Haven team members won three of nine awards given statewide for excellence in the delivery of hospice and palliative care. Winners Jennie Lyons, Sarah Murnahan and Nooriel Nolan were presented with their awards at the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) awards at the 2024 FHPCA 39th Forum in Orlando, Florida.

Haven team members Jennie Lyons, Sarah Murnahan and Nooriel Nolan accepted awards at the FHPCA’s 39th Forum. Awards are given to hospice and palliative care employees statewide who promote excellence in hospice and palliative care.

Haven Lead Social Worker Jennie Lyons was awarded the Barbara Janosko Excellence in Leadership Award, which recognizes a manager whose work has promoted the advancement of hospice and palliative care and demonstrates exceptional service, creativity and leadership in their own hospice program as well as interorganizational relationships.

Lyons, Haven’s lead social worker, developed a program to empower every Haven social worker to become licensed. While her home-base is Lake City, she is involved in many company-wide initiatives including Haven’s Dementia Care Program committee; Camp Safe Haven (Haven’s grief camp for children and families); Haven’s internal We Honor Veterans committee; and the Make a Difference Fund committee, which reviews employee-funded “wishes” for patients and families.

Additionally, Lyons took the lead on Haven’s suicide training initiative. Suicidal thoughts, unfortunately, are common among the dying or recently bereaved, and therefore something that hospice workers need to be knowledgeable about. Haven introduced staff education about suicide risk among hospice patients and Lyons took it upon herself to help the training department train every team on clinical protocols. She also helped train staff to use a risk factor and questionnaire to know if a patient is at risk of suicide and when a social worker needs to become involved. In addition to her involvement within Haven, Lyons also has strong working relationships with organizations in Columbia County.

Haven Clinical Educator Sarah Murnahan was awarded the Catalyst Award, which recognizes a hospice and palliative care employee who consistently demonstrates leadership in forging the collaboration that makes hospice unique.

Murnahan built an exceptional orientation and onboarding program and collaborated on multiple company-wide projects to facilitate an exceptional workplace for employees. Murnahan was also integral in establishing Haven’s Dementia Care Program in 2023. When Haven discovered more than a third of its hospice patients have a primary or secondary dementia diagnosis (and the numbers continue to grow in Florida), Haven created a team to determine how to better serve these vulnerable patients. Sarah was selected for this small team due to her knowledge of the organization and involvement with multiple successful team projects. Through a collaborative effort between the clinical operations, business development and training and staff development departments, this core team developed and launched a dedicated Dementia Care Program for Haven patients and families— the first program of its kind in Haven’s service area.

Murnahan was also involved in a collaborative effort between Haven’s Quality Department, service excellence committee and the Training and Staff Development Department to develop and implement a consistent, exceptional care model for each discipline. The team came up with the acronym SUPER (set-up/universal approach/professional judgment/excellent documentation/recap) with the goal of making the patient feel empowered and the caregiver feel like a superhero. The visit model has been well-received by staff and patients across 18-counties; the result is an exceptional level of patient care for those served by Haven staff.

Additionally, Murnahan’s award nomination included examples of her dedication to professional development, as she has worked to create education days for Haven staff and made special trainings available to Haven’s community partners.

Haven Bereavement Coordinator Nooriel Nolan was awarded the Rising Leader Award, which recognizes an individual who has been working in hospice for less than five years and exhibits exemplary professional accomplishments and a commitment to hospice.

In her relatively brief time at Haven, Nolan has made a lasting impact through her bereavement efforts. She was hired when most in-person bereavement programs came to an abrupt halt due to COVID-19 and quickly brought her department back to life when restrictions were lifted, reviving Camp Safe Haven, Haven’s grief camp for children and families who have experienced loss. Nolan built community relationships and secured resources to grow Camp Safe Haven to include two annual camps—one on each side of Haven’s service area—with increasing attendance each year. Additionally, Nolan trains and oversees a large team of bereavement volunteers, manages Haven’s grief mailers and phone calls, participates in community outreach across the state and ensures all grief resources are up to date. She also kickstarted regular grief support meetings in Orange Park, Lake City, Gainesville, Palatka, St. Augustine and Chiefland.

“We are incredibly proud of our FHPCA award recipients and are honored to have them on our team,” said Haven President Pauline Taylor. “In each of their roles, Jennie, Sarah and Nooriel go above and beyond to provide a high-quality, compassionate hospice experience for the patients and families Haven serves and we are thankful to the FHPCA for recognizing their dedication.”

Each of Haven’s winners were nominated by their managers for their outstanding commitment to patients and families, their peers and the profession as a whole. Their nominations detailed the respective team members’ unique contributions and extensive involvement at Haven as well as in the community. They were recognized at the FHPCA’s 39th Forum’s awards ceremony and awarded a cash prize and a plaque. To learn more about each of the FHPCA awards, visit https://floridahospices.org/forum/awards-of-excellence/.