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Hospital social worker who pioneered home health care

Janice Hollis (1941-2021)

A devoted medical social worker instrumental in founding the hospital’s home care service for seniors has died at 79.

Tributes came from across the island’s medical community for Janice Hollis, who retired from Bermuda Hospitals Board in 2009 after more than 30 years.

Ms Hollis was committed to patient contact, problem solving and the mentoring of younger medical social workers, according to Judy Richardson, BHB’s chief of nursing.

Her final three years on the job were spent as a project coordinator.

Ms Richardson offered condolences to her husband, the Reverend Arnold Hollis, the Archdeacon Emeritus and rector of St James Anglican Church in Sandys, along with their daughters Allison, Catherine and Joanna.

Lynette Bean, BHB’s vice president of quality and patient safety, called her “a wonderful person” with “a quiet, confident and supportive demeanour”.

It was echoed by Norma Smith, vice president of clinical operations in acute and ambulatory care, who worked with Ms Hollis in the dialysis unit.

She said: “The importance of the social worker role in dialysis cannot be overstated.

“Mrs Hollis truly set the pace of kindness and compassion while still holding patients accountable for self-care.

“We learnt so much from her, and these standards are maintained today.”

Ms Smith added that she “made you feel good just to be in her presence”.

Sita Ingram, the clinical director at Allied Health Services, recalled working with Ms Hollis at the hospital.

“She had a quiet demeanour, almost shy at first glance, but she was quite a force for ensuring the best was achieved for the patients she served and BHB at large, both as a medical social worker and later as a project manager,” Ms Ingham said.

Supportive to colleagues across disciplines, Ms Hollis became a “go-to person” for challenges faced by staff as well as patients.

Ms Ingham said: “While we were happy for her upon retirement, we also knew we were losing a quiet gem.”

Paul Chan, a BHB social worker, was “lost for words” at her passing last month, and likened her to a mother.

He added: “I am blessed and grateful that I had been a part in Jan’s life with her compassion, strength, knowledge and wit.”

Launching home care nursing in 1996 was crucial at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital – both freeing beds and helping the elderly spend their later years where they felt most comfortable.

KEMH home care nursing service called Ms Hollis “fundamental” in its inception, and “living proof of how fine a person can be”.

As a friend and inspiring boss, Ms Hollis was “sincere, earnest, loyal and had a wonderful sense of humour”, a statement said.

At the cancer charity Pals, executive director Colleen English DeGrilla recalled working with Ms Hollis 17 years ago as a medical social worker.

“She was always extremely calming and professional and knowledgeable in her field,” she said. “But the most valuable tools Mrs. Hollis gave me were the tools to assimilate from my US mentality to the Bermudian way of thinking.

“She always forced me to think outside of the box while advocating for my patients.”

BHB social worker Mitzi Clarke said she was “privileged to have learnt caring and compassion from one of the most compassionate persons I have ever met”.

She added that Ms Hollis liked to wryly observe when things were going well: "And this too shall pass".

Jessica Wade, a nutritionist, worked closely with Ms Hollis over much of her BHB career.

The two were team members on the medical wards and dialysis unit from 1979 to 2000.

Ms Wade told The Royal Gazette she was “kind, caring, compassionate, a team player, ethical, a good listener and a problem solver”, treating all with respect.

She added: “Mrs Hollis had a great sense of humour.

“I can see that gentle smile or hear her outright laugh, as she listened to or told a funny story.

“Time spent in her presence, whether personal or professional, was always time well spent.”

⋅ Janice Danielle Hollis, a leading medical social worker, was born on June 27, 1941. She died in June 2021. Ms Hollis was 79.

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Published July 06, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated July 05, 2021 at 9:11 pm)

Hospital social worker who pioneered home health care

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