Front-line health workers have been lauded as the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic – and rightly so. Canada Cares is pleased to recognize these outstanding professional caregivers.
Elizabeth Hrappstead, Alberta
Elizabeth is a homecare nurse who cares for post-surgery patients once they’ve been discharged from hospital. Her role includes making initial contact with clients, managing and administering their care and helping them to recover at home. Elizabeth also mentors new nurses during practicums to assess their potential for the role of homecare provider. Her nominator says Elizabeth’s professional and caring attitude make her very popular with clients and coworkers alike.
Twin Bridges NPLC, Ontario
At Twin Bridges Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic an interdisciplinary team of registered nurses, dieticians and counsellors cares for more than 3,200 registered patients plus hundreds of community members who access a wide variety of free in-person and virtual programs. When the pandemic began, the clinic more than doubled its staff to take on the additional role of COVID-19 Assessment Centre for the local and surrounding communities. Based on a unique model led by nurse practitioners, the Assessment Centre has served more than 60,000 people, providing testing and treatment referrals five days a week. Staff have demonstrated great resilience and worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to provide community members with excellent service and the most up to date information.
Carmen Gamayo, Quebec
Carmen looked after Morris in his home for over a decade. He passed away from cancer last summer at age 99 and she continues to care for his wife Yolande, who has lived with Parkinson’s for over 25 years. Their daughter Patti says her father would not have lived as long as he did and would not have been able to die at home with dignity without Carmen’s dedicated care. Similarly, she feels she would have lost her mother years ago if it weren’t for Carmen who she says has always cared for both of her parents like they were her own.
Alice Semple, British Columbia
Alice is a professional caregiver who provides in-home care to clients with a wide range of challenges or disabilities. Her clients include seniors who live alone and require one-on-one care and companionship, people recovering at home after traffic or workplace accidents, and clients with living with mental health concerns who need assistance with day-to-day tasks or outings. Her nominator says she works long hours, never complains and just keeps going, even on her days off. She says Alice is just a very genuine and caring human who is doing what she was born to do.
Sara Bartsch, Ontario
Sara cares for residents of the Meadows Retirement Community. When COVID hit, she assumed many additional roles to assist residents during lockdown. For example, she picked up groceries on her own time for those who couldn’t and she learned hairdressing by watching videos at night so she could cut and style residents’ hair during her breaks. Remarkably, Sara still finds time to volunteer at a nearby hospice. It’s fair to say that she’s a caregiver who goes above and beyond, which is why she’s loved by residents and co-workers alike.
Billie-Jo Madill-McKenzie, Manitoba
Billie-Jo is an activities staff member at Marjorie Green/Dinsdale Personal Care Home where she works with residents in small groups and one-on-one. Always bubbly and welcoming, she takes the time to get to know each resident so she can talk to them about the things they care about. Marge, a resident in the later stages of a degenerative brain disease who has lost her ability to speak full sentences, lights up when Billie-Jo engages with her. Assuming she has dementia, most people don’t take the time to listen and try to understand her. But Billie-Jo talks to Marge with enthusiasm and patience, asking her yes and no questions and waiting for a response. If she could speak, this former psychiatric nurse and strong advocate for humane aging would say Billie-Jo is a stellar example of an empathetic caregiver.
Lily Kampferseck, Ontario
Lily is a spiritual care provider for residents at long-term care facility, Spruce Lodge. She provides emotional and spiritual support to residents as they adjust to living in long-term care and eases their transition to palliative and end of life care. Her supervisor says she personifies the meaning of resident focus, always putting residents’ needs first and ensuring their dignity and quality of life. She shares many intimate and heart-wrenching moments with residents and their families, always exhibiting grace and strength, and goes out of her way to transfer her knowledge and experience to co-workers, challenging them to be the best they can be.
Penticton and District Society for Community Living, British Columbia
Staff of PDSCL are dedicated to providing support and services to people with intellectual disabilities, seniors, low-income adults and families in Penticton and surrounding communities. This is exemplified by the quality, compassionate care they provided to David for nine years until he was moved to a long-term care facility. David lives with multiple head injuries and related cognitive challenges and mood swings. In keeping with the PDSCL mission to “enhance the lives of people we serve,” staff worked diligently to meet all of David’s personal care needs and provided the exceptional psychosocial support that allowed him to live with dignity as he aged and slowly lost his mobility. They also eased his eventual transition to long-term care and continue to help him get out into the community where he takes part in events and group activities that enhance his quality of life.
Canada Cares is a program of the Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF), a registered charity. CAF envisions an inclusive, universally accessible society where all people belong and are valued. Our mission is to make Canada the most accessible and caring country in the world through advocacy, awareness building and sharing of best practice solutions.