Meet the 2021 LifeSpan Healthcare Heroes:
(click on the photo to see each hero in action)
Angel Cole, Egle Nursing Home
Angel has spent multiple hours reading and learning the COVID guidelines as they arise. She has a great deal of knowledge in her field. Angel goes above and beyond to be sure all staff has the proper training and the most updated information and resources. Angel is available anytime of the day or night to answer questions and support the staff. I, as the Director of Nursing, have placed every ounce of my faith in Angel. She lives and breathes COVID 19 on a daily basis and if you ask Angel any question about COVID 19, the guidelines or about supplies, etc. She will not hesitate to give you an appropriate answer. She has often spoken to residents and family members regarding visitation and upcoming visitation or just giving them a word of encouragement. This short note is just the tip of the iceberg of what a great job Angel does. In short, Angel Cole is our facilities Super hero!!!
From Jeff Metz, NHA, second nominator:
Angel Cole has gone above and beyond for our facility in keeping COVID-19 out of our building. We have had zero residents infected with the virus to date. Angel assisted management in ramping up our infection control protocols and keeping them up to date with the ever-changing regulations. She has assisted with testing employees and residents, coordinating PPE, overseeing employee health, and monitoring all symptomatic residents and employees. She has been an immense help in calming and educating staff on the virus. It is simply nothing short of miraculous that our facility has had zero positive cases among residents at this time and Angel is a primary reason for such. For these reasons we are nominating her for this well-deserved recognition. Thank you for your consideration.
Trudy Tull, Broadmead
From Pushpa Nallabotula, nominator:
Trudy is a Registered nurse that has been working with COVID positive residents ever since we opened the unit. Trudy has demonstrated professional excellence beyond her call of duty. She truly gives all she has in caring for residents and their family members. Trudy took time to connect with staff and shared her wisdom in delivering an exceptional service to these vulnerable residents. She kept an ongoing communication via FaceTime with resident families every time she worked. She is the first person that volunteers each time we have to open the unit and so gracious and humble in delivering that compassionate care we talk about each day. There are many staff heroes that contribute to serving in this area that I would want to name each of them as shining stars, but Trudy with all her heart just walks in and delivers that care that is so special to both residents and their families. I would definitely want to nominate her for this outstanding recognition.
From Ruthie Fishman, nominator:
Joan was on the front lines of this battle from the beginning. Her home was hit hard early on during the pandemic. Joan jumped in and cared for sick residents with very little resources and very limited information at the time. She knew there were risks, but that didn't faze her. She had been working there 20 years and this was her family. Almost all of the residents in our small home got Covid-19, as well as most of the staff, including Joan. When she couldn't work, she moved into an RV trailer we parked outside the home so that she wouldn't take the virus home to her loved ones, and so she continued to help and support us from the parking lot. Joan would sit outside and cheer us on from the side lines. She would cry with us from a distance when another resident was being taken away. As soon as she was cleared to work, she jumped right back into the fire, caring for our sick residents. She helped keep us motivated when it felt like there was little hope. While the hospital staff were getting cheered on and applauded, the news was only showing the bad things happening at nursing homes/assisted living. Like many of our caregivers on the front lines, she is one of the true unsung heroes of this pandemic and I hope more people can hear her story.
From Jeff Kagan, nominator:
Nicci has single handedly managed the COVID policies and procedures as well as outbreaks in all of the Sterling Care facilities. At the height of the pandemic, Nicci would spend hours, at all times of the day and night, reviewing CDC guidelines and reviewing them in detail with our COVID medical director to ensure that the guidance makes sense and can be disseminated to all staff in a clear and concise manner. Further, Nicci had personal discussions with a multitude of staff members to review the pandemic and the policies we instituted to keep our staff and residents as safe and secure as possible and reassure them of what we are doing. Sterling Care is blessed to have Nicci spearhead all of our clinical programs, policies and procedures.
From Alexis Ebsworth, nominator:
Latrisha “Trish” Chambers has worked at Brightview Catonsville in the Wellspring Village dementia care neighborhood for almost nine years. While she has always been a star associate, she went above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure the proper care of residents. After nearly a year of fighting off COVID and protecting our vulnerable residents, this terrible disease forced its way into our community early in December 2020. Almost simultaneously with our first positive resident, the Wellspring Village Director went into labor with her second child and was out on leave. Like many senior living communities during this difficult time, staffing challenges became apparent when an active outbreak occurred in our Wellspring Village. Without a consistent director presence in the neighborhood, those challenges were even more pronounced.
In the face of much fear and uncertainty, Trish stepped up to ensure that all resident needs were met. She led by example; when associates were hesitant to care for COVID-positive residents, Trish was the first to volunteer to go into a COVID-positive apartment. In Wellspring Village, residents living with dementia cannot communicate their needs or feelings as clearly. When new associates worked in the neighborhood, Trish took it upon herself to mentor and introduce them to the Brightview standard of care.
As the outbreak continued and new team members were onboarded, Trish noticed that certain residents struggled with the changes. She worked with the new team members individually to share best practices for caring for each resident. For example, one resident, Mrs. Georgia, was struggling to communicate with associates. Trish would intervene and show them how to speak with her. She taught them to approach her with a “Hi, my Georgia Peach!” and showed them how to ease into care slowly. This method helps associates build trust with Mrs. Georgia to create a more comfortable care relationship.
When a new team member had difficulties with another resident, Trish stepped in once again. She showed them how this resident needed to feel involved in the care process and explained that he was very proud of his prior military service and craved independence. Trish educated her team members more about the disease process of dementia and reassured them in their work. When a new associate felt defeated because she couldn’t understand a particular resident, Trish stepped up to provide care and coached her new team member. They read through the resident’s service plan together, and Trish then showed her colleague how to read the resident’s body language and use those cues. Trish makes it best practice to know all the residents in Wellspring in and out – their likes, dislikes, favorite foods, and music choices. She knows when someone likes to wake up and which residents love western movies.
Trish spends time not only getting to know the residents but connecting with their families. When many families were barred from seeing their loved ones, she took the extra time to connect them to their families through video calls and reassure the family members that their loved ones were receiving the best care possible. Trish also made sure that the families felt assured that their loved ones were never alone.
Trish succeeded during this trying time because she is a natural leader who earns her fellow team members’ respect and trust. She leads with action and setting a positive example. Even in the face of loss, she maintained a positive attitude that helped improve the overall team’s morale. While each of these anecdotes are everyday occurrences, it is the total sum of Trish’s efforts, care, and dedication that make her an invaluable contributor to the Wellspring Village Team, as well as the Brightview Catonsville team. Maya Angelou said, “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” Latrisha has always embodied the spirit of a hero, even before dealing with a life-changing pandemic. The challenges presented by COVID didn’t change how Trish carried herself daily but rather highlighted what a true hero she really is.
From Alexis Ebsworth, nominator:
Jeremiah Hart may not wear a cape or scrubs, but armed with creativity, skill, and a spatula, he leaped over COVID obstacles in a single bound this past year. Jeremiah started with Brightview Severna Park in late 2019 and quickly became a beloved chef in the bistro dining room. He very efficiently prepped and served meals, but he could also extend warmth, courtesy, and kindness to residents who would approach the line, looking for a specialty pizza or sometimes just directions back to their apartment. Jeremiah exhibited highly developed interpersonal skills and excellent judgment, handling every person who approached him with sensitivity. He helped with wayfinding, waited patiently for residents to grapple over what toppings they wanted, and created specialty appetizers to celebrate important resident events. We received specific feedback from family members and residents that Jeremiah’s kindness made them feel as though they were Jeremiah’s only customer.
Then, at the beginning of March, the community recorded their first positive COVID case, and by the end of the month, the entire building was quarantined in their apartments. Jeremiah raised the bar in demonstrating Brightview’s commitment to possibilities, not limitations. His loyalty and dedication to the residents kept him agile in adapting to ever-changing protocols.
Jeremiah started first by working with the Dining Services Director to maintain the quality and flavor of meals while assembling over 205 meals to be delivered daily. What makes Jeremiah and his team exceptional is that they recognized in this world filled with even more uncertainty than usual, giving residents possibilities and choice was crucial. Every night, Jeremiah and the kitchen team developed a menu based on available products (at that time, resources were difficult to secure) and offered a choice between two hot entrees, a cold entree and soup, salad, and dessert.
In addition to a tremendous amount of additional dining duties and stress, Jeremiah made himself available to help residents fight isolation and boredom. To help bring joy to the residents’ day, Jeremiah dusted off his guitar, which he had not played for many years, and slowly started teaching himself how to play residents’ favorite songs. Each week, Jeremiah would set up his guitar and amplifier in the corner of each hallway so residents could open their doors and listen to a thirty-minute musical performance. These concerts were no small feat – Brightview Severna Park has eleven separate hallways! Now, the residents adore him, and he plays weekly in both Independent Living and Assisted Living resident programs. His groupies are quick to tell you they have a heart for Hart!
Jeremiah also made chalk drawings on the empty menu boards with inspirational messages for the associates who came to the bistro to pick up their lunch or dinner every day. After many compliments, Jeremiah was “rewarded” by being asked to create a picture that could be divided into 24 equal squares. The idea was for 24 different residents to paint a tile in their apartment before combining them into one lovely picture. The residents could feel like part of a community despite being separated. He never missed a beat. Jeremiah spent hours at home creating a picture that would be simple enough for novice painters but complex enough to capture a professional look. On his own time, he purchased a computer-aided drawing program and had his brother-in-law teach him how to upload his artwork so it could be equally divided and printed on 24 squares. The painting now hangs in our art room to remind us that we can accomplish anything together.
Jeremiah’s dedication also extended to the associates. Recognizing the strain of COVID on daily tasks, Jeremiah started designing deliciously unique meals for the team using the leftovers from the night before. Leftover meatloaf became a meatloaf Stromboli, leftover chicken comforted the team as chicken and rice enchilada casserole, and leftover pork became a pulled pork tostada. Associates looked forward to seeing what Jeremiah’s creation of the day would be (and still do)!
Jeremiah is a person who makes it his daily mission to serve others, delivering everything we expect from him as a cook and more. He is an exemplar of the total package as a dining team member. His technical skills are superb; his humility and kind nature are exceptional. He sees his work as a means of serving the world, and he is a resounding success in making the world a better place, one interaction at a time.