Emily Jenkins, RN: Three years ago I made the decision to leave hospital and physician office nursing behind. I spent 10 years in the emergency department, quickly stabilizing and treating patients and moving them out as fast as possible. I then became the Lead nurse at a local practice and found that time was again a factor in care. Fifteen minute office visits didn’t work for me. At home health, time is not a factor. I am able to be with each patient as long as needed. I am able to get to know them, their family and see all the circumstances that affect their health care daily. This job has allowed me to help so many and provide the necessary education so that patients aren’t returning to the hospital or doctor’s office. It has quickly become one of the most satisfying jobs in my career.
Donna Beirholm, LNA: I went back to high school to get my diploma and graduated with one of my daughters. I wanted to go to school to be a nurse but I decided not to because I was told I was going to have to work at a nursing home, and I did not want to do that because that to me, it is the last place people go before they die. The instructor told me that I had the wrong attitude, and that at some point, one little thing that I could do for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves would mean the world to them. I thought, “Sure it will”. It turns out that she was right. I was taking care of a woman who had a stroke and was very weepy and sad. I gave her a shower, fixed her hair, put some jewelry on her and turned her around and said “look in the mirror and see how pretty you are”. Her face lit up with a big smile. That was it- that was my light bulb moment. My friend Mary then told me that I should come and work at Addison County Home Health. She also told me that when you’re with a client you have the time to spend with them and really get to know them. This intrigued me, so I went and put in my application and was hired. Twenty six years later, I’m still here! I love working with elderly patients. I have met so many interesting people over the years. I’ve met the camera man for CBS and I’ve even worked with Ed Sullivan! I worked with the man who worked on the Panama Canal, Airplane Pilots, Bankers, Laundry workers and so on. I help my clients any way I can. I have taken them shopping and out to dinner. For the clients who have no place to go on holidays I bring them home so they don’t have to be alone. I’ve had birthday parties for clients who don’t have anyone to share their birthdays with. I’ve had Carlo fix things for clients and I even took a client to the opening of the new bridge because she was 16 years old when the first bridge was put in. I’ve taken clients out on our boat when we had one. I like having fun and joking around. I have learned a lot by watching and doing. It’s been a great experience and I absolutely love my people! Donna, your dedication to your clients is superior and unmatched. ACHHH and your clients are truly lucky to have you.
Carol Norris: Hi, I’m the guard at the door. I have worked for ACHHH for 18 years and have seen many changes and expansions. I direct calls and messages to clinicians and staff, I manage the front desk and I also act as an information center for the community. Where is this located? And, do you have the number? Even people from out of state who have questions will call about where to find something. I open mail, do Medical Records filing, billing filing and many other tasks around the office. One of my former supervisors that has since retired once said to me that I keep everyone on the straight and narrow and moving forward. Carol, ACHHH is so lucky to have to and we look forward to another 18 years with you. You truly do keep the office in working order and we all appreciate everything to do for the Agency and this Community.
Heather Barry: “I was hired at ACHHH in the spring of 2006 as a data entry clerk with very little knowledge of the most common computer programs. That all changed as I quickly learned and excelled in my new role. I had previously worked in hospitality, so coming to work in an office setting was a huge change for me but all of the wonderful people here at ACHHH made me feel very comfortable - soon I was fitting in like I had been here for years! After a short time, I had built my knowledge in many areas and became an Administrative Assistant and took on the task of maintaining the medical supply inventory. After I mastered those skills, I became the Clinical Administrative Assistant and was able to work directly with all of our wonderful and hardworking clinicians as their support guru. Working with the Hospice Team has been the most rewarding to me; knowing that we are providing families with support and comfort in their most vulnerable times. Seeing the compassion that each of the Hospice nurses show every member of the families they encounter is inspirational. A lot of people either love what they do but hate going to work every because they do not enjoy who they work with, or they hate what they do but do it anyway because of the people they work with. I am lucky to say that I love what I do and look forward to going to work every day because I have great co-workers to boot!”
Carla Tighe was recently honored for her forty years of service at Addison County Home Health and Hospice’s employee appreciation event. She has the longest tenure of any current employee and she is known to have many passions including hockey, travelling, dressing up, teaching, learning, celebrating holidays, ACHHH, her family and of course her patients and this community. Rather than asking one person to honor her with a speech, her coworkers honored her by presenting “40 Reasons Why We Love Carla.” Listed here are just a few of the reasons: “During my first week at ACHHH I complimented Carla on her matching outfit and told her that I loved her Converse sneakers! Well she went right on to share that she has a different colored pair of Converse to match each of her outfits! Her love of “fun” and making people happy is admirable.”-Liz “Carla and her husband have done traveling in their camper to different regions of the US and Canada. Some of these adventures have placed her in settings whereby her path crosses with patients, friends and families we are currently following for care. The world indeed gets smaller with Carla’s exploits. These connections help to decrease the stress in patient’s lives and increase their comfort level with her presence. –Charlene “I love admitting a person for Carla on the weekends knowing I’ll be able to follow the case as it progresses through Carla’s updates! Shows how much she cares and how proud she is of her patient’s accomplishments and of what she does.-Joanna “The size of here heart and depth of her soul is amazing. It is a privilege to say I know Carla”- Deb
Stefanie Wilbur, RN is our evening on-call nurse. She covers over-night emergency visits throughout the entire county, traveling to see patients when they are at their most vulnerable. Her calm demeanor and excellent assessment skills are much valued by her patients and by our agency. Recently, Stefanie was featured in Woman’s Day magazine in an article entitled “These smalltown heroes are helping their communities thrive.” Stefanie is raising her family in Addison County and she noticed that only a few children in town knew how to ski. She approached the principal of the town’s K-8 school and let him know that she wanted to take the whole school skiing. The cost of busing all K-8 students to Pico Mountain for lessons six times was $11,000. The school board supported Stefanie’s program IF she could raise the money herself. One month later she had the necessary funds! Four years later, 98% of eligible students, including children with behavioral or physical challenges, are participating in the program.
Sherry Paquette I have been an employee at Addison County Home Health for over 18 years. One of the reasons I chose to work here at Home Health is my love of the medical field. I also love to work in the clerical field. So when a job opened up in Medical Records; I was so thrilled to get the position. Some other things I love to do are dancing, Zumba, and I love music. I also love to play my new drums. I feel you’re never too old to Rock On!! It’s been so rewarding working with so many devoted and wonderful people. I’m always amazed at the dedication to the Agency the employees have shown over the years. I’ve always been so impressed at the knowledge our staff has. Our clinical staff is so hard working. I love working with all of them. Our medical records department has accomplished so much over the past years. Our department at one time received all incoming referrals and entered all information into the computer to establish the patient. We handled all the paper work and organized all the charts. We have over the past year integrated our charts into the electronic record. We have also entered and sent over 8,000 charts to an outside storage facility. We have accomplished so much. I have loved my job for all of my time here and hope to be here for many more years.
Laura Dame, Hospice nurse for Addison County Home Health & Hospice agency, entered her profession after marrying and starting a family. Her mother had cancer after Laura’s first son was born, and she died 3 years later in Hospice care. Laura made the promise to her mom that she would go back to school to become a nurse. Three and a half years later she graduated with an Associates Degree from Vermont Technical College and went on to get her LPN and RN, graduating with honors. She worked at Helen Porter Nursing Home for 2 years in ARCH rooms before applying to join the ACHHH team. She was offered a spot on the Hospice nursing team, which today consists of 6 Hospice nurses and a social worker – the very same social worker who worked with her mother during her illness. Laura feels her job is an “honor”, as she is invited into a person’s home as a guest during the worst of times to focus on patient comfort, and often trains the family on how they can also provide care to the patient in need. She feels she has done her job well when she can leave a patient with a laugh and smile and close to pain free. People often ask Laura how she can do her job in Hospice. Her response: “A person has one chance to die, and if I can help them be more comfortable throughout that process, I can feel good in having done my best job.” By focusing on the positive, Laura makes a difference for many. Thank you, Laura.