Louis PAC/LTC Roundtable.  She and Dr. Charles Crecelius had the foresight to recognize the need for there to be a collaborative approach between ALL of the health systems and skilled nursing facilities and invited Mercy, St. Luke’s and SSM to join them in this initiative.  The idea was to foster dialogue and sharing of best practices, educational material among representatives of post-acute care providers, long-term care providers, as well as hospital and health systems operating within the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan region.   Sue and Dr. Crecelius facilitated the launch of this group which continues today and has proven to be a true “beacon of hope” as we navigate through Covid-19.  Sue’s strong leadership of this group early on easily spring-boarded critical initiatives on the COVID front that translated to heightened communication of patient transfer guidance, COVID testing information, PPE assistance, vaccine distribution and more!  At a time when there was great despair among long term care providers, Sue’s perceptive leadership brought hope.

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Sue is retiring in February.  She worked tirelessly for 40 years at BJC, working her social worker background in a variety of roles including family counseling, clinical services, behavioral health, and more!  She championed performance improvement roles, BJC standardization projects and in recent years took on the role of Clinical Process Leader where she advocated for and assisted our communities’ long term care partners.  Thank you Sue!

Note:  All 4 St. Louis health systems’ roundtable members are in agreement with this nomination which I believe speaks volumes to Sue’s contribution to healthcare.

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Sue may be considered to be an atypical nominee for this award, but her impact on the care of nursing home residents has been exceptional.  As a Clinical Process Leader trained in social work, she helped establish first a Post Acute Care Collaborative, a meeting of administrators and nursing directors of nursing homes and home care to provide education and mutual learning to improve patient care, within the BJC system. More importantly, she played a key role in founding the St Louis Post-Acute and Long Term Care Roundtable just over 2 years ago.  This group consists of the 4 HSO (BJC, Mercy, SSM and St Luke’s) and all the major nursing home chains, along with quality improvement organizations, who work collaboratively together to improve the care of persons in nursing homes.  By breaking down traditional barriers between both hospital systems and nursing homes, with the goal of focusing on patient outcomes, this group has accomplished far more than any one system could have dine individually or in small groups. This group has provided consistent approaches to physician notification, skin wounds and urinary tract infections that have helped many patients have a better quality of life.  COVID has caused a marked shift in this group’s function is working with multiple stakeholders to lessen the impact of this devastating disease on nursing home patients.  Application of consistent reinforcement of CDC guidance, ensuring appropriate flow of patients from hospitals to nursing homes and helping deal with the plight of the increased number of mental health patients we are seeing in nursing homes has helped save countless lives.  Her training and experience in mental health, in workflow and quality improvement and in building bridges across different groups have markedly improved patient outcome.

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I have worked with Sue for several years now in the post-acute arena.  She has such compassion for the elderly we serve in the skilled nursing and long term care facilities.  Sue was instrumental in organizing a post-acute round table group that included all of the health systems in the St. Louis area.   The goal was to standardize practices in an effort to streamline how care was provided in the facilities.    She is retiring after many years of service and will be greatly missed.

Susan Sullivan was instrumental in forming the St Louis Post-Acute/Long Term Care Roundtable which meets regularly and includes representatives from STL metropolitan nursing homes, health system post acute groups, and quality improvement groups and was originally formed in 2018 to improve clinical protocols and patient care in area nursing homes.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roundtable led the way with unprecedented cooperation between the health systems and nursing homes to convey timely information about best practices and guidelines, and improve patient flow from hospital to nursing home during a public health crisis.   Susan’s numerous connections throughout the region helped to improve communication and buy-in to the Roundtable, and allowed it to expand its role to communication with local health departments and organizations who helped to provide education to nursing homes regarding COVID 19 and infection control.  Without Sue, the Roundtable would not exist, and would not have had the reach and effect it did during the pandemic.

Organization: NHC Maryland Heights

Title/Credentials: Administrator

Years in Position: More than 10

Nominator Message: I am nominating Susan Taylor, administrator of NHC Maryland Heights.  Susan is one of the most caring individuals I have ever met or known.  Everyday she brings hope into our building to each of the residents and employees.  This past year with COVID, it has been extremely tough on all LTC facilities.  Susan had made it a priority to ensure we received all the PPE that we needed to care for our residents.  She was always making sure residents could feel safe during this unprecedented time.  Susan gets to know every resident in this building on a personal level so they can know she is their friend and protector. 

Before COVID, Susan has in the past taken residents to the prom to let them enjoy the memories of dancing.  Alzheimer patients have been taken out to lunch in a public restaurant.  Residents have been taken out on personal shopping trips.  We have parades in the building to bring smiles to the residents.  She gives 150% at all times to let the residents feel life is not over because you’re in long term care.    She has worked with state of Mo to come up with a reopening plan to get families more contact with their loved ones.  LTC is Susan’s life.  There are so many things she has done for the residents and staff that she could be nominated in any category.  I personally would not work for anyone else because she has not only been the Beacon of Hope for all she is also the Beacon of Love, Respect and Community.

Organization: Town and Country Nursing and Rehab

Title/Credentials: Administrator, RN, LNHA

Years in Position: 1-3

Nominator Message: I have worked with Tracie for many years as a nurse. She consistently went above and beyond to take care of residents. Sometimes evening pulling double shifts and bringing her young daughter to work with her to sleep on the couch so she could work the night shift and ensure that residents received the care they needed. Tracie always puts patient care as a first priority.

As an administrator, Tracie worked on New Year’s Eve during the day, changed into scrubs and worked the night shift as a floor nurse so that our building could take new admissions and Our current residents were cared for. Tracie is an exceptional leader, coworker and mentor to everyone she works with.

Organization: AccuCare Home Health

Title/Credentials: Private Duty Aide

Years in Position: 1-3 years

Nominator Message: Yolanda Criss has been a valued employee since 2018. When asked about a special memory this recent one stuck out. “I have a client I met about a month ago. She has cancer and lives with her dear husband and stays in bed most of the time. Seeing how her husband looked at her was so endearing. I introduced myself and told her I was going to give her a sponge bath before breakfast. She said ok, but really was not able to speak. I cleaned her, massaged her from her feet up, brushed her hair and pulled it back. She looked different, happier. I dressed her, put a little perfume on her and a tiny bit of makeup on her face. I then went and told her husband she was ready to eat. He liked to feed her himself so they can talk. When he saw her, he smiled and said how good she looked and smelled. She then smiled a little. As I left the shift her husband walked me to the door, looked at me and I simply said, “Your wife is still a woman with a husband” and he stopped and said, “That’s right. I hope you come back, thank you”.

Yolanda’s beautiful story exemplifies what it means to provide care with compassion, dignity and respect.

Caregiver of the Year
Award Sponsored By

Awarded to an individual that has showcased a high level of care for individuals. This person is the star caregiver that goes above and beyond all expectations.  Examples: Engages residents in stimulating conversation or activity, connects and shows an exceptional level of care for their care receivers, innovates systems to provide a better quality of care.

See the nominees and read their stories and watch their video nominations below.

Organization: Unity Hospice

Title/Credentials: Chaplain/CRR/Professional Standards Coach/Mentor (Role is primarily Chaplain), BS Theology, Master’s in Counseling, Certified in Grief

Years in Position: More than 10

Nominator Message: It is very easy to share the stories of why I am nominating Beverly Lee for this award.  We have a shining star program which she wins every year (5 winners/office).  This is a program in which staff receive shining stars when a comment comes back from a patient/facility staff/or co-worker about how they have gone above and beyond what was expected of them.  She always tops the list with submissions from everyone because of how she goes above and beyond for everyone. Here are two examples:

“Beverly attended a death visit when she was on call.  She was going to have to sit for an extended time because the family had to drive in from a long distance away.  She wanted to make sure the patient was being honored as much when she was alive as well as the moments after she passed. During her time sitting with the patient and family, they requested that she sing and pray with them.  Beverly sang  hymns and prayed which brought the family great peace.”

“I was at a death visit and Beverly volunteered to stay until the funeral home came. She knew that I had quite a few patients to see and said that I could continue to see my patients and she would stay with the patient who had passed away because she wanted to honor their life and make sure the family knew that someone was holding the hand of their loved one until they could be taken care of. This is only a few of the examples of how Beverly always cares for our patients, their family and her fellow co-workers.”

 These are only a few of the examples of the seriousness Beverly gives to her job.  She never sees a patient as just another number or body….she honors each life and the journey we are taking with this patient and their family. 

I have been honored to know Beverly for over 15 years in this business.  She began as a volunteer and has moved through the ranks as a community relations representative, bereavement specialist and chaplain.  It’s no wonder she is one of our Professional Standards coaches and a mentor to our new staff. 

She understands the heart of what we do even in the tired moments….she understands that every patient is on a journey and our job is to honor this last mile of that journey!

Organization: Sunset Healthcare

Title/Credentials: Director of Nursing, RN

Years in Position: Less than 1

Nominator Message: My family and I wish to honor Debbie Clark by nominating her for this prestigious award because of her devotion to her residents and staff and her willingness to do whatever it takes to keep them all safe and well-cared for.  She has done this while still maintaining respect for each person and while maintaining a calm, warm and friendly atmosphere.  This has been particularly challenging during the COVID pandemic, but Debbie has managed it all with professionalism, knowledge, skill and hard work. 

She and her staff were able to keep the virus at bay for months, but eventually there were cases.  Through her leadership the virus was managed and everyone received the care each care needed.  Debbie worked tirelessly, even logging 18 hrs a day many days, often on weekends, as the staff maintained necessary quarantine.  She was never to busy to communicate with families to inform us of illness or to reassure us as much as possible.  One weekend evening when she was working she sat with my brother-in-law and rubbed his back as he lay in bed suffering with COVID.  This is but one of many examples of her care and devotion. 

Debbie also creates an atmosphere in her facility of willingness to care for residents with difficult challenges.  When my brother-in-law had some difficulties related to his dementia, Debbie and her team approached the situation as “what do we need to do to manage this situation and help the resident”.  The other five facilities where he had been living could not manage his problems and take care of him.  Debbie did. 

As a nurse myself, I cannot think of a nurse on the frontline whom I admire more.

Organization: AccuCare Home Health Care

Title/Credentials: Private Duty Aide

Years in Position: 6-10

Nominator Message: Eric has an amazing way of becoming even the most reluctant client’s trusted caregiver and confidante soon after meeting them. His way of quietly communicating and zeroing in on the needs of his clients is uncanny. Eric is able to quickly assess emergent situations and take the necessary action in a calm and confident manner. Eric connects with his clients like they are family, allowing him to connect in a special way. He is known for bringing his clients their favorite meal or treat.  One day our business founder, Jacque Phillips, went to visit a client named Jim. She noticed Eric had a big sack with him and she asked what it was, and he said, “Jim only drinks coffee and eats junk food so my wife makes extra food so I can bring him home cooked dinners and he loves it!” In that way Eric shares a bit of himself and his homelife with his clients.

Eric is passionate about providing his clients with the best care possible so it’s no surprise that clients often request for Eric to be their “one and only” caregiver, even to the point of changing their schedule so Eric can accommodate them.  It’s this flexibility and willingness to go the extra mile that sets Eric apart.

Organization: SRZ Reach LTC

Title/Credentials:  VP of Branding and Strategic Engagement

Years in Position: 1-3

Nominator Message: Jennifer has worked in some form of healthcare for many years. I know she worked for Hospice and when I met her a year ago she was working for SRZ Reach. From the first moment she was the go to girl for ANYTHING resident related. She was working the phones to ensure the resident was going to have everything they needed to be safe and happy with their admission. She would personally ensure their rooms were ready for their stay with our facilities whether it was a rehab to home or a long term care resident. She works with the staff to ensure they have all the proper paperwork and even giving a little nugget of information of what the resident liked.

When we think of Caregivers in the facility as the CNAs and Nurses. It goes much deeper than that. When you have such a kind and compassionate soul as Jen does EVERYONE sees it. Sure she cant give them a pill to make the pain go away, but you can find Jen holding the hand of that same resident and reassuring them that everything will be ok and relief is coming.

Recently with the Covid pandemic and our residents not being able to safely visit with their families-AGAIN Jen sprang into action and came up with a way they could do so. She sat down and sketched drawing for a visitation divider. She then spoke with someone at Lowes who took that drawing and made it s reality. They worked together and made this drawing a reality. Lowes then dedicated a divider to every one of our facilities so the residents could see their loved ones face to face for the first time in months.

This is not the first time Jen has been the BIGGEST for our residents and staff! When Covid hit one of our buildings Jen reached out to her network and had donations of food, cards, crafts anything that would increase the quality of life for our residents and the frontline workers who together bravely fought and continue to fight this awful disease together.

When she was not allowed in the facilities to keep our resident safe she continued to coordinate donations, lunches and etc to keep the residents in good spirits. And it has WORKED! I believe Jen should be considered for Care Giver of the year- Because when it counts Jen is there for ALL of Residents in all 9 of our buildings in St Louis. Chances are if you dont have a loved one in one of our buildings-You probably know someone who does and I will guarantee they know our Loved Jen Ryan!

Organization: Brooking Park

Title/Credentials: Dining Services Associate

Years in Position: More than 10

Nominator Message: Kinsey is one of those special employees who brings joy to the residents and to her co-workers.  She’s the best friend of everyone she encounters at Brooking Park.  A 16 year Dining Services employee, she’s clearly dedicated to our profession.  Kinsey is being nominated for the Caregiver of the Year Award because when the COVID world hit our industry, she fearlessly stepped it up. 

1. She worked the COVID area of the building.  She brought a sense of calm and joy during a time of fear.

2. She cross-trained in Housekeeping and Activities to ensure residents’ needs were met while establishing a sense of normalcy for those in the area.

3.  She assisted Nursing with non-clinical tasks in order to establish a culture of teamwork; friendships were developed that will last for many years. 

4.  Her children completed window visits with all of the residents on Easter; decorating their windows from the outside and holding uplifting, caring signs for the residents to see. 

5. Her friends from her church made uplifting cards for the residents. 

6. She ensured the hardworking staff had plenty of snacks in their designated breakroom. 

Wow, talk about stepping it up during a tough time.  Kinsey wasn’t directed to do these things, rather she volunteered to do them.  When others ran from the challenge of COVID, Kinsey recognized we weren’t just providing services to people who were on isolation; rather we were caring for human beings.  It is an absolute honor to have Kinsey on the Brooking Park team.  She has not asked for anything for herself; rather continues to serve others in a humble, warm, caring and fun manner.  The entire industry can learn from her example.  The hope of the residents and staff at Brooking Park is that we could say thank you to Kinsey by honoring her with the Caregiver of the Year Award.  Thank you for your consideration.

Organization: Clarendale of St. Peters

Title/Credentials: Nurse Manager, LPN

Years in Position: Less than 1

Nominator Message: Megan is one of the most caring, compassionate caregivers I have ever worked with in the assisted living setting.  She always makes the resident in front of her feel like he/she is important.  Working during the COVID pandemic, she was always sure to take special care of those residents that were sick, letting them know that everything was going to be okay.  She would go above and beyond to make sure they had everything they needed and would speak with any family member to assure them their loved one was doing okay.

I once witnessed Megan with one of our residents.  He was end of life and always requested her.  She came in to see him, gently touched his arm and kissed his forehead.  She sat down next to him so that he could see and hear her.  Not only did this bring extreme comfort to the resident but to his daughter that sat at his other side.  The daughter later expressed to me that what Megan did for her father was priceless and would never be forgotten.  It meant so much to her and gave her peace of mind to know someone as kind and caring as Megan was there for her father when he needed it the most. 

Megan is the epitome of Caregiver of the Year.  Always going above and beyond, treating each resident with care and respect and having compassion for those she cares for every day.

Organization: Martha’s Hands

Title/Credentials: CNA

Years in Position: 6-10

Nominator Message: Megan has been with Martha’s Hands for over 7 years.  In that time, she has provided over 17,000 hours of care – 4 yrs and 7,000 hours of which were devoted to one particular client.  She cared for the client as if she were her own grandmother with a determination to do everything she could to make each day meaningful for her.  In her interactions with clients, families and co-workers, Megan presents herself with a smile, kindness and a remarkably positive nature without fail.  She puts her whole heart into caring for her clients and her sole mission is to bring joy and pleasure to their lives.  Megan makes every effort to learn what her clients’ likes and interests are and follows through by using her positive spirit to engage her clients.  One client’s daughter relayed that Megan was “a God send” and she would not have been able to keep her mom at home without her. 

At Martha’s Hands, outstanding caregivers who exhibit “Love through Service” to their clients and each other are acknowledged with an Angel Award.  Megan has received that honor 4 times in recognition of compliments received from family or Nurse Care Managers.  She is diligent in reporting to the nursing team any concerns or changes related to her clients.  During the past year Megan was blessed with the birth of her second daughter.  In true form, she worked a full schedule until she was due and returned back to a full schedule as soon as she was able. The exceptional love she exhibits for her own children is often mirrored in the compassion she provides to her clients. Megan’s genuine enthusiasm for life is contagious and tangible.  She truly makes a difference and improves the lives of those she comes in contact with.

Organization: Mercy Home Health St. Louis

Title/Credentials: Case Manager Home Health/Palliative Care, RN, BSN

Years in Position: 1-3

Nominator Message: This beautifully written letter was sent in by one of Nathan’s patients he recently cared for.

Dear Pamela,

I hope you are well.    We have always been grateful to all our heroic health care workers, now more than ever. Since my husband’s stroke on Aug. 15th, we have met many dedicated professionals.  Today I’d like to bring your attention to Nathan, our home health care nurse, who stands out among them all.  Nathan has not only provided exceptional care for my husband, he also brought great comfort to me. 

These last few months have been frightening to us both.  I thought I could handle P’s recovery on my own like I did after the first surgery, but this one was much harder.  I could feel myself sinking under the weight of it all when Nathan entered our lives with his gentle strength, his quiet confidence and his immense capacity for compassion.  Add to all of that Nathan’s sense of humor, and you have a powerful healing element.

When Nathan came I was worried about having to remove P’s catheter at 6:00 am the morning of his urology appointment.  I am a strong woman, and I was terrified.  Nathan called later that evening, saying he had permission to come that morning and would remove the catheter for us.  Instantly – our stress levels dropped.  We felt a peace that had eluded us for weeks. Nathan seems to have been called to this noble profession; and, for that, we are truly grateful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every person had a Nathan in their lives?

Sincerely,

T & P W

Organization: At Home Care

Title/Credentials: Community Outreach, PhD

Years in Position: 6-10

Nominator Message: Dr. Pamela White a beloved senior member of the Hannibal, MO community. Dr. White was nominated by a fellow employee of At Home Care, a comprehensive in-home care agency that offers a combination of home care and community-based services in over 20 counties in Missouri. At Home Care works to keep disabled and or seniors living at home with independence by aiding in basic need assistance. Dr. Pamela White has worked as Chief of Human Resources for At Home Care.  Dr. White was nominated for the many hours of volunteer work that she does in her community.  But she also could have been recognized for the 40 plus years she has worked in the social service arena providing exceptional care and compassion in every position she has held.  Due to her own fight with cancer and other senior health concerns, she has had to step back from her Administrative duties and is working part-time.  But not one to slow down, as a volunteer, Dr. White uses her personal time to go out into the community and make a difference to those in need, rather than rest. 

She puts together a bi-weekly BINGO game that senior residents look forward to attending.  She makes the games a priority in her life and unless Saint Louis weather or act of God stop’s her – she won’t cancel on the disabled seniors that attend her bingo games.  “For some of these people this is the only time they will interact with another person all week!  They need to know life is still fun” she has exclaimed. Mrs. White not only makes sure to be there for them, she also takes her time, clearing calling numbers, Nice & Loud” and choosing great prizes. Because: “Nobody wants a crappy prize”.  Recently Mrs. White discovered that a resident that moved into her neighborhood did not have much food or furniture, only a bed.  She made a few calls out into the Hannibal Community and had food and furniture delivered within a day.  She did not announce she was doing it or gossip about it.  She just quietly got it done.  It was the recipient who bragged about her kindness, noting that Ms. Pam was a gift to her and everyone she meets. At Home Care CEO, Carlita Vasser had this to say about Mrs. White.  “Our motto is Home is Where the Heart Is. It is our desire for our clients to be as comfortable as possible at home where we know they want to be.  Pam is a shining example for all of us who work and volunteer with At Home Care, on just how big a heart can be”.

Organization: Sunrise Senior Living on Clayton

Title/Credentials: Lead Care Manager, CNA

Years in Position: 6-10

Nominator Message: Shonika Charles is the model as to why this award was created. She embodies her role as a lead care manager and does everything she can to make the residents smile. This past year has been challenging for everyone but for individuals in the medical field it has been nothing short of crisis mode every single day. There were multiple days where we Shonika worked “short” or managed to muster up enough strength to come in and help out on other shifts. She hasn’t missed a day of work since we started this pandemic and that alone is nothing short of a MIRACLE. She never has to be reminded to wear her mask. I’ve seen her correct individuals on how to properly wear their PPE equipment as well as the proper disposal. I have no idea what I would do without Shonika. The part that gets me a little choked up is that she never complains. She works so hard and there is no amount of bonuses, free meal tickets, vacation days, that could compensate for the amount of LOVE she has for our residents. She truly does care and she shows it in every way. It amazes me that someone like this even exists. I love to see her walk through those doors at 2pm. She is SUNRISE!

Community Choice

Awarded to a caregiver that has shown exceptional care. This person is nominated and voted for by the community. We received over 1,300 VOTES to determine the winner!

See the nominees and read their stories and watch their video nominations below.

Organization: Ascension Living Sherbrooke Village

Title/Credentials: Director of Environmental Services

Years in Position: 1-3 years

Nominator Message: Dan Ojeda is an associate that any community would welcome with open arms. As Director of Environmental Services, his job has been more demanding than ever with COVID. No matter what challenge is brought to him, his answer is “yes”, and he is off running. Dan has been instrumental in the success of our community during COVID. He implemented all necessary cleaning procedures immediately. He is willing to assist his team with cleaning of any room or helping move a resident. There is not a day that goes by that you don’t see him wearing our backpack sprayer and spraying the community, cleaning up debris from the community, or helping with a variety of tasks that are outside the norms of his department. No matter how big the challenge is, he always completes it with a smile and success! Dan was vital to this community prior to COVID however we would not be where we are today without his dedication to our campus.

Organization: Friendship Village Sunset Hills

Title/Credentials: Assisted Living Specialist

Years in Position: Less than 1 year

Nominator Message: I started working in senior living when I was just 15 while seeing my grandfather’s fight with Alzheimer’s. He was still living at home during this and my family and I had daily tasks to care for him. As an 8th-grader, my job was to shave him every morning and then I would spoon feed him his breakfast before going out to catch my school bus. I was always grateful to have my grandfather at home with us until the very end of his illness. And seeing his struggle made me want to help seniors.

After he passed, my very first part time job was as a dishwasher and server at a skilled nursing facility. I absolutely loved it. It was like gaining 80 more grandparents overnight! I worked there for over 7 years, through high school and college and only left after I received my degree and became a high school English teacher for seven years, but my heart was in senior living and I really wanted to get back to that.

Helping seniors as well helping their families through the transition to senior living is a passion for me because I know how important it is and I always feel appreciated. COVID has made this past year extremely difficult not only for our current residents and families, but also for families who can’t wait any longer to make the move. But I’m so grateful to be here for them and when I see that I’m making a difference in their lives, it’s amazing.

One of my favorite things in the community is simply to be able to do activities with the residents. I especially love dancing for and with the residents whenever our community hosts live entertainment or if any music was playing. Spending time with our residents is always great. I just enjoy their company and having so many amazing conversations. They have lived very full lives, so getting to hear their stories is a treat, no matter how short or long our conversations are. Sometimes it’s just a brief moment where something is shared. I just love it.

Organization: AccuCare Home Health

Title/Credentials: Private Duty Aide

Years in Position: 3-6 years

Nominator Message: Homecare is a profession which requires a variety of skills. And, as a caregiver, if you exude compassion and love, the client will feel that compassion and love. Years ago, Kim lost her daughter. Instead of focusing on the loss of her daughter and what could be, Kim decided to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. Upon returning to work her first client was a gentleman who was terminal. As she was caring for him towards the end of his life, he asked Kim to hold his hand. As she held his hand, he stated “You have such a gentle touch. This is perfect for you” then he passed. She sets the tone for the family of what to expect when they have no previous experience with homecare and often, do not yet know what questions to ask. She is proactive by making suggestions as to what type of equipment will be helpful, or an activity schedule that might enrich her client’s daily life. Kim’s knowledge as well as that gentle touch, confidently applied, is just the RIGHT touch for her clients. She is an amazing asset to our team.

Organization: Frontier Health and Rehab

Title/Credentials: Business Office Manager

Years in Position: 1-3 years

Nominator Message: As business office manager, Lakeithia is directly responsible for communicating the financial needs of our residents to their families and insurance companies. One could not ask for someone more devoted to advocating above and beyond for every resident we have, and her kindness, empathy, and genuine care for our residents lives in every one of her actions. She will drop everything to make sure a resident’s needs are being addressed in the most timely manner possible, and she has never shied away from a task that, while not necessarily her responsibility, would improve the lives of everyone under our roof.

Organization: Friendship Village Chesterfield

Title/Credentials: Food and Beverage Director

Years in Position: 1-3 years

Nominator Message: Manny has been involved with food and hospitality all his life. “My uncle owned Bar Italia (in St. Louis) when I was growing up, so being in that restaurant environment at an early age, I just felt it.” He earned his undergraduate degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Mizzou before returning to Saint Louis where he would eventually earn his master’s degree in Management Leadership from Webster. Manny says he loves food service in senior living as opposed to other things like business dining or corporate events which are a little stale and impersonal for him. In senior living, he can make long-term, personal connections with people around him, serving the same people every day. “I like that personal feeling and the second I entered senior living dining I knew I’d do it for the rest of my career,” he said. In 2018, Manny became the Dining Room Manager at Friendship Village and was quickly promoted to his current role of Food & Beverage Director. In that time, Manny has seen a lot and has thrived in a trial by fire during the pandemic. For much of the time of COVID, the dining staff has had to make huge adjustments to shifting from dining room service to deliveries to residents’ apartments. It was a necessary shift, but it can also make residents feel isolated and depressed in their apartments during lockdowns and quarantines. “When people you’ve known for years start to decline; you can turn their day around,” he says. “I asked one resident that hadn’t been feeling well lately what he likes and what brightens his day, and he told me, ‘Stewed tomatoes.’ I made him a big plate of stewed tomatoes, took it to his room for free and knocked on his door. It absolutely made his day. That’s the type of stuff that really touches you.” And when things are a more normal at Friendship Village, Manny also excels in making connections with residents to add special touches to their dining experiences and their lives. He takes so much pride in his work…and it shows. “It’s just fun,” says Manny. He loves helping to serve during important moments for residents. Recently he set up a party to help a couple celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and they had a wonderful time. Manny says he lives for those special moments. “My mantra is to pretend as if every resident is one of my parents. If it were my parents, what would I do?” Manny says. Asking himself that question always makes any decision he may be wrestling with at the time a whole lot easier.”

Organization: Right at Home St. Charles

Title/Credentials: Caregiver

Years in Position: 1-3 years

Nominator Message: Marianne will be 81 years old this March. She is an amazing person and caregiver. Marianne is willing to take on any client! She is especially good with dementia clients. Marianne works closely with her clients and their needs, earning their trust, engaging them in activities that they can no longer do on their own, assisting them into the shower and taking them out for lunch. She continues to work 20-30 hours a week and is always willing to help us in a last-minute crunch! She communicates with the office constantly regarding any concerns about her clients, will reply to any message sent with a great attitude! Marianne is also very tech savvy which is amazing at 81 years old! She has also come to many of our events, including the Alzheimer’s walk.

Organization: Frontier Health and Rehab

Title/Credentials: Manager of Social Services, LCSW

Years in Position: 6-10 years

Nominator Message: Mark is the go-to person for answers, help, calmness and tranquility. He is such a good listener and if he doesn’t know the answer, he always knows who does. He always has a smile on his face. His tone of voice just lets you know you are in good hands and you will be taken care of. My job is so much easier with Mark in one of my buildings. I don’t know what we would do without him.

Organization: Ascension Living Sherbrooke Village

Title/Credentials: Director of Dining Services

Years in Position: More than 10 years

Nominator Message: Stacey Long is a wonderful asset to our community for many years. Teamwork is at the center of everything she does. She consistently goes above and beyond. Even though we often tell her to take a day off, she rarely listens. You will find Stacey here almost every day for all three meals. She does everything possible to make a resident’s life full of a higher quality. She knows the importance of dining in each of their lives and strives for perfection in her department. Managing the dietary department during COVID was

no easy task. She made sure to always comply with whatever recommendations came from DHSS and the CDC. She quickly converted her meal service once it was recommended to stop communal dining. Realizing how important that part of each person’s day is, she consistently looked for ways to make their day special. She provided individually bagged snacks for happy hours or activities. She also participated in several associate events to lift their morale. The word “NO” is not in her vocabulary, instead it is what can I do to help. Life at our community is so much better with Stacey!

Organization: Friendship Village Chesterfield

Title/Credentials: Village Care Center Receptionist

Years in Position: 6-10 years

Nominator Message: Veronica is native to Kenya and has worked at Friendship Village for over eight years. She started working as a receptionist in Kenya where she then moved on into marketing, assisting people in different ways. “Hospitality has been my life,” she says. As the receptionist in the Village Care Center, Veronica directs people and phone calls, helps with transportation and care plans, and handles any other details which need needs attention at the front desk. Working in the Care Center requires an extra commitment to helping people who really need to be able to lean on our staff and Veronica always has an extra eye out, looking for what people really need. To Veronica, her job goes way beyond her job description.

During the pandemic, loneliness can be common for everyone, but especially for seniors. Residents can feel isolated, especially during quarantines and lockdowns and this often means not being able to see friends and family as much. So checking in on people is more important than ever. Veronica takes this need to heart. She frequently takes the extra time to go to residents, to visit with them, to listen to them, and to let them know they aren’t alone – Veronica cares about her job and cares about people. It’s a special thing.

“It’s exciting every day,” she says. She has adopted both the residents and employees as family. “I wake up every morning looking forward to come to work,” she says. One of the residents would request to come and sit with her at the reception desk the whole day, virtually every day. Veronica was happy to do it. For another resident, she would visit him every day and sing “You Are My Sunshine” to him to keep his spirits up. Whenever he was feeling down, the nurses would call Veronica and she would sing to

him over the phone. “I made a difference in his life and that’s what makes me happy,” Veronica recalled.

She says the residents fulfill her as much as she cares for them. For five years, she asked one resident on his way to church each Sunday to pray for her, and he always did. On the last Sunday before he passed, he told his family how many countless times he prayed for her at church, and the family even included Veronica in his obituary. Veronica says her life’s motto is that whatever you put out; it will come back to you. And Veronica takes countless opportunities to put goodness into the world.


Silent Auction

The Silent Auction is open now for bidding and will close on March 15!

Check out our amazing items including an autographed hockey stick from St. Louis Blues Right Wing David Perron and an autographed puck from Captain Ryan O’Reilly!

Silent Auction Instructions
  1. Head to our Silent Auction Page.
  2. Click Register for Silent Auction.
  3. Once registered, you’ll get a confirmation screen that includes steps to download the Givi App OR look for the link to skip that and bid online.
  4. If you download the Givi App to your smartphone, you’ll need to enter the special code you received in your confirmation. There will be a small box at the bottom of the app to enter the code.
  5. Once registered, you can browse the silent auction items and bid
  6. Check back regularly to make sure you’re not outbid.
  7. The silent auction will close on March 15 at Noon. Winning bidders will be notified and their cards will be charged

Help us reach our fundraising goal! In 2021, we are launching a free education series for families, residents, and the community to learn more about aging, long-term care, and the resources available. Help us continue this program by making a donation today!


Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Advocate

Champion

Hero

Party Pack Partner

Underwriter

360 Quality Care + Transport Services

Home Instead Senior Care – St. Peters

Friend

Goldilocks Solutions

Midwest Dementia Connection