Since 2007, VHA Home HealthCare has held an annual Employee of the Year awards program to honour staff and service providers who exemplify our service goal of spectacular client care. On average, VHA staff, service providers and supervisors used to put forward 40-50 nominees each year. An interdisciplinary committee chose up to three winners, who were recognized at our annual staff appreciation event.

In 2015, we transformed this staff recognition program to also involve clients and their families—to spectacular results. VHA Home HealthCare has the distinction of being out front of other Ontario home health care providers in our commitment to incorporate the client and family voice in all aspects of our organization's work. We turned the Employee of the Year Awards into the Client Choice Awards to reflect our belief that what clients and families think about our service providers and their delivery of spectacular care is what really matters. Through calls for nominations on our website, in our client and family caregiver newsletter, and personal interactions, we invited clients and their family members to nominate a VHA staff or service provider who goes above and beyond. In response, we received more than 400 nominations in 2015 and 300 in 2016, the vast majority of which now come from clients and family members.

All nominees receive a certificate of recognition, and 10 award winners are selected from the pool of nominees. The internal communications team records interviews with each of the winners and the clients who nominated them in their homes. Each short video showcases how each winner exemplifies spectacular care. All videos are shown to staff and service providers at the annual appreciation event, sent out organization-wide after the event, and posted on social media streams externally. The videos and additional footage have also been repurposed for use in training point-of-care service providers, during orientation sessions.

VHA Home HealthCare’s Client Choice Awards program enables clients and their family members to be in the driver’s seat. This client-driven approach aligns with VHA’s innovative reshaping of the relationship between home healthcare providers and those who receive our services. By giving clients and families the power to identify exceptional service, performance excellence is viewed and recognized through the lens of those most able to determine it.

In addition, winners have noted that the award is more meaningful to them because it clearly reflects the profound impact they have on the people they serve.

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Title: Vice President, Human Resources & Organizational Development

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