On Dec. 1, 2016, Karen Cooper, an occupational therapist assistant at Life Care Center of Bridgeton, Missouri, received the VOYCE Caregiver of the Year Award.
VOYCE serves the greater St. Louis area by providing support for long-term care ombudsmen. Each year, the organization recognizes exceptional individuals in long-term care. VOYCE presented 17 awards this year out of 100 nominees.
Cooper has worked at Life Care Center of Bridgeton for more than 14 years.
“Karen exemplifies what it means to do what you love and love what you do,” said Julie Collins, executive director. “She makes it her mission to foster a positive and loving relationship with the residents and their families.”
Cooper was praised for being a strong resident advocate and a good listener. She even constructed a wheelchair for a hip replacement patient who needed a new one. While he waited for the medical supply company to provide him with an appropriate wheelchair, she got creative and made one out of a bariatric shower chair, a crash board and two wheelchair cushions.
“I love my job because of getting to interact with people and making them feel like they are not alone,” said Cooper. “This award meant the world to me because I feel this is my calling, and this validated what I do for a living.”