Right at Home’s Caregiver of the Year award program publicly recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of a select group of caregivers who selflessly deliver extraordinary care to Right at Home clients. During the nomination period, Right at Home franchisees recognized 90 caregivers for their outstanding service. The nominations were narrowed to 20, and a selection committee consisting of three senior care and caregiver advocates selected four regional winners and a national winner.
Right at Home is thrilled to announce Russ Hatten as the National Caregiver of the Year! Russ has been a caregiver with the Right at Home office in Bloomington, Minnesota, since January 2002. The franchise office is owned by Paul Blom and Bob White.
Whether he is sending cards, visiting a client in the hospital, bringing ice cream to a home-bound client or making someone laugh, Russ puts his heart and soul into bringing joy to his clients and co-workers.
According to the Bloomington office staff, Russ is reliable, compassionate, trustworthy and charming. Their clients agree. One client said, “I was so touched that he spent all day at the veterans’ hospital with my husband and me because I was telling him how overwhelming it is for me. Russ’s kindness and support is so appreciated.”
Russ is always on time for shifts, fills in for others and is available to work overnights, weekends and holidays. He treats everyone with respect and courtesy. Russ works well in difficult situations – those who are in hospice, who are combative or who have mental health challenges. When he is placed with a client who has multiple caregivers, Russ is a team player and fosters a sense of community around caring for the client. He also participates in the office’s events and trainings, and calls the office when he has a question or feels he doesn’t have enough knowledge about a client’s situation. “When appropriate, Russ seeks out opportunities to connect with family members of clients so he can serve the client better or bring an issue to the forefront,” said Leanne Esch, L.S.W., who submitted the nomination form. “He is a valued member of the Right at Home family.”
Russ has had quite an impact on the clients he has served. For example, a client named Rosie initially hired Right at Home to provide one three-hour shift per week. Russ filled the shift and quickly grew to be indispensable to her. As Rosie’s health deteriorated, she added hours. By the end of her life, Russ was staying overnight because her family didn’t want her to be alone. “He became a vital part of Rosie’s life, and she wanted him near her for as much time as he could give,” said Leanne. “Russ brought a genuine joy to her in the last days of her life.”
Russ also worked with another client who was strong-willed, mute and sometimes quarrelsome. “Russ showed him respect and patience, and was one of his only advocates,” Leanne said. When the client moved an hour away and stopped services, Russ made an effort to visit him on his own time so he would see a familiar face.
Russ traveled to Glendale, Arizona, to accept the National Caregiver of the Year award during the company’s annual meeting. “I never dreamed this would happen,” he said. “This is the greatest honor of my lifetime.” His wife, Nancy, accompanied him. While in Glendale, the couple attended portions of the annual meeting, shopped and had dinner with Right at Home corporate staff and franchisees Paul Blom and Bob White.
Paul and Bob were thrilled upon learning that Russ had been named the National Caregiver of the Year. “Russ is a fantastic person,” Paul said. “He is the perfect brand ambassador for our company, and we are proud and pleased that he is being recognized for his exceptional, compassionate service to our clients.”
Russ’s dedication to his clients, conscientiousness and infectious personality are just a few of the reasons why he is Right at Home’s 2015 National Caregiver of the Year. A client summed it up best, “Russ is just a wonderful man who really cares about and enjoys helping others.” Congratulations, Russ!