2019 SCHA Awards
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Position: Patient Advocate
Organization: Sanctuary Transitions and Hospice
List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Charisse was raised as a military daughter whose Father served in the U.S. Navy.
She learned the importance and benefits of health care, and how accessible it was to members and their families.
It was a privilege to have covered insurance while growing up as a child, and she felt like it was a missing piece that should continue on as part of her life.
Although, most of her cousins majored in a clinical or nursing background, Charisse, who became a single Mother at 18, received an Associates in Applied Science degree in commercial/residential building codes and design.
At the age of 22, she expressed her marketing talents in leasing property management buildings, (while trying to maintain housing for herself and her son).
Torn between what she was “successful in”, she always yearned to be a part of the healthcare industry.
Ultimately, providing for her child was her first priority, so she set aside her goal for some years to come.
Occasionally, her 9-5 was signing temporary housing contracts for traveling nurses, as she envied their duties being able to “care” for others in a noble way.
She studied and became a licensed health insurance agent in 2009, helping patients select a proper policy for any future health conditions, (while hoping to receive additional income to make ends meet).
During this transition, she was also enrolled in AU online courses to earn a BA in Mass Communications/Public Relations.
Then in 2016, Charisse completed her certification for HIPAA, and was finally recruited as a Community Liaison, for a Skilled Nursing Facility in Orange County.
With her combined experience in occupying rental buildings and insurance license, her skills and passion led her to assist in admitting senior patients who were in need of physical therapy, wound care, LTC, and recovery from illnesses or surgery.
Surprisingly, she still felt a connection was missing.
After 3 years of building relationships and meeting other healthcare professionals, she realized the value of the Medicare Hospice benefit. Not only is it 100% coverage for patients 65+, but that it was lacking a demand throughout certain “untouched” communities.
Charisse’s determination has opened doors within the surrounding Long Beach, Lakewood and Los Alamitos areas.
Patients and their loved ones are overjoyed with such a beautiful, yet overlooked resource. She empowers and educates a program that is designed to offer hope and comfort to terminally ill patients.
Families and physicians cannot be more satisfied with Sanctuary Transitions and Hospice, and the feedback received from these accounts are a positive impression.
Because of her outlook on the significance of healthcare values, more seniors (including their families) will be able to feel a restoration of dignity and a sense of personal fulfillment.
Her daily reminder is that she feels blessed to have the dedication, health, and heart to do what she loves as a livelihood.
“The most satisfying and rewarding moments of senior care, is being considered as “one of the family members” of your own trusted clients.
I reflect back to some of the sacrifices and adjustments I made in my career.
Now, I am where I want to be, and I can only grow from here”.
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.
Charisse met a resident who was eligible for hospice care while he was living at an Assisted Living Community in Orange County.
This lovely man, we will name, “Bill”, (who did not have any family members present), suffered from malnutrition, a history of bladder cancer, and other infections that made it challenging for him to function the normal ADL.
She was introduced to him by the Community Liaison, who worked very closely with her residents and always catered their every need and requests.
Bill trusted the situation and allowed Charisse an initial visit to explain the benefits and services of her program. Although he was not mentally ready, she did not give up right there, nor did she try to “rush” the process for him.
Immediately, Charisse felt he just needed companionship, support, and someone to help uplift his hope for the unknown future.
She removed her business hat, and remembered that part of Senior Care is also empathizing and being on the same humanity level as the client.
Bill was emotional about not being able to remember fond memories about his past, and mentioned how much he missed writing about beautiful things.
Sometimes the pain from his condition was unbearable, he just wasn’t motivated at times.
On a scheduled day off, Charisse surprised Bill on a Saturday morning, and brought a gift for him.
He opened it and was thankful to receive a fresh, blank journal with encouraging quotes printed on every page.
“Now this can help you write things down anytime a memory comes to mind from the past. You can also share your creative ideas and write down all the beautiful things this world has to offer”.
Bill and Charisse kept in touch thereafter, and she plans to take time away from her LA County region to visit him in OC, especially with the holidays approaching soon.