Meet the C.A.R.E. Program Team

Meet our Family Caregivers Team

Every member of our family caregiver team is attentive, dedicated and well-trained when it comes to caregiving and caregiver concerns. Our team is a wonderful group who loves what they do and knows the importance of uplifting spirits and assisting with a smile. They are very gentle, reliable, caring, honest, capable, patient, experienced and interactive.

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Shawn BennisShawn Bennis, MSN, R.N.
Family Caregiver Coordinator, Henry Ford Health System

If you contact the C.A.R.E. Program, your first interaction may be with Shawn Bennis, who has been the program coordinator since it began in 2015. She has worked with many individuals and departments at Henry Ford to grow the C.A.R.E. Program into the robust, extensive service it has become. Through phone calls, emails, social media, and her presence in the community, Bennis creates new relationships with caregivers daily, constantly seeking new opportunities to develop the program to meet caregiver needs and preferences.

With nine years of experience as a home care nurse, Bennis has unique insight into the diverse backgrounds of patients. Her role is not just a job, but part of who she is every day. She understands that caregiving is not something most people are prepared to do. It’s a tough job and the responsibilities can be difficult to balance. Bennis wants caregivers to know there is support, and Henry Ford’s C.A.R.E. Program is here to help.

Bennis has an associate’s degree in nursing from Macomb Community College, a bachelor’s of science in nursing from the University of Detroit – Mercy, and a master’s of science in nursing from Wayne State University. She is a trained Faith Community Nurse and serves her own congregation in this role.

    

Veronica BilickiVeronica Bilicki, R.N., BSN, B.A.
Clinical Quality Facilitator, C.A.R.E. Program

With experience as caregiver for different family members, a degree in nursing and a passion for teaching, Veronica Bilicki is a vital part of the C.A.R.E. Program and may be the person you communicate with when calling or emailing. Currently the caregiver for her parents, she was also a patient herself, and says, “I know where patients and caregivers have been, because I’ve been there too.” 

Bilicki offers caregivers current resources and helps break down the barriers that they may run across. “Because I know the health care system, who to call and where to go, I can assist caregivers with navigation. I can also help caregivers better communicate with the medical team and interpret medical information so it’s easier for each person to give care to his/her loved ones.” 

As a registered nurse, she has been with Henry Ford Health System since 2004, working in Interpreter Services, Henry Ford Home Health Care, the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety, and as a bedside nurse at Henry Ford Hospital. She is certified in Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning. 

Bilicki has a Bachelor of Arts in Health Policy Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She received the Henry Ford Health System Focus on People Award in 2015/2016 and the Henry Ford Home Health Care Jeanette Gronda Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2014.
 

Kelly Darke, Family CaregiversKelly Darke
Registered Art Therapist, C.A.R.E. Program

Kelly Darke is a registered art therapist, certified K-12 art teacher, and mother of two. Darke has worked with adults and children with various developmental and emotional needs for over ten years using art therapy. She has provided art therapy services to adults with traumatic brain injury as a way to help improve their cognitive functioning and improve coping skills, including stress management. And, she has worked with children as young as five years old learning to cope with anxiety.

Darke has presented at local and national conferences on the use of art therapy with transgender youth; published articles on the benefits of art therapy using digital art with TBI clients; and a self published book of mandala coloring pages as a way to reduce stress. She spends free time with her family and making art of her own. 

Darke has a bachelor of Fine Arts as well as a Masters of Education from Wayne State University.

 

Laura Gooseberry
Office Coordinator, C.A.R.E. Program

The office coordinator for the C.A.R.E. Program, Laura Gooseberry fields phone calls and messages, making sure caregivers are connected with caregiving experts for the information and advice they need. She also keeps the office running smoothly and assists staff in preparing for caregiver classes and events by organizing materials and handouts for class leaders. She shares her time in a similar role with the patient education program. 

Working with the C.A.R.E. Program has given Gooseberry a broader and more detailed perspective on caregiving. Her own family members were distance caregivers, and she appreciates the balance caregivers often need to achieve when raising a family and caring for an elderly or ill loved one.

Gooseberry grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She received a bachelor’s of science degree from Ferris State University, where she was on the dean’s list every semester. Her degree is in healthcare administration with a minor in Lean healthcare, which focuses on quality, safety and efficiency. During college, she was an intern in the Henry Ford Quality and Safety Department and recognized that she enjoys living and working in an urban environment and being part of a major healthcare system like Henry Ford. 

 

Carl Fraser, LMSW
Clinical Coordinator, Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities & Medical Home Program
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

Carl Fraser, LMSW, has worked in legal, medical and mental health settings to help numerous individuals and families through challenging times. A licensed clinical social worker since 2012, he has worked with people of all ages, from children to older adults. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and history from Central Michigan University and a Master of Social Work in clinical social work from Michigan State University.

In his current role as clinical coordinator of the Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities & Medical Home Program, he oversees many aspects of the Center’s work with children with special needs. He also founded Henry Ford’s Autism Caregiver Support Group, making him uniquely qualified to lead the Caregiver Support Group. Using a strength-based approach, he focuses on discovering and utilizing the unique gifts that each caregiver possesses.

An indirect caregiver himself, Fraser empathizes with the uncertainty and unique challenges of caregiving. At support groups he leads, caregivers will find an uplifting and welcoming atmosphere where they can grow and discover a renewed sense of hope.

 

Jill Josey, LMSW
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

Jill Josey, LMSW, leads Henry Ford’s Wyandotte Caregiver Support Group. With more than six years of social work experience, much of Josey’s professional practice involves connecting people with resources in their communities. 

At support group meetings, Josey provides information and resources for caregivers. She also asks participants about their needs so the meetings can cover topics they want to address. By offering a warm and welcoming environment, she encourages caregivers to address the difficult parts of taking care of a loved one or friend, and offers solutions through sharing and connections with experts and resources. Her goal is for caregivers, who can be overwhelmed by their responsibilities, to leave the support group feeling uplifted, optimistic and with tools to help them. 

 

 

Toshia Kole-James, LLMSW
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

Toshia Kole-James, LLMSW, leads the Henry Ford CARE Program’s Detroit area Caregiver Support Group, which meets monthly at One Ford Place in Midtown. For more than 17 years, Kole-James has worked with patients and families who are transitioning from the hospital to home, assisted living, a nursing home, or other facility. She has also been a Henry Ford Home Health Care liaison for 10 years. 

Much of her experience is in discharge planning: assisting patients and their families with the resources to ensure their success upon transition from hospital to home. This can include connecting them with home health care, home medical equipment, I.V. infusion services, private duty nurses, long-term care planning, care conferencing, and making connections with community resources like the Area Agency on Aging.

Topics typically covered at Caregiver Support Group meetings are community resources, Alzheimer’s care and education, stress recognition and reduction, elder care planning, and impromptu topics that arise from group conversations and interests.



Jodi Luster, LMSW, BCP, CAADC, CCS, CPC
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

The Wyandotte Caregiver Support Group is led by Jodi Luster, LMSW, BCP, CAADC, CCS, CPC.  With more than 16 years experience, Luster has worked with patients and families in home health care, hospice and mental health, and offers empathy, resources and options at each Caregiver Support Group meeting. 

Her goal is to offer caregivers a safe place to share their honest feelings, receive support and information, and help others through their own experiences. In addition, group interactions spark inspirations for new ideas and perspectives regarding loved ones’ care. Meetings cover topics like ongoing support, community programs and resources, professional services, social programs, advanced care planning, food and nutrition, pain management, and home medical equipment.

Luster enjoys helping caregivers see their experience from many different perspectives. In the support group, she encourages caregivers to build on one another’s ideas and experiences for relieving stress, improving care, and creating more balance for themselves and the person in their care. 

 

Sheila Mackowski, R.N., BSN
Clinical Nurse Liaison, Transitions of Care
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Co-Leader

From the time she was a candy striper, nursing has been Sheila Mackowski’s passion. Her career at Henry Ford began in 2004 in critical care, and continued in home health care. That combination taught her how to work with patients and families through serious health issues and in their homes. She received the Clara Ford Award for Nursing Excellence in 2012. 

Mackowski leads the Wyandotte Caregiver Support Group together with a social worker, the only Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group that offers this combination of leadership.  As a nurse, she can also address health and medical questions.

At the support group, Mackowski says caregivers will find peace, time to decompress and and a place to let it all out and start again refreshed. A caregiver herself, Mackowski understands the stress and demands of caregiving. She is grateful for help she received as a caregiver, and leading the support group allows her to give in return.

Mackowski is on the board for the iCare4U Employee Resource Group and a creator and facilitator of Henry Ford Home Health Care’s employee support group. She is also certified in Advance Care Planning and trained using the Respecting Choices® model.

 

Andi SandlesAndi Sandles, M.A., LLPC
Art Therapist, C.A.R.E. Program

Andi is a clinical mental health counselor and art therapist who has worked with cancer survivors, their family members, and caregivers. She provides her services to adults and children to understand and improve their stress, trauma, and coping mechanisms that encompass their every day life in relation to the medical aspects that affect their caregiver and family dynamics. Andi’s superhero strength is communicating with children and adolescents with respect and understanding in an environment that fosters independence and developmental and emotional growth.

Andi believes that art is a wonderful communication tool that can further people’s healing process. She provides a safe and supportive environment for all artistic levels, including having no prior art experience; Art is about the process, not the product.

Andi has worked in healthcare for 9 years. She has a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and a Bachelor of Art from Wayne State University. She loves spending quality time with friends and family, going to the movie theatre, and doing art in her spare time. 

 

 

Cindy Tyzo, BSN, R.N.
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

Cindy Tyzo leads the Caregiver Support Group at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, where her extensive experience as a home health care nurse means she understands the emotional challenges of caregiving and the practical needs of caregivers. Recently retired from Henry Ford Home Care Services after 11 years, she worked in a hospital ICU for nine years, and since 1986, has had various roles in home health care. Her experience extends from providing in-home care with families to leading and training home care staff.

Tyzo says her role in home care was to not only care for the patient, but to care for the entire family. In the support group she leads, Tyzo encourages participants to talk about what’s going on in their lives, how they handle caregiving challenges, and bounce ideas off each other. She sees her role as one of facilitator, but also offers her knowledge from home health care nursing and the resources and connections caregivers need.

Her support groups are an outlet for caregivers to freely express their feelings, frustrations and successes without worrying about burdening other family members or friends. Tyzo’s goal is to keep the groups balanced and give everyone time to share and ask questions.

 

Deborah WaldoDeborah Waldo, R.N., BSN
Henry Ford Home Health Care
Henry Ford Caregiver Support Group Leader

Since 1999, Debbie Waldo, R.N., BSN, has cared for patients, families and caregivers at Henry Ford. She became a support group leader because she wanted to make a bigger difference for caregivers, helping them cope with the technical and emotional aspects of caregiving. She says caregiving is not just about the patient, but the whole family, and caregivers need just as much support and assistance as the patient. 

Throughout the first 15 years of her career, Waldo rotated between many areas of Henry Ford Hospital, caring for patients with a wide range of medical conditions. In 2012, she transitioned to Henry Ford Home Health Care, using her nursing skills in patient homes. Also a case manager, her goal is to help patients and caregivers better manage their health, assisting them with follow-up appointments, medications, and more. 

Caregivers who attend her support group benefit from her knowledge of strategies and tactics they can use when caring for their loved ones at home, in assisted living or a nursing home, or in the hospital. She can help caregivers better navigate the many challenges they encounter, offer inside tips and help find solutions. 

 

Rob Behrendt, R.N., BSN
Director of Care Coordination and Patient Support Services
Henry Ford Health System

Rob Behrendt gained patient care experience from working in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Henry Ford Hospital and as part of a family caregiving team. When his father had a brain aneurysm, his mother cared for him at home until the end of his life. Behrendt provided respite care and was his mother’s “right-hand man.” That experience gave him an appreciation for ensuring that patients and caregivers have a voice in the health care delivery system. He also called on his caregiver experience to create objectives for the Caregiver College – a six-segment educational program for family caregivers.

At Henry Ford, his focus is on reducing readmissions and improving care transitions for patients by improving communication between levels of care – for instance, between hospitals and nursing facilities, or primary care providers. Leading teams throughout the System, Behrendt also builds relationships and makes connections that result in better outcomes for patients. For example, one of his teams addresses how to identify and support patients who don’t have access to healthy food, transportation or child care. 

Active in statewide organizations, Behrendt is part of the Tri-County Skilled Nursing Facility Collaborative and IMPACT, two initiatives that bring health systems together to share innovative ideas and improve care transitions and communication. He also leads the Henry Ford Patient Family Advisory Council on transitions of care and is a member of the Henry Ford Patient Education Council. 

Behrendt has a bachelor of science degree from Northern Michigan University and a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Detroit – Mercy.
    

Susan Craft, MSA, BSN, R.N.
Vice President, Inpatient Case Management and Post-Acute Care Services
Family Caregiver Program, Patient Education, and Population Health

Susan Craft has a personal connection with caregiving: She was her mother’s caregiver for many years. She experienced the challenges and obstacles of caregiving herself, and says she wishes the Henry Ford C.A.R.E. Program had been available when she was caring for her mother.

Since 2012, Craft has led Care Coordination Initiatives for Henry Ford Health System. She focuses on making care transitions (for example, from hospital to nursing home) smooth, easy and safe for patients and their loved ones. Key parts of her position include developing and leading the Henry Ford Health System C.A.R.E. program and a Patient Family Advisory Council on care transitions.

A registered nurse, Craft has hands-on patient care experience in the Henry Ford Hospital Oncology Unit and nursing leadership experience, both at Henry Ford and other health systems in southeast Michigan. In her current role, she leads and supports multiple teams throughout Henry Ford Health System, working to improve care coordination and transitions and reduce hospital readmissions. She also partners with community organizations and leaders, extending her expertise beyond Henry Ford to reach the healthcare community. Craft has a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Mercy College of Detroit and a master’s of science degree in administration from Central Michigan University.

 

Susan Hawkins
Senior Vice President, Population Health

Together with her family, Susan Hawkins was a caregiver for her father before he passed away, and currently is a caregiver for her mother. She understands the importance of connecting with resources, as she was connected with home care, hospice, and assistance in creating an advance directive for her father. These resources helped make caregiving at the end of life a positive experience. She also encourages caregivers to use technology, such as MyChart and apps, to connect with information, the healthcare team and family members. 

As Senior Vice President of Population Health, Hawkins’ focus is on prevention, patient-provider coordination, and achieving high-quality, safe care at a lower cost. She leads several health system initiatives that use technology and data to enhance patient care. Supporting caregivers through the Henry Ford C.A.R.E. Program is an aspect of her work and an essential part of quality care. When caregivers are involved, they become an extension of the care team. Patients benefit from having an additional set of eyes and ears, and another voice – someone who learns what to watch for, and who can step in and talk to the care team when they cannot. 

Hawkins has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Wayne State University. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the boards of Inforum, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Great Lakes Health Connect, and the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) of Southeast Michigan. 

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