The Champions of Caring program spotlights team members who provide above and beyond care that makes a special difference in the lives of their patients and their loved ones.
Gloucester, Va. – Kelsea Sprouse, LPN can’t explain exactly why, but when she volunteered to escort one of her Riverside Convalescent Center – Saluda residents living with dementia to a doctor’s appointment in Richmond, “something told me to drive myself, to follow the transport and have my own car with me,” Sprouse said. And she was glad she did. The hired transport service dropped the resident off at the wrong doctor’s office. “Since I had my car with me, I put him in my car, figured out where he needed to be and got him there, and back home later, myself,” Sprouse said. “Had he been by himself, given his dementia, it could have been very dangerous for him.”
For her kindness far and above the call of duty, Sprouse was named the Riverside Champion of the Year for the Middle Peninsula. She was among more than 90 Riverside team members from the region recognized for having been nominated four or more times in 2018 as a Champion of Caring or who were named the monthly Champion for their facility.
The Riverside Champions of Caring program aims to honor the “above and beyond” care that makes a difference in the lives of patients and their families. The nomination process offers patients, family members and friends the opportunity to tell a story about their experience and thank a special Riverside caregiver – encouraging those who dedicate themselves to the delivery of outstanding health care for the community.
Across the entire Riverside Health System, a total of 7,064 nominations were submitted in 2018.
“We make a promise to our patients to keep them safe, be kind, help them heal and respect their wishes,” said Esther Desimini, Vice President and Administrator of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital and its services on the Middle Peninsula. “To be a Champion of Caring means you have gone above and beyond in being kind and compassionate. When you are kind and compassionate, it spreads like perfume all around you.”
Martin Billups, a Protection Officer at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, has spent his career in service having retired from the U.S. Army before joining Riverside two years ago. “I want to give back in as many ways as I can while I’m still healthy,” Billups said, explaining that as a protection officer he helps secure the hospital, maintain order, give patients and families directions and help wherever they are needed. “I can’t seem to get away from putting on a uniform and serving people.” Billups sees his job as helping ease the stress of patients arriving at the hospital and believes that’s why he was nominated as a Champion of Caring.
“I’m often the first person to see patients and their families when they arrive at the hospital,” Billups said. “I try to read their body language and know what they need before they even ask. If I can help people as soon as they arrive to the hospital, helping ease their stress, it makes for a better experience for the patient. It means I can help send them to the doctor in a good mood and the positive effects of that can snowball for their entire visit.”
Lorna Eriksen, RN of Surgical Services at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital helps screen patients getting ready for surgery and helping lead total joint replacement patients through education on what to expect as they recover. The one Champion of Caring nomination Eriksen recalled receiving in 2018 involved helping fellow nurses prepare a physically and mentally disabled patient for a procedure. But it’s every day that she lives the Riverside care difference, she said.
“I’ve been with Riverside for more than 30 years and their mission to care for others as we would care for those we love has been my driving force as a nurse throughout my entire career,” Eriksen said. “For example, sometimes, at the end of a long day, you just want to go home and maybe not do that one last thing. But I always think, if that patient were my family, I’d want someone to do that one last thing for them. So you do it. Always. Riverside has a high level of integrity and compassion and this program really illustrates that.”
Published: May 6, 2019