Home Care & Hospice LNA of the Year has been with Franklin VNA her whole life, literally


Franklin, N.H. – This year’s Home Care & Hospice Nursing Assistant of the Year, Joellen Ricard of Northfield, has been involved with the VNA in Franklin since the day she was born. Literally. Her first interaction with the agency was as a Well-Baby program patient in 1957. Franklin VNA welcomed her on staff in 1981. For forty years, she has continued to help patients achieve better health and provide comfort to hospice patients and their families through difficult and emotional times. She’s not planning to slow down any time soon, either.

Direct care can be an emotionally and physically demanding profession. A forty-year career, with the same agency, is an amazing accomplishment on its own, but Gina Balkus, CEO for the Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance, was quick to point out this is not an award for tenure, but rather her dedication and commitment to the “cradle-to-grave philosophy of caring” at Franklin VNA & Hospice.

“She is being honored for her work ethic, her positive attitude, her ability to put clients at ease, her leadership in the agency and her community,” says Balkus. “She truly represents Franklin VNA’s mission and strives to provide excellent care each day she comes to work.”

In addition to caring for patients, Ricard coordinates the home health aide and homemaker program has managed the Private Duty Program, serves as lead LNA, mentors new staff, and volunteers for community center blood pressure clinics and drive-thru vaccine clinics. She also volunteers for Franklin VNA’s Community Day.

“No one could deserve this more!” says colleague Carol Shaw Plumb “[She] has worn many hats over the years and done those jobs well! [Her] loyalty and commitment to the agency and the community are legendary.”

Her co-workers also recognized Ricard with the 2018 Franklin VNA Employee of the Year Award.

The Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance has recognized outstanding caregivers in the hospice & home care setting since 1974.  Submitted award nominations were collected from the 42 member agencies providing care to every New Hampshire community.  Home care agencies offer services across the state for thousands of New Hampshire residents of all ages recovering from surgery, injury or illness, chronic or terminal illnesses, or other conditions needing support at home.