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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Leland’s BrightStar Care branch receives high marks for caregiving

Father and daughter Dawn and John Wagner's Leland branch of BrightStar Care has won recognition for its quality of care. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY DAWN WAGER)
Father and daughter Dawn and John Wagner’s Leland branch of BrightStar Care has won recognition for its quality of care. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY DAWN WAGER)

LELAND — When Hurricane Arthur hit North Carolina in the first week of July in 2014, Dawn Wagner and her father John had just opened up their home healthcare facility in Leland, just outside of Wilmington. Their facility is a branch of BrightStar Care, which has over 300 locations in the U.S.

The Wagners’ first client was a challenge: a terminally ill patient woman who wanted to die at home was being discharged from the hospital during the hurricane. The woman and her 30-something daughter were alone and needed help, and another care company had backed out, Dawn said.

The Wagners came to the rescue, sending one of their newly-hired caregivers to the scene.

“We were out there immediately, and were able to line up people to get there over the next 24 hours,” Dawn Wagner said.

Importantly, they helped not only the woman who was dying but her daughter.

“We made sure that she ate, that she was okay,” she said. “We take care of the whole family.”

That depth of care was recently recognized when the Wagners’ facility received the 2017 Best of Home Care-Leader in Excellence Award from Home Care Pulse, a firm that does research on satisfaction and quality assurance in the caregiving field.

The award is the highest honor that Home Care Pulse gives, and to qualify for it, 10 percent of the Wagners’ clients and employees were interviewed over a one-year period. They received high marks for caregiver training, caregiver compassion, communication, scheduling and client/caregiver compatibility.

“We’re proud of it,” Dawn said. “Our clients and our employees seem to be happy. Really the award belongs to the caregivers. They’re in the home, and really become part of the families.”

The facility has 70 caregivers and nurses, who currently serve about 60 clients in the Wilmington area, covering New Hanover and Brunswick Counties.

They provide a range of services, from housekeeping and transportation, to more skilled medical assistance and hands-on caregiving like bathing. Their fees also vary depending on the service.

Wagner and her father, John, started it when he retired from a long career in manufacturing for Merck Pharmaceuticals. Dawn’s background was in the hospitality industry, mostly hotels.

“We were looking for something to do together,” Dawn said. They’d also shared the experience of caring for Dawn’s mother, who has Parkinson’s Disease.

“We know how important it is to have people you can trust in your home,” she said, adding, “Most people think they have to go into a nursing home, but we really try to keep people at home.”

Their facility was one of six BrightStar Care facilities to be recognized in North Carolina, and one of two in the state to receive the Leaders in Excellence Award, according to a representative of BrightStar Care. The other award went to the BrightStar Care facility in Gastonia.

Dawn said that she anticipates business to grow in the future, with the growth of retirees from the Northeast settling in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties.

The home healthcare industry is projected to be the fastest growing industry in the U.S. over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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