Some people just have the ability to spread joy wherever they go. Teddi Hernandez is one of those individuals who has worked in a variety of roles since joining Freda Gordon Hospice 4 years ago. As a Certified Nursing Assistant Teddi brought compassion, kindness and joy to the patients and families she served—often going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure her patients experienced the highest quality of life possible.
Today Teddi does an incredible job in her role as Intake Coordinator. Her meticulous attention to detail ensures that new patients coming into hospice have a seamless transition so that stress (which can so often accompany such a major life event) is kept to a minimum. Teddi’s unconditional love for people and her passion for hospice and end of life care is evident to those who know her.
When not working, Teddi—a self-professed outdoor girl, enjoys the beach, running and trying out new recipes. Her first love however, is spending time with her son Sullivan whom she describes as her lively bundle of joy and light of her life.
In April 2017, Teddi was the recipient of HPCT’s Employee of the Quarter for the amazing contribution she makes not only to our patient and families, but for the ongoing support and assistance she provides to co-workers on a daily basis. I think we all agree here at Freda Gordon, nothing starts the day off better than to be greeted by Teddi’s big, beautiful smile and good morning wishes.
Hospice. Chaplain. Two words that cause many people some degree of anxiety and a quick search for an exit… until they meet Carrie. She disarms skeptics with love even before she speaks. Carrie spent 22+ years traveling around the world beside her Navy husband… who also happens to be a Chaplain. Twelve of those years were spent in Japan, along with a three-month stint in Israel where she immersed herself in First Century Studies.
Carrie has several great loves in her life. In addition to her husband, she also adores her two grown children and a “son-in-love”. Carrie also has a love of books and of learning, and she is passionate about being part of the conversation which brings Jews and Christians together, and in fighting anti-Semitism within religious conversation and practice.
She loves working alongside the brave men and women of the armed forces; loving and supporting their families, and pouring out love and hope to our hospice families. “My goal is to bring comfort and peace to those walking through what can be a difficult time in life’s journey,” says Carrie.
“In hospice, I encounter the most remarkable and inspiring people…it is so humbling and such an honor to be a part of their sacred journey. In this position I feel that I am able to fully live out the commandment to love God and love my neighbor.”
When Carrie is not caring for patients and their families, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to Israel to study, research and walking in nature. Carrie earned the Master of Divinity Degree in Biblical Studies from Regent University in Virginia Beach and has been accepted as a PhD candidate for studies in 2nd Temple Judaism and Early Christianity.
We are incredibly fortunate to have Carrie as part of our HPCT team, and the feeling is mutual. “I think the group I work with is the BEST I have encountered,” she says, “Each and every person and discipline is engaged in honorable pursuit of serving others.” For these and many other reasons Carrie Wood was recognized as Employee of the Quarter (December 20116).
What draws people to work exclusively with those living with life-limiting illnesses? For HPCT Social worker Judy McDonald, her journey to hospice began when she took care of her father until his death in 2005. As she learned to navigate his ever changing medical needs & medications, she found the process of being a caregiver, not only to be confusing at times, but isolating.
Today, as a licensed Social Worker she says it’s an honor to support patients and families during one of the most difficult times in their lives by giving them both the emotional support and resources to help them smooth out that journey. Judy’s goal is to help caregivers spend more quality time with their loved ones, rather than spending it trying to navigate the often complex maze of Medicare/Medicare regulations and benefits. The care and dedication shown by Judy to our patients & families has been ongoing and led to her being the recipient of HPCT Employee of the Quarter.
What draws people to work exclusively with those living with life-limiting illnesses? Ask our chaplain, Jim Thompson, and he’ll say, “My hope is to bring peace to those who need it most.”
When his mother in law’s health began to rapidly deteriorate a few years ago, Jim experienced firsthand how the right hospice team can make an extraordinary difference for families facing end-of-life issues. “The support and love we received from our hospice team allowed us to focus on making the most of the time we had left together. And we were especially grateful that it gave us the ability to let our mother die at home, surrounded by those she loved.”
After serving 32 years as a congregational minister (nearly half of them in Chesapeake), Jim’s experience with hospice was life-changing, inspiring him to redirect his focus toward patients and families facing the final phase of life. This new path led Jim to his current position as Chaplain at HPCT.
The end-of-life journey is often filled with uncertainty and fear. Jim understands the unique challenges that patients and families encounter during this final phase. He is adept at helping our patients and families process loss, while creating a foundation for the next chapter in their lives.
In June 2016, based on the praise received from families and staff, Jim was chosen as Employee of the Quarter, to recognize his consistently outstanding work. Chaplain Jim truly puts the heart in hospice! His continued dedication to bringing peace to stressful situations helps our entire team to stay centered and supported as we provide the highest level of care for our patients and families. We truly feel blessed to have him as part of our HPCT team.