Ana Ramirez – Florida Direct Support Professional of the Year

Media Hub / April 19, 2023

Ana has passionately advocated for her clients for over 15 years, focusing on person-centered goals to achieve positive outcomes. She is notoriously vocal about how to improve client goals. She always provides the Program Manager, Residential Manager, and QIDP with detailed feedback on each client’s progress with their active treatment.

The group home where Ana works is home to clients who require environmental stability, consistency and constant support due to individual behavioral challenges. An individual she began working with in 2021 was morbidly obese when he moved to his group. He would often experience bouts of anxiety and self-doubt and would perseverate on many things, limiting his ability to attain positive outcomes. His family and previous caregivers struggled to overcome these issues and achieve breakthroughs.

Ana championed person-centered support for this individual by forming a great relationship with him and soon learned many things about his past and his interests that were having a negative effect on his health. Ana taught him about nutrition, exercise and his prescribed dietary regimen, then shared this information with other staff members.

Ana’s persistence and dedication resulted in a life-changing breakthrough. She talked about the benefits of using a treadmill, and he began using a treadmill every day when returning home from adult day training. Ana would discuss what was being served for dinner and explain the nutritional benefits of his diet plan, which made him interested in his health for the first time in his life. The results were almost immediate. He became interested in eating nutritional meals and would no longer experience bouts of anxiety related to his physical well-being. Today, he is no longer experiencing the adverse effects caused by his morbid obesity and can socialize appropriately with others.

Ana’s reputation for meeting person-centered goals and achieving positive outcomes is displayed at every social event. She always looks out for her clients who struggle to engage in group activities by ensuring they participate, including dancing with them, pairing them up with others, and building their confidence.

Ana has displayed outstanding leadership by eliminating potential communication barriers, which has greatly improved teamwork skills among her team while also providing her clients with wonderful opportunities to learn about other cultures.

The staff at the group home where Ana works consists of several individuals of different nationalities who do not speak English as their first language. Ana has stepped up as a leader to provide every individual with a sense of belonging and helped bridge any gaps in communication amongst the team. Many staff members have thanked Ana for making them feel welcome, helping them understand various elements of client care and assisting them with building relationships with the clients.

Ana is seen as a role model by other staff members and always takes time to help other team members understand things in English which has been instrumental in how the team works together. She includes her clients in many learning opportunities, including teaching them different Spanish words, showing them different pictures that portray cultural festivities, and introducing them to different cuisines. The clients love these opportunities and frequently share their experiences with others.

Ana is an advocate who fights for her client’s personal and emotional well-being during all decision-making. She has developed a trust-based relationship with all her clients that consistently yields positive outcomes. Ana always emphasizes allowing her clients to express their choices and pursue their unique values. She takes the time to learn as much about each client as possible to identify areas of risk to share with other staff members and discuss ways to create safeguards specific to each concern. Ana has a history of challenging other team members to recognize and support the rights of the individuals they serve and advocates for respectful techniques to be included in each support plan.

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