​The Senior Care All-Star awards presented by Geauga County's Department on Aging recognize "excellence in senior care service." Hartsgrove Township resident Ryann Smith, a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Assistant, was honored as one of this year's winners. Ryann has been a member of Hospice of the Western Reserve's clinical care teams for more than 10 years.

According to Team Leader Mary McKernan-Gryzmala, the care, compassion and commitment Ryann gives her patients are extraordinary. "Her daily care sessions are spa-like experiences," Mary said.

"Ryann's commitment extends beyond patients' medical needs to make each person feel beautiful and respected. With just her presence, her ability to listen to stories - both joyful and fearful - and her capacity to be truly genuine, she turns her visits into special occasions."

The Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA) can sometimes be an "unsung hero," but plays a crucial role as a member of the transdisciplinary team. HNAs work quietly and capably behind the scenes to help patients with some of the most intimate tasks of daily living. Responsibilities include personal grooming, bathing, feeding, repositioning patients in bed, changing linens and ensuring a clean and comfortable living space.

At Hospice of the Western Reserve, the care provided by HNAs goes far beyond routine. They also provide a compassionate presence.  Many will tell you their work is a true calling. Families supported by HNAs like Ryann sometimes call them "angels" for the unique ways they find to honor the dignity of loved ones.