Cooperative Home Care and Hospice Nurse Wins Top Three Home Care Nurses in St. Louis Magazine

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Last year, Cooperative Home Care & Hospice celebrated our 30th year in business through a year-long campaign, Serving & Celebrating in Our 30th Year (hyperlink to blog 1-6-2017). This award-winning campaign included 33 service projects to recognize our 30th year.

How to top that?

This year, we’re recognizing the diligence and dedication of our employees. From caregivers, to nurses, therapists, and administrative employees, we have a lot of exceptional employees. Our It’s Award Season campaign is in full swing!

A stand-out in our exceptional workplace is Holly Goldblum, Licensed Practical Nurse. As Margaret Mead said:

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever had.”

Holly is one of the most caring people we know, and this year she was nominated for both St. Louis Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Award, and the Missouri Alliance for Home Care (“MAHC”) Professional Caregiver of the Year Award.

Following her nominations, Holly has been recognized by St. Louis Magazine as a top three finalist for the Excellence in Nursing Award! The winner will be announced at an evening reception at the Ritz Carlton on Thursday, April 19th. Good luck, Holly!

Here’s her winning nomination:

Tell us about a specific example in which the nominee went above and beyond the call of duty working with a patient, student, or colleague.

It is hard to keep track of the number of times Holly Goldblum, Cooperative Home Care and Hospice Assistant Director of Nursing and a Home Care Nurse for Medicaid, goes above and beyond the call of duty working with clients and the clients’ families. She has been with Cooperative for 20 years, and the examples are numerous. She doesn’t share what she does because she is too modest. Her colleagues share the stories of her compassionate outreach, and below is one such story.

Holly is a trained, experienced and educated in all facets of home health care. She has extensive experience working with Medicare, Hospice and Medicaid clients and their families. Over the years, she has tended to gravitate toward Cooperative’s Medicaid clients because they tend to have more challenges in navigating the healthcare community, have limited access to resources, and are underserved. Holly knows first-hand how life circumstances make it difficult for her clients. She currently has clients she has been working with for 20 years and knows their life stories well.

In 2015, one of Holly’s clients was a middle-aged woman who needed more supervised care than what her family could offer at home. The client’s only family member was her brother who was dependent upon her for emotional support. The two had become mutually dependent upon one another since they were children, and the separation would affect the brother’s ability to function well daily.

The brother and sister were impoverished.  Holly said that the mattresses they slept on were so old that when you touched them the fabric would disintegrate. They had little, if any furniture, proper clothing, personal care items, or an understanding of how to run a household.

Holly arranged for her client, the sister, to move into an assisted living facility but that left the brother to his own devices and little knowledge of what to do next. Holly and her family took the brother under their wing and ensured that the brother was set up with a positive life start. Remember, the brother was not Cooperative’s actual client; his sister was. To Holly it didn’t’ matter because everyone matters when she works with clients and their families.

Within weeks, Holly and her family helped furnish an apartment, bought him new clothes, taught him life skills, brought him to Temple, and made him a part of her family and community.

Holly knew the brother would fall through the system because the most stable person in his life, his sister, was not available to care for him and guide him. This is where Holly stepped in. She became his friend, and helped him gain the knowledge and confidence to live on his own. Holly continues to stay in touch with the brother.

Home health care nurses who serve the Medicaid patients are unique, gifted and selfless. Holly is the rare person who has an incredible capacity to look at any situation and find a solution. She and her family took it upon themselves to care for another individual because they knew his background and understood what would happen if it wasn’t handled well. Because of her guidance, Holly allowed her friend, the brother, to transition with minimal interruption during a trying time in his life without his sister.  Her client, the sister, received the care and attention she needed.

Please explain how this nominee’s work has contributed to the mission and spirit of his or her organization. Any examples will be helpful.

Holly Goldblum is a long-time team member at Cooperative Home Care and Hospice, and is an example of the model team member who sets high standards. Cooperative was founded 30 years ago on the principle of helping individuals with disabilities of all ages learn live with dignity. The founder, Fran Sontag, started Cooperative with the intent of working with adults with learning disabilities, eventually it expanded into home health care, hospice care, and other related services when Mitch Waks, her son-in-law and business partner, joined soon after the company was incorporated.

The reason for providing the background about Cooperative is that Holly worked with Fran Sontag early in her career. Fran knew how to converse using sign language with Cooperative’s clients. Holly was intrigued by this and wanted to learn how to sign. Fran taught Holly sign language, which Holly has used when communicating with her clients and family members who are deaf. This is an example of how Holly is constantly pushing herself to improve in ways to better serve her clients and their families.

In 2015, Holly was the recipient of the Company’s “Kathy Kaegel Administrative Employee of the Year.” Kathy Kaegel, a long-time employee, embodied the best qualities and traits of the Cooperative employee. The award was named after Ms. Kaegel soon after her death. Holly said this was one of the biggest surprises and honors of her career because her colleagues bring out the best in each other. She said it could have gone to many others, and was humbled to be selected.

Holly has significant experience working with Medicare and Hospice clients. In the home health care industry, one of the hardest areas is finding experienced, strong and empathetic talent to work with Medicaid clients.

Holly has the empathy, and the ability to build immediate trust and rapport with her clients and their families. Often, her clients have multiple life challenges that create chaotic situations beyond the health care needs of the client. She knows how to help families reset their lives to focus on the health and care of the client first and begin to address other matters in their lives.

 Share any other examples that demonstrate why this nominee should be honored with the Excellence in Nursing Award.

Holly has been recognized by her Temple and not-for-profit groups for her community contributions. In 2016, she received the “Woman of the Year Award,” from J Associates, a support auxiliary of the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis.

Holly is known for her Thanksgiving meal delivery program. Since 1997, what started as a kind thought making and delivering a couple of meals on Thanksgiving for people she knew who were in need has grown into a labor of love serving Thanksgiving meals to more than 200 individuals and families.

Holly shops, cooks, prepares and freezes the meals the weekend before Thanksgiving. She deliveries 200+ meals Monday and Tuesday before the holiday to ensure that all the recipients have it in advance. For the last 20 years, she has taken the week of Thanksgiving off to fulfill her commitment that people will not go hungry on Thanksgiving.

In 2006, Holly received the Kavod Award from the Temple Emanuel for her community involvement. (Kavod in Hebrew means honor and respect.) One of the volunteer projects she founded and managed while attending the Synagogue was a program called Care & Share. For several years, she managed a group of volunteers to make and deliver a 100+ meals each month for people in need.

Holly also started the Holiday Gift Program at Cooperative arranging for select individuals to receive items that enable them to continue living independently by providing furniture, household goods, food, clothing and toys for children.


If you want reliable home care for your aging loved one, call our Intake Nurse at 1-800-HOMECARE (1-800-466-3227) in Missouri and 618-HOMECARE (618-466-3227) in Illinois. Caregivers, Nurses, Therapists, and Administrative candidates, are you ready to join our amazing team? Apply now!