The VNA and Hospice team at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare provide valuable community care services. Without a doubt, our talented employees are what make this department so special. Karen Madrid, clinical director of Chelsea Jewish VNA/Hospice & Palliative Care, explained it best. “I want to recognize Michele Baker, Lauren Casey, and Kelly Caggiano for all their hard work. They excel in their flexibility in picking up new tasks as well as always going above and beyond for their patients.”
This month we applaud the efforts of this amazing team. Please read below to see who they are and how they define their roles in the organization.
Meet the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare Home, VNA/Hospice & Palliative Care Team
For Lauren Casey, the best part of working as an Occupational Therapist at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, is that every day is different. “I love that I get to meet different patients at their homes, and in a sense, become part of their families,” remarked Lauren. “It’s so gratifying to be told that you have helped change people’s lives.
Growing up in New Jersey, Lauren moved to Massachusetts immediately after she graduated from Quinnipiac University with master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Currently she resides in Melrose with her husband Mike and two beautiful children: Raegan (8) and Brayden (6). In between attending her children’s many sporting games, she finds time to indulge in her passion for running. It is a busy household indeed.
Originally Lauren thought about working in pediatrics, but during her fieldwork she was placed in a SNF and from then on, she was hooked. She realized right away that she enjoyed working with the elderly. Once she joined the Chelsea Jewish Home Care team, she knew she made the right decision. “I haven’t looked back since!” exclaimed Lauren.
When asked what the most aspect in dealing with patients and their families, Lauren didn’t hesitate for a minute. “Good communication is vital,” emphasized Lauren. “ We are there to serve our patients, but we need to instill motivation and confidence. Every patient is different and I have to constantly adapt to who they are –and their specific needs.”
Lauren is impressed how well the VNA team works together. “We have an especially caring group of therapists and nurses,” remarked Lauren. “Everyone seems to have the same goal of getting the job done and doing what’s best for our patients. It’s a winning combination.”
As the mother of three children, Gianna (10), Michael (7) and John (6), Kelly Caggiano manages to combine the demands of a busy job with the needs of an active family. Growing up in Malden, Kelly decided to go into hospice care after her grandfather was in hospice. “It was great to be with him at the end of his life,” said Kelly. “Even though it was a difficult time, it was meaningful to be with him. I realized what an important role hospice plays for both the individual and the family.”
For Kelly, the best part of her job is to the opportunity to meet patients and make sure they are comfortable at the end of their life. “One of the key challenges of hospice care is educating families about medications that can keep their loved one comfortable,” stated Kelly. “It’s important that we educate people about the fact that medication manages symptoms and helps keep patients comfortable.”
Kelly acknowledges that good communication is vital to her job. As she explained, “Our hospice team works so well together because we communicate with each other and work as a team. Everyone here is definitely a team player.” Added Kelly with a smile, “And I truly enjoy working with the hospice team!”
Physical Therapist Assistant
For over 15 years, Michele Baker has worked as a physical therapist assistant in the homecare division pf Chelsea Jewish VNA. It is a job she loves and one she excels in when dealing with patients and families.
“My favorite part of my job is the patients,” admitted Michele.” Every day is different and I love being out in the community. In truth, I have a good rapport with patients and families as I try to bring laughter and consistency to my sessions. Building a strong relationship is key.” Added Michele, “The most difficult part of working in homecare are the snowstorms and parking. It’s a good day if my car doesn’t get towed,” she said with a laugh.
Born and raised in Somerville, Michele and her husband Chris have been married for 19 years They have two beautiful daughters: Maddie (14) and Ally (4). The family currently resides in Dracut. In terms of extended family, there are many family members and frequent get-togethers. In fact, Michele comes from a very large family. Her mom is 1 of 11 children while Michelle is 1 of 7. Unbelievably, Michelle is the 68th grandchild!
For Michele, one of the best aspects of her job is the relationships she has built with staff members. “Many have become my close friends,” said Michele. that I built through work with the staff are amazing. Michele works closely with CNA’s, HHA’s, NSG’s, and housekeepers. “I encourage them to come to me if they are encounter problems with patients or need suggestions as how to make them feel safer, alike feel comfortable speaking to me about a problem their patients may have and we try to work together as a team to make the patient safer. “ Michele emphasized that the staff always puts the patients and their families first. “We work together really well,” said Michele. “It is truly team effort.”