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Queens Chronicle

Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award winners chosen

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

This year’s honorees are Estela Divino, Mary Sheehan-Lohne, and Carol O’Dette. “They have all soldiered on in the tradition of Rose Kryzak, making major contributions of service and caring for older adults,” said Robert F. Salant, Flushing House director of community relations.“The legacy of Rose Kryzak shall not be forgotten, and that’s why each year since her passing, we bestow these awards in her name,” Salant said.

Estela B. Divino, LCSW, has served as director of social services at Regal Heights Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Jackson Heights, from 2000 to present. She oversees the social work department of a 280-bed nursing facility, providing long-term care to older adults, short-term rehabilitation for post-surgical residents, hospice and palliative care, and special services for dementia and Alzheimer’s, plus adult day healthcare for Asian and Latino populations.

Her advocacy for seniors includes appealing denials of benefits, applying for care and housing alternatives, helping with enrollment in prescription drug programs, etc. She is on the Health and Social Services Committee, Queens Community Board No. 3, and is on the board of the Queens Interagency Council on Aging. She was previously director of social services, and assistant director, at two other Queens-based nursing homes.

Mary Sheehan-Lohne, LCSW, has been director of social services at the Cliffside Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Flushing, from 2000 to today. She is responsible for social work and discharge planning at a 218-bed rehabilitation/nursing facility and a 64-person dialysis unit. She handles caseloads of the short-term rehabilitation unit, oversight of psychology services at the nursing and dialysis units, and supervision of master level social work students.

As an advocate for senior issues, she is the staff liaison for the NYC Ombudsman program at Cliffside and previously at Gouverneur Nursing Facility. At Gouverneur, she assisted residents and families with the change in immigration regulations in 1996. In the 1980s at Kingsbridge Heights Manor, she wrote letters, had petitions signed, coordinated demonstrations at the DOH, and lobbied legislators in Albany.

Carol O’Dette, LCSW-R, has been a social worker in healthcare since 1979. She has been director of social work services at Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home since 2007. She heads up their social work department, providing case management, discharge planning services, advising residents and families on alternate community living options, related benefits and grants, Advance Directives, Medicaid eligibility, etc.

In her first post at Fairview Nursing Home, she started the LTC Social Work Directors Coalition, and took part in the first Grey Panthers group in Flushing. Later, she was director of social services for Brookdale Hospital’s nursing homes, where she set the standards of practice for their HIV/AIDS population, spearheaded their first Hospice, and started their first medical center-wide Ethics Committee. She also worked at two other metro area healthcare systems.

The fundraising gala will be held on Nov. 8, at historic Flushing Town Hall, starting at 6 p.m. and running until 11 p.m. All proceeds support a special endowment fund, which allows Flushing House to remain affordable for many of the older adults who live there.

Interested parties should RSVP by Monday, Oct. 29, by sending in their name and address, along with a $75 check payable to United Adult Ministries, to Robert F. Salant, director of community relations, Flushing House, 38-20 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY 11354. For more information, please call 347-532-3025 or email rsalant@uam.org.

Built in 1974, Flushing House is one of the first nonprofit retirement communities to offer an “Independent Living” lifestyle with supportive services available right on the premises. Please go to www.flushing house.com for more information.

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