When Holly Macrae talks about her job at Maine Veterans’ Homes, you hear compassion, pride and spunk. Her positive, “can-do” attitude is infectious -- not only to her fellow staff but to the veterans in recovery that she works with each day.
“It’s always been more than a job to me,” Holly says.
And that’s exactly why she was nominated and selected as the winner of Maine Veterans’ Homes 2017 Corporate Value Award of Excellence.
Holly’s Passion for the Elderly
“I’ve always had a passion for older people,” says Holly, a social worker at MVH in Scarborough. “I enjoy spending time with them. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Holly, who has been with MVH for four years, has a Master of Social Work degree and 10 years experience in geriatric social work. She’s also pursuing her Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) degree, which she hopes to complete next year.
At MVH in Scarborough, Holly primarily works within the skilled nursing rehabilitation center. She works one-on-one with veterans and their families to develop a safe discharge plan for going home after recovery or rehab at MVH.
Based on the veterans’ needs, she may be coordinating physical, occupational and speech therapy, at-home resources for meals, transportation, equipment and emotional needs, and nearly anything else the veteran may need to make a safe and healthy transition home.
“I am there to help them pull it all together,” Holly says. “I want them to know they are not alone.”
Holly says the transition from hospital to skilled nursing to home is often overwhelming for the veterans and their families, from navigating the complicated healthcare system to lining up the needed care.
“I want to really listen to what they want and need, and this varies from person to person and family to family. It’s person-centered care, and I see myself as their advocate,” she says.
The discharge planning process at MVH is multifaceted and a collaborative effort, something Holly truly loves.
“On a daily basis, I am very moved by the little moments - the kindness and respect by the staff toward our patients. We have a very strong team of people who are extremely dedicated to making sure our veterans are honored,” Holly says. “I’m very proud to be a part of that.”
Holly’s Commitment to Veterans
In Holly’s award nomination letter, her peers provided examples of her passion and excellence.
Here is one of their stories:
“One veteran, in particular, comes to mind. This service connected veteran had a long history of substance abuse, and he readily admitted if he were to leave MVH with just outpatient treatment, he would not be successful. As he said, ‘This was not his first rodeo.’
He stated this had been the longest he had remained clean and sober and didn’t want to ‘blow it.’ Through communication with our local VA clinics, sadly, Holly learned there are no VA funded in-patient substance abuse programs available in Maine. This was not acceptable to Holly, so she began to explore possible options and found that this veteran had a daughter in Arizona.
Holly researched and learned there was a VA fully-funded, in-patient substance abuse program at a VA hospital near the daughter’s home. Holly then coordinated with the VA, the daughter and the veteran to arrange for a direct admit from Scarborough to this program; including assistance with flights and transportation to the Portland Jetport. Holly was pleased to inform the team of notes she has received from this veteran, who shared his success story with her!”
Holly’s team also told of how she researched and found the latest technology to assist a veteran resident who desperately wanted to return home, but his family was scattered across the country and could not provide the needed support. With Holly’s help, they were able to arrange for in-home monitoring, and the veteran’s discharge home has been a great success.
Holly has also called apartment managers for housing assistance, stayed well after hours to meet with families, called discharged residents at home to make sure they’re doing well, and the list goes on.
“Excellence in service is the hallmark of Holly’s day, every day,” the nomination letter reads. For Holly, excellence is second nature to doing what she loves to do every day.
Maine Veterans’ Homes Core Value Awards
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, six employees are nominated and selected each year for awards that reflect and honor the organization’s core values:
- Excellence: We must strive to attain the highest level of quality and satisfaction in delivering person-centered care with competence, compassion and commitment.
- Lead the Way: We must continue to lead the way among the nation’s state veterans’ homes by shaping the future of long-term care and rehabilitative services. See who won the 2017 Lead the Way award.
- Honesty and Integrity: First and foremost, we must always strive to do what is right and in the best interest of our residents.
- Veterans Are Unique: We must recognize the special sacrifice that our veterans and family members have made in service to our nation and that they are most deserving of our very best efforts to meet their needs.
- Respect: We must respect and preserve the dignity of each person – resident, family, visitor, volunteer and employee.
- Team: We must understand that only through teamwork, communication and cooperation will we achieve our goals.
Working at Maine Veterans’ Homes
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we feel very strongly that our purpose and work in providing care to veterans and their family members is a special privilege and calling.
The manner in which each employee of Maine Veterans’ Homes provides our service is the key to our organizational success. Understanding this, Maine Veterans’ Homes is committed to maintaining an excellent workplace where employees are valued and support our mission to meet the long-term health care needs of veterans.
Maine Veterans’ Homes has earned the reputation as a leader among the nation’s system of state veterans’ homes as well as private long-term care and rehabilitative care providers. Find out more about working at Maine Veterans’ Homes.