2023 BC Care Awards: Recognizing the BC Care Provider of the Year (Long-Term Care) nominees Pt. 4

BC Care Providers Association highlights another four nominees for the Care Provider of the Year Award in Long-Term Care. The following nominees have shown commitment to long-term care, and contributes to fostering the best care for seniors.

Winners will officially be announced in January 2023 and will be presented their awards at the BC Care Awards ceremony in Victoria, B.C. on February 28, 2023. Along with two nights of accommodation at the Fairmont Empress, winners will be awarded free Occupational Health and Safety Refresher training for their organization, thanks to our sponsor SafeCare BC.

James Gonzalez – Beckley Farm Lodge, Broadmead Care

Since early 2021, James Gonzalez has brought a spark of energy to the Beckley Farm Lodge’s Day and ASEL program as the Activities Program Leader. His primary goal is to ensure the residents feel loved, respected and are engaged in activities that bring them joy. He is innovative and always looking for new ideas for resident/clients and the staff. He leaves happiness everywhere he goes and puts big smiles on the residents’/clients’ faces. James has a wonderful outgoing personality and deep desire to bring love and happiness to residents, staff and family members has been an inspiration. His commitment to getting to know each residents, discovering their likes and dislikes and encouraging them to reach for the horizon is outstanding.

A highlight in James’ career was when he arranged for a resident to be a guest on the University of Victoria radio station podcast called Music and Seniors. The impression that James left on the podcaster was profound.


“I want to thank you for putting me in touch with James, who is a remarkable person! It’s been an absolute pleasure working with him and getting things ready for the interview. He brought so many new and excellent ideas for us to talk about … Just as a side note, the actual interview with James and George is one of the high points I’ve experienced in my several years volunteering at CFUV (UVic radio station).”

“James is unfailingly cheerful, and always willing to do whatever it takes to make something special. He has always exceeded my every expectation — even standing on his head for a photograph for me for social media! I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award. He exemplifies The Broadmead Way every day; this is just one example of recognizing residents’ unique life stories, and helping the people who live with us experience meaning and purpose.” – Connie Dunwoody, Communications Coordinator

Jennifer Kimler – Trillium Acacia Ty Mawr

Jennifer Kimler is a dynamic, amazing, compassionate Health Care Aide. She is a natural team leader and has created an amazing culture of care during her work with the 35 residents at Acacia Ty Mawr LTC. Jennifer provides person-centred care to residents and actively improves care delivery through providing relevant suggestions for workflow issues. Jen is always thinking of ways to improve the care given to the frail residents here and has a kindness in her heart that shines through when she is working.

A supportive mentor and role model for sponsored HCAP employees, staff and students at Acacia, Jennifer willingly takes on extra duties to mentor and train staff when they are onboarding. She is always up for taking on new HCA preceptor students as they learn on the job. Of note, Jennifer famously organized matching uniforms for her team to bring an extra smile to the residents.

From the Acacia team:

“She really shows her care for our residents in her attentiveness and compassion.”

“She is a great leader and shows her commitment to teamwork.”

 “Jen should be recognized for her teamwork, especially her fun with team uniforms.”

“Caregiving means having to attend to emotional, financial and spiritual needs of the resident – all this while juggling one’s own work and family commitments. Jen is a dedicated caregiver, who we all appreciate.”


Lori Strandlund – Trillium Communities

Lori Strandlund is an LPN with a wealth of knowledge. With this, she brings excellence in professionalism, ethics, accountability, and compassion to the workplace. She is always looking for ways for improving care. In her delivery of care, she is pro-active with current and anticipated care needs of her residents. Most of all, she strives to maintain the “personhood” of all of her residents, and this is reflected in the ingenuity of her practice.

Lori leads by example and creates trusting relationships with all of her residents and their families. Lori has had to take on leadership roles when there have been gaps in recruitment and in dealing with the COVID demand in healthcare especially within LTC homes. She takes the time to develop relationships with her residents, families and coworkers to create an environment that is homelike, safe, and enjoyable. Lori goes out of her way to ensure the needs of her residents are met, which includes advocacy, creative ingenuity, hard conversations, supporting residents with their personal passions, and holding her coworkers and superiors accountable.

From her nominator, Victoria Hillebrand (Executive Director, Craigdarroch Care):

“Team members have told me that they strive to improve their approach to care to match Lori’s work ethic. New staff onboarding has asked me for more time with Lori for mentorship because she is knowledgeable, kind, instructive and encouraging.”

“Lori’s has created such trustworthy relationships with her residents that some tell her they ‘love her’ every time she is in their presence. I have had families tell me that they are so thankful for the compassionate care that ‘Lori and the team’ give to their loved one. They tell me that they have no concerns leaving their loved one in the care of Craigdarroch. One family in particular told me that Craigdarroch “saved our Dad’s life” and it is all because of the compassion and love given by ‘Lori and the team.’”

Melissa Bawtinheimer – Hamilton Village Care Centre

Melissa is an outstanding role-model of quality, compassion and excellence through her day-to-day actions and her vision for person-centered care as a General Manager at Hamilton Village Care Centre. Melissa notably opened a 135 care home in March 2020 – right at the beginning of the pandemic wave – and through it all, she ensured each Resident and family was welcomed and care for safely, while keeping pace with the ever-changing rules and direction. During this same ramp-up period, she managed to recruit and cultivate a terrific team who share her love for serving seniors. Melissa leads from her heart and is redefining long-term care.

In her role, Melissa creates community, leads by doing and truly cares for her team. Melissa continuously searches for ways to connect people and grow community, like organizing online calls with residents’ families to engage and participate fully to support and care for the Residents and Team alike at Hamilton Village. In addition, Melissa manages by giving direction – and also by joining in to work alongside the team as a showing of leadership and support, particularly when things get tough. Despite external challenges in the height of COVID-19, Melissa stayed the course with the process and didn’t waiver on her commitment to make every Resident’s experience at HV be the best that it could be. This took so much emotional energy and commitment from Melissa with strong leadership. Lastly, Melissa loves her team and finds unique ways to show them she cares. She found creative ways to give small but meaningful thanks, such as little pumpkins at thanksgiving for very very low cost and with a great result of joy.

“Long term care homes need more caregivers like Melissa. I don’t have enough words to express how amazing she has been in providing client centered, family focused care to the Residents at Hamilton Village. Melissa never says no. Instead she asks “what can we do to make this experience better for our Resident?” She is a role model to all, leading by compassion and endless enthusiasm. Melissa and her team have faced many barriers since opening their home (pandemic, mental health and family isolation) and has faced each challenge head on with a “can do” attitude. Without her leadership, support and creative thinking, Hamilton Village Care home would not be as successful as it is. Melissa has created an environment where workers want to work and Residents want to live.” – Sarah Small, RSW, Home Health Consultant, VCH

“Melissa is a successful leader as she has a strong sense of passion for what she does. Her passion is evident and makes a world of difference in how she simply shows up and engages with others. For Melissa, it is a labor of love not a job which is shown in level of results she produces each day. Melissa is confident, authentic and true to herself and builds positive outcomes.” – Rachel Lewis, MSN Director Quality and Safety, Trellis Seniors

BC Care Provider of the Year | Long Term Care Award is sponsored by:

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