Heroes of Caregiving
2018 National Winner
Caregiver: Deb Blank
Frederick County, MD
Owners: Carole and Steve Luber
Right at Home Frederick County owner, Carole Luber describes the incredible impact that Deb had on one of their younger clients; a gentleman named Rich who had become disabled from MS. As his health deteriorated, Rich was quick to turn away caregivers who tried to care for him. Through a love of music, Deb was able to connect with Rich and form a bond that would allow her to give him the care that he needed and the companionship that he had been lacking.
One morning, during her shift, Deb thought that Rich seemed weaker and less talkative than usual. Instead of waiting until her scheduled evening shift to go back and help get him ready for bed, Deb chose to use her own time to return to his home to check in on him. Upon arrival, Deb discovered that Rich had lost all motor strength in his arms and legs and was slumped over with his head and arms hanging down to the floor. Rich was barely conscious. Alone, Deb was able to pull up his limp body, transfer him into his bed and call 911. Rich was hospitalized and sent to rehab. Deb saved Rich’s life that day. While keeping her clients safe in their homes, Deb has also brought purpose to her client’s lives. With skill, heart and humor, Deb has given so much to her community and to Right at Home.
2017 National Winner
Caregiver: Sherilee Hopper
Owners: Linda and Terry Rogers
Sherilee has a positive outlook on life, and helping others is intrinsic to her personality. When she begins working with a client, she becomes personally invested in their welfare. For example, Sherilee was taking care of a client who was going blind and had no desire to leave the house. She was having difficulty finding a way to connect with him, as he was withdrawing into himself.
Sherilee loves being a caregiver because she can spend one-on-one time with clients and learn from their knowledge and experience. She resides in a small town and gives back to her community — last Thanksgiving, she cooked eight turkeys in her own kitchen so others could have a home-cooked holiday meal. During snowstorms, she will walk, drive a tractor or hitch a ride on a snow plow to get to her clients.
Sherilee is dedicated to providing the best possible care for her clients. National Caregiver of the Year Sherilee Hopper of Jeffersonville, Ind. For example, a client who was diabetic was having difficulty controlling his blood sugar with medication and recommended diet. Sherilee did her own research on the best diet for him and bought specific cookbooks so she could address his dietary needs when she prepared meals for him. Sherilee believes that a person’s diet is central to their well-being.
Sherilee finally started talking about her garden. The client became interested in this, so she assisted the client with planting his own garden. Even though he was losing his eyesight, the thought of being outside and working in the dirt again pleased him. When the plants started to grow, Sherilee and her client sat outside and talked about the garden. Before long, the client had tomatoes, green peppers and squash, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Sherilee says that every person needs a purpose and reason to live.
2016 National Winner
Caregiver: Marie Hargain
Owners: Nick and Darlene Bosco
Hargain started at Right at Home of Ocean County as a part-time Certified Home Health Aide and within a year worked her way up to a full-time position. Currently, she is a Senior Staff Aide, a position she has held for more than five years.
Hargain devotes herself to her clients and provides the best care possible for them. She is immediately able to assess her clients’ care needs and involves office staff if those needs are not being met. Hargain has an ability to bond with clients and adapts her way of caring to their ever-changing needs.
Hargain’s caregiving skills and compassion have a positive impact on every client. When a client is admitted to a local facility, she will find personal time to cheer them up with a visit. She often brings treats to her clients on their birthdays or just to lift their spirits.
Hargain’s soft and reassuring voice has been known to calm even the most agitated client during the most trying circumstances. In fact, there have been many times Right at Home has sent her to a home to observe a reported issue and demonstrate the best solution to the aide on the case. Hargain’s superior skills are a great asset to the business, as new and inexperienced aides have been able to shadow her and learn the proper way to care for clients.
Hargain’s ability to lead and instruct inexperienced aides sets an example, as they can learn from her and aspire to be the best aides possible. She is trained and approved to work with a Medicare-contracted agency and has a wonderful rapport with their nurses and staff. Many of Hargain’s Medicare clients have signed on privately due to the positive experience she has provided. Hargain also provides hospice care through Medicare and privately with Right at Home where she is known for her compassion and respect as she comforts those in need.
Improving the Lives of Those We Serve
The Right at Home Caregiver of the Year Award will honor the caregiver who provides excellent service to our clients every day. The winner of this award will exemplify the Right at Home Mission: To improve the quality of life for those we serve.
Nominees must demonstrate one or more of the following characteristics:
- Clearly demonstrate empathy and compassion toward those receiving care.
- Ability to relate to and interact with care recipients and other care providers in ways that encourage the growth and development of all.
- Skilled in performing their caregiving duties.
- Participation in continuing education programs.
- Willingness to take on extra shifts when asked.
In order to be considered for this award, the caregiver must:
- Be employed with Right at Home for 1 year or more.
- Have had no unexcused absences or tardiness in the last year.
- Thoroughly follow and document their client’s care plan.
- Encourage others to work for Right at Home.
- Positively represent Right at Home in the community.
- Appreciate diversity and cultural differences.
- Possess knowledge of the caregiving field, including knowledge and use of community resources and services.