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WOW Care Partner Nominated for PHA Award

Thursday, May 03, 2018

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Katie Hrdlicka was hired as a Care Partner with St. Paul’s Without Walls (WOW) Home-based Care Services in October 2015. Traditionally, WOW administrators evaluate client conditions and match Care Partners to meet individual client needs. When Marge Heppner began the process to employ WOW services for her husband, Harry, who was suffering from dementia, she also wanted a chance to interview the potential caregiver(s). In this particular instance, roles were reversed and Katie was informally interviewed a second time by the Heppners—who decided she was a perfect fit! 

Harry and Marge Heppner, both retired school administrators, moved into The Colony at St. Paul’s in 2011. Sadly, Harry passed away in December 2017. Katie had been Harry’s caregiver and led their team of WOW caregivers for the last three years of Harry’s life.
“It was such an honor for me to assist in giving Harry his final wish,” Katie said, “To stay at home until his final day.”

In her nomination application, Marge wrote, “Katie always showed the utmost respect for both Harry and me and clearly, she was sensitive to and understood our needs and was committed to meeting them.”

Aside from the outstanding quality of care and team leadership that Katie provided, Marge wrote, “What made Katie extraordinary is the fact that she became a vital part of our lives. I trusted her completely. She poured herself into her care for Harry which inevitably made a huge impact on him and me.” 

“Katie provided great care but she also provided peace of mind and assurance that having Harry at home was the right thing to do,” Marge added.

“This was the best working experience I could have ever asked for,” said Katie. “And to be nominated for this award – and know that I made such an impact on their life – is such a great feeling!”

The strong relationship that developed also included sharing personal life experiences as Katie has a 9-year-old son, Adam (who Harry referred to as “Tiger”), with autism. “Being school administrators, children had been such a large part of their lives. Harry loved visiting with my son. Adam could snap [Harry] out of a bad day immediately,” Katie said.
Katie and her husband of 10 years, Jeff, reside in Jamestown, Pa. and attended the PHA’s annual award ceremony in March. Katie was “proud to represent St. Paul’s,” as one of Pennsylvania’s 195 direct care workers who were nominated for this award. And, needless to say, we are proud that Katie is part of our St. Paul’s family!

At the time of Katie’s nomination, she was working part-time as a Universal Worker at The Ridgewood and currently, she is a Resident Assistant in Jones Serenity Circle, and exclaims “I love working at St. Paul’s–it’s what I feel like I was meant to do!” 

Photo caption: St. Paul’s President & CEO, Chris Wright (left) poses with Hrdlicka, Heppner and Rita Clemente, VP of Community Relations as they congratulate Katie on her nomination.