LANSING | The Health Care Council of Illinois, Illinois Health Care Association and the Illinois Council on Long Term Care recently announced their 2013 selection of Heroes in Long Term Care at nursing facilities throughout the state. Wendell Smith, a resident at Tri-State Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lansing, has been honored as a Hero in Long Term Care for his dedication to providing the highest quality of life for residents at the facility.
The annual program highlights the hard work of nursing home staff in Illinois, such as nurses, administrators, building maintenance workers, laundry attendants and activity staff, as well as the contributions of facility residents and volunteers.
“From the minute residents wake up to when they go to bed at night, nursing home staff work to make their days brighter,” Pat Comstock, executive director of Health Care Council of Illinois, said. “Many residents aren’t able to get out in the community, so staff becomes a part of the resident’s family.”
Smith has been brightening the lives of the staff and residents since he became a resident at Tri-State Nursing and Rehabilitation Center several years ago.
“Mr. Smith is quick to provide inspirational words to anyone who is feeling down or frustrated by his or her situation,” Human Resources Director Ryan Schwamlien said. “His favorite phase, ‘still perking,’ has caught on and brings smiles to the residents’ and staffs’ faces whenever someone uses it. Mr. Smith loves to write poetry and shares his poems with residents and staff who need a lift or are celebrating a special event in their lives. His greatest dream is to become a published poet.”
“Nursing home staff truly represent the heart and soul of long term care in Illinois,” David Voepel, executive director of the Illinois Health Care Association, said. “Heroes in Long Term Care are people who go above and beyond to make sure nursing home residents have the best possible quality of life.”
Nursing home professionals work in a unique environment that demands technical skills along with incredible amounts of compassion. They care for frail, vulnerable and elderly citizens who not only need around-the-clock medical care, but also a place to call home.
“These individuals are committed to optimizing the health, outlook and well-being of the residents we serve,” Susan Duda-Gardiner, interim director of the Illinois Council on Long Term Care, said. “For that, we’re deeply grateful and hopeful their communities will celebrate their dedication.”