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June & July Caregiver Award Recipients

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Critical Care Nurse Barry Barnhill and Social Services Director Ruth Dooley recognized for contributions to patients, families, caregiver community

Barry Barnhill R.N., critical care nurse at Mission Hospital, and Ruth Dooley, director of social services at Hospice Care of California, are the June and July recipients of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award. Fairhaven announced the recognition program in early 2012 to pay tribute to local people who have had an indelible impact on both their community and the individuals they serve.

“Barry and Ruth’s longstanding commitment to care has had a profound impact on a wide variety of individuals,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “For combined 33 years, they have touched the lives of patients, families and fellow caregivers and have been pillars of strength for those in need.”<

June recipient Barry Barnhill recognized the important bond formed between nurse and patient 17 years ago and has been working to meet the needs of patients and their families ever since. The Mission Viejo resident is also a clinical educator and guest lecturer, teaching critical care skills to trauma, surgical and ICU nurses through Goldenwest College.

Through the years, Barnhill recognized that his most important role in helping patients and families was simply to listen. “A great deal of being with suffering people is shutting up and listening,” Barnhill said. “I am an honored part of their lives, and I just try to provide a safe and comforting environment for them.

July recipient Ruth Dooley’s journey to Placentia-based Hospice Care of California came following the personal experience of having a family member in hospice care. After seeing the comfort a hospice nurse provided to her and her family, she felt a calling to dedicate herself to hospice care. The credentialed social worker made a career change into the hospice sector 16 years ago with Hospice Care of California as the Director of Social Services and now also serves as the COO.

“As someone who was personally affected by the services of a hospice worker, I highly value the caregivers I work with and I do everything I can to ensure they have what they need to help the patients and families they serve,” said Dooley of her work. “The loss these caregivers endure is very profound, so we have made it a priority to provide a community within the agency to care for and support them.”

Barnhill and Dooley will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Awards banquet on November 1 at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet will coincide with National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and will honor a year’s worth of achievements among the local caregiver community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make donations on behalf of Barnhill and Dooley to nonprofits of their choice.

About the Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award

Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award pays tribute to Orange County caregivers whose kindness and dedication to serving others is inspirational. These courageous individuals go above and beyond their job description to serve with the utmost care and compassion. Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award winners come from many fields including private care, hospice, social work, counseling, assisted living, nursing, therapy and volunteer work.

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