Spirit of Excellence Award: Clinical Support Professional of the Year

Each year, Spirit of Excellence Awards are presented by our parent company, Amedisys, to select employees who demonstrate exceptional caregiving support to the field and display Amedisys’ core values, which include service, passion, integrity, respect, innovation and talent. 

Our 2023 Clinical Support Professional of the Year Award was presented to Nora Eades, LMSW-C, a clinical social worker with our Palliative Care at Home program through our partner Henry Ford Health. Here are some of the wonderful things Nora’s colleagues said about her in their nominations in support of her: 

“Nora is an experienced and skilled clinician who advocates for a person’s right to choose the care that is best for them. This embodies the foundation of palliative care — to meet the patient where they are and align with them. She is always patient focused and goes above and beyond to help the patients.” 

“Nora has been open to helping with anything and everything in the implementation of the Henry Ford [Palliative Care at Home program]. She has shared her personal experiences with different applications and has been extremely flexible in the additional job duties the program needed help with. She has many new ideas that have streamlined work processes and has been an advocate for efficiency in documentation.” 

We are proud to spotlight Nora’s achievements in this role, and we asked her to share a little more about herself and her day-to-day work as a Palliative Care at Home clinical social worker. 

What do you do at Contessa, and why did you choose this job? 

I’m a clinical social worker for Contessa’s joint venture with Henry Ford Health’s Palliative Care at Home program in Michigan. My role provides clinical social work assistance to patients and families enrolled in Palliative Care at Home services. I provide emotional support (including counseling and therapy) for patients and families related to palliative care medical needs or life issues. This also includes support for needs related to faith, spiritual or cultural concerns and end-of-life advance care planning, including advance directives. 

I also provide resource lists as needed for patients and families or help them navigate challenges with systems within the community. In a way, this position chose me, as I enjoy working with individuals of all ages, but specifically enjoy helping the elderly ensure that they have everything needed as they navigate through the final phase of their life. I love to hear where they have been and what they have done – to listen to their stories that others may have missed. Some have such rich stories to tell if we listen! 

What’s unique about this role and what is special about Contessa? 

The uniqueness of this role is in working from home and listening to someone’s story as you work. I’m able to get to know the patient and their family and spend time with them either on the phone or through telemedicine. There is plenty of time available for the visit, allowing me to obtain all the information needed and to let the person know that we really care. 

Being able to build that relationship and build trust with the patient and with the family to help them as needed through the last few years of their life’s journey is what is most unique about the role — and altogether, special about Contessa.  

Tell us about you! What is your educational and job background? 

I hold both a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW). I have spent 19 years in the career field, with 18 years in medical social work. This includes time working in outpatient and inpatient settings and long-term care, with four of those years as a psychotherapist for all ages.  

Additionally, I’m certified for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and recertifying for Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP-II). I can supervise Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW) professionals for their clinical hours needed for clinical licensure. And finally, I also have a faith-based therapist certification and a volunteer chaplaincy certification. 

Outside of work, what are your favorite things to do? 

I enjoy spending time with my youngest child, an adopted daughter, and her emotional support animal, a five-year-old husky. We take short trips to explore the Michigan area since we just moved here last summer when I accepted this position. A favorite was visiting Niagara Falls – we went once already, and my daughter loved the trip and the visit and is bugging me to go back! I also enjoy walks with our husky, Angel. Some other favorites include going out to eat at our favorite restaurants, movies, special TV shows at home on quiet evenings and talking or Facetiming with my other children and grandchildren.   

Thanks, Nora, for sharing your talents and passion for caregiving with your patients, their families and the Contessa team! We are grateful for the care and attention you and other clinical social workers like you contribute to advancing healthcare at home.