The event included a presentation that detailed the history of homecare in northeast Connecticut, tracing the roots of today’s Day Kimball HomeMakers, Day Kimball HomeCare, and Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut all the way back to the region’s first visiting nurse, Esther Wells, who began caring for people in their homes in 1919.
The celebration continued with an award presentation of several “Hero at Home” awards honoring Day Kimball In-Home Care staff for providing exceptional patient care along with a “Hero for Homecare" award presented to a healthcare partner who advocates for Homecare and promotes collaborative patient care across the continuum.
“Hero at Home” awards were presented to: Susan Antonelli RN, CHPN, Hospice & Palliative Care; Nancy Severs, Physical Therapy Assistant, HomeCare; Donna Hendrickson, Administrative Assistant, HomeCare; Alecia Fontaine, RN, “Remarkable Rookie,” Hospice & Palliative Care; Faye Logee, Personal Care Aide/Homemaker, HomeMakers; Kelly Percy, Home Health Aide, HomeCare; and Michael Peterson, Personal Care Aide/Homemaker, HomeMakers. The “Hero for Homecare” award was presented to Denise Oles, RN, CCM, CCDS, Day Kimball Hospital Case Management.
DKH In-Home Care Executive Director Renee Smith, Dr. Joseph Botta of Botta & Associates and Ann Hinchman of the Friends of Hospice Committee each spoke to the advanced, high quality care that these services have grown into today and the tremendous impact they have on people’s lives.
“Even though our organization has changed a great deal over the years, our love for what we do and our commitment to the community has as always remained the same. Our dedication to providing the highest quality in-home care possible is not only evident in the skill and compassion of our employees, but is also reflected in our ability to keep people where they want to be the most, in the comfort of their own homes,” Smith said.
She continued, “Our agency’s score for preventing avoidable re-hospitalizations, a quality measure found on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Home Health Compare website, is significantly better than both state and national averages, as well as other competing agencies serving our region, and this is something we are extremely proud of.”
Dr. Botta spoke to the value of homecare and hospice for patients, saying, “The most important part of health care is at home. We keep people at home with prevention. You, our dedicated home health care providers, prevent minor and major catastrophes in the homes of our patients every day, and what you do is so important. You are at the center of the patients’ care, coordinating all of their needs. Not only do you prevent illness but you provide our patients with a quality of life by giving them freedom and dignity. There really is no way to measure the impact that has on a person’s life.”
Speaking about the history and impact of hospice and palliative care in the region Hinchman said, “Hospice began 50 years ago this year in London. In 1974, Connecticut began its first hospice in New Haven which was the first hospice program in the United States and since then we have worked diligently to build the program here in our corner of the state. We have done tremendous work during that time but there is still so much work to be done, as patients are not taking advantage of this kind of care soon enough. It is important that patients understand that hospice does not mean a time to die, it is a time to help the patient and their family to live!”
In addition to the awards ceremony and speaking program, a historical display showcased a half-century of home health care memorabilia preserved through the years including local in-home care equipment, news bulletins and other items from years past. The event concluded with a touching slide show of hundreds of photos of Day Kimball home health care providers and patients over the years that served to illustrate the many important ways these health care providers help to improve people’s lives each and every day.