Chautauqua County Home Care Association presents awards at annual dinner

STOCKTON?-To celebrate National Home Care Month, the Chautauqua County Home Care Association honored employees and guests recently gathered at the Stockton Grill in Stockton for their annual dinner and employee recognition.

The County Home Care Association is a coalition made up of the county’s home care agencies: Accredited Care, Aftercare, Amedisys, Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc., Caregivers, Hospice, Hultquist Place, New Visions, PSA Healthcare, TLC Health Network, Venture Forth, Visiting Nurse’s Association, the WCA Home, and Willcare, as well as the Department of Social Services CASA unit and the Office for the Aging.

As a group that holds monthly meetings, the members work to improve recruitment and retention of health care workers, share ideas and network with one another to make improvements in the delivery of home health care. The annual dinner provides special recognition to employees throughout the county for exemplary service to their agencies and their patients.

The group of local agencies work collaboratively with the county Department of Social Services and the Office for the Aging to provide the home care services to those individuals in need throughout the county. Home Care has proven to be an especially effective and economical way to meet the health care needs of many individuals. Members are available to speak to groups and share information about home care and services that are available. The association also presents two scholarships each year to potential nursing school graduates from JCC.

The evening was highlighted by keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Putnam. Dr. Putnam is the medical director of Hospice Chautauqua County and is the only board-certified physician in Hospice & Palliative Medicine in the county. The Certificate in Hospice and Palliative Medicine is designed to recognize excellence among certified family physicians who emphasize care of the critically ill and dying, based on expanding scientific knowledge about controlling symptoms when a cure is not possible. He shared his insights on the role he envisions Palliative Care will play in the future of healthcare.

The presentation of the Annual Service Award followed. Dawn Eckstrom, president of the association, made the presentation. The Service Award is given to someone whose hard work, special efforts and creative ideas have improved the delivery of home care and health care services. This year the award went to Marge Jordan, RN, WNY Home Care Director for the NYS Department of Health. Marge began her career in 1986 at the state level and devoted herself from that time forward to being current and proactive in the rules and regulations that govern our agencies. Her insight and knowledge has been invaluable. She was highly honored by the group for her accessibility, compassion, kindness and her enthusiasm to keep our communities safe. Her devotion to home care will be missed as she has very recently retired her position.

For those agencies that participated in the annual event this year, an “Employee of the Year” is identified by each provider. The employee is then honored at the dinner, and receives a certificate for outstanding service from each of their respective agencies:

Accredited Care – Jessica DeJesus, HHA

Aftercare – Janice DeLeon, LPN & Jennifer Lang, HCSS / PCA

Caregiver’s – Betty Miller, HHA

Chautauqua Opportunities – William DeWeese, HHA

Hospice – Laurie Intihar, HHA & Tina Wood, LPN

Hultquist Place – Kathy Walrod, HHA

Lake Shore LTHHCP – Stephanie Kovacs, RN

New Vision Services – Debra Larsen, HCSS / PCA

Visiting Nurse’s Association – Sherrie Berg, HHA

WCA Home – Syrina Drummond, PCA

“Each agency has an opportunity to honor an employee who has exemplified what every agency hopes their caregiver will provide its patients – consistent demonstration of commitment to their jobs, productivity and compassion,” stated Anne Massar, RN, committee chairperson.