Thursday, July 21, 2016

Assisted Living Caregivers Named the Nation’s Best: NCAL Awards Program recipients announced

The nation’s best assisted living employees this year come from Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia. Today, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) announced the recipients of the 2016 NCAL Awards Program, which recognizes caregivers in four distinct categories who demonstrate exceptional work in the assisted living profession. The four categories of the NCAL Awards Program are administrator, nurse, noble caregiver, and National Assisted Living Week® program of the year.

“Each of the NCAL Award winners exemplify what it means to go ‘above and beyond the call of duty’,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “NCAL is honored to pay tribute to the extraordinary, selfless work of these recipients, and we hope their passion inspires others to pursue a career in assisted living.”

The four award recipients are:

Administrator of the Year: Carmy Jerome at Aspen House Memory Care Assisted Living, in Loveland, Colorado;
Assisted Living Nurse of the Year: Stephanie Lavigne at Machias Maine Veterans’ Homes in Machias, Maine;
Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living: Angela Humes at Dogwood Village Senior Living in Orange, Virginia.; and
National Assisted Living Week Program of the Year: Brandywine Senior Living Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey.

As the executive director of Aspen House Memory Care Assisted Living, Jerome has demonstrated a unique commitment to promoting and offering a person-centered care environment. With 40 residents living with dementia, Jerome focuses on exhausting every alternative before seeking medicinal intervention when a resident presents challenging behaviors. She also researches each resident’s personal history to discern preferences and interests. The respect that Jerome has earned among her stuff is what has contributed to the community’s 30 percent reduction in staff turnover. NCAL’s state affiliate, the Colorado Health Care Association, named Jerome Administrator of the Year in 2014. She also currently serves on the NCAL Board of Directors as an at-large representative.

Lavigne is the residential care director for the Maine Veterans’ Home at Machias, a 30-bed memory care assisted living community in the Pine Tree State. Her desire to learn and implement new evidence-based practices has prompted culture change, improved resident safety, and increased resident and family satisfaction. One area in which her leadership has improved the lives of residents is the dramatic reduction in the off-label use of antipsychotics. Some of the changes Lavigne implemented were as simple as decreasing noises from alarms and call bell systems as well as offering more ambient lighting, which improved residents’ sleep and reduced wandering. Lavigne also worked with nursing staff to offer residents iPods with their favorite music and adult coloring classes in the afternoon when many residents experience sundowning symptoms. In 2015, Maine Veterans’ Home named her employee of the year.

Humes has worked at Dogwood Village Senior Living for 35 years as a certified nurse assistant and registered medication aide. Her passion to care for her residents is evident by her intimate knowledge of their preferences and ability to anticipate their needs. On her days off, Humes volunteers by taking residents to their appointments, shopping, or out for their birthdays. Her coworkers consider her positive energy, effective communication skills, and devotion to teamwork to be a real motivator. She is frequently asked to mentor new employees and consistently assumes responsibility to assure the best quality care practices are in place for residents. Dogwood Village says that when residents pass away, the community often receives notes from residents’ loved ones, thanking Humes for going above.

The staff members of Brandywine Senior Living Princeton created an enriching National Assisted Living Week® for its residents, seamlessly capturing the 2015 theme “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body and Spirit.” The week was chockfull of unique events organized by the community, including a Tai chi demonstration right in the heart of downtown Princeton, an intergenerational event with first grade students and baby farm animals, and wellness checkups with the community’s nursing and therapy staff. The Brandywine community also brought in service dogs to demonstrate the benefits of pet therapy and a held fundraiser for the Princeton Parkinson’s Alliance. Perhaps most notably, residents and staff members participated in a video to the tune of Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” which was featured on the local news.

The award winners will be recognized Oct. 16, 2016, at a special awards ceremony during the 10th Annual NCAL Day, held as part of the 67th Annual AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo.

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