Family Caregivers 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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Susan Craft, MSA, BSN, R.N.
Director, Care Coordination Initiatives, Henry Ford Health System

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.

 

Shawn 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.

 

Rob Behrendt, R.N., BSN
Manager of Care Coordination, 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.
   

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.


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.


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. 

 


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.
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.

 

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. 

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