2019 SCHA Awards
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Position: Program Director
Organization: Irvine Adult Day Health Services
List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Hollis has been working as a professional in the senior field since 2003, graduating with her Masters from Cal State Fullerton’s School of Gerontology. But, her love for seniors and her dedication to their care began when she was a young child. Her grandmother had dementia, and as it advanced, she had to be in a memory care unit. Hollis and her family had to be there often because her grandmother was a champion wanderer, and could also be combative. As Hollis observed the type of treatment available at the time for people like her grandma, she knew that she wanted to find ways to help people in better ways.
She did so after graduating college by working as a memory care director at a few different assisted living communities. She then worked as a geriatric care manager with Dr. Sameh Elsanadi, a geriatric psychiatrist, who mentored her in expanding her clinical knowledge of geriatric care. This led to her teaming up with Dr. Elsanadi to open a placement company, and was so dedicated and compassionate towards her clients, she ended up feeling like many of them were family. And that brings us to her current position as the Program Director for Irvine Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Services.
Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
Hollis credits her personal and professional experience caring for seniors as the best basis for guiding her team at the ADHC. It lets her both understand the needs of the participants, and how to best collaborate with other professionals at the Center to assure we deliver superior, person centered care.
One of the best illustrations of Hollis’ love for seniors came from her time as a care manager. She had a client referred to her by a skilled nursing facility who had initially been thought to be a transient because of his extreme physical deterioration and condition. Hollis started digging and found out he was an award-winning engineer with a home and financial means, but who had slowly slid into a spiral of self-neglect. He’d become a hoarder, was about to be evicted from his home due to the unsanitary conditions, had let all his bills slide and had no one to help him. He’d never married, no children, and had only one sister with whom he had no contact. Hollis immediately put a team together to clean out his home and stop the eviction. She had another team ready to help him with addressing his personal care needs and caregiving, and she helped him mentally adjust to his new situation. “We built a friendship built on trust.” She sat down with him and helped him go through his bills so he could get caught up and not have his utilities turned off. And best of all for his long-term recovery, she felt so connected to him after getting to know his story, she arranged a birthday party for him for his 84th birthday. At the party he told her that it was the first birthday party anyone had ever thrown him.
This experience, and many others, is what Hollis brings to her position at the ADHC. She has taught her team to be advocates for all the participants, to look beyond the surface and find out the back-story. Hollis lives out her life philosophy daily, “I picture myself in every senior we serve, and I think – are we treating him or her the way I would want to be treated?”
We feel certain that they are, Hollis!