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Nominations being sought for compassionate caregiver awards

SPRINGFIELD - The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center is currently accepting nominations for its 9th annual Compassionate Caregiver Award honoring caregivers in Massachusetts who display extraordinary compassion in caring for patients.

The award will be accompanied by a $5,000 monetary prize and four finalists will receive $1,000 each. Any paid, employed caregiver or team of caregivers who have direct contact with patients in any setting in Massachusetts health care setting are eligible for the award.

The general public, as well as health care professionals can submit nominations, noted Marlene Quinlan LICSW, oncology social worker in the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Health, who is serving on the statewide award committee.

She noted the Schwartz Center encourages the nomination of candidates from diverse types of institutions including long-term care facilities, community health centers, outpatient clinics, hospices, visiting nurse associations and hospitals. Nominations are encouraged that represent the broad racial and ethnic diversity of caregivers throughout Massachusetts.

Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, 101 Merrimac St., Suite 603, Boston, MA 02114-2792, calling (617) 726-0512, faxing (617) 726-2224, or completing the form at Deadline is April 16.

A statewide Award Review Committee, comprised of physicians, nurses, social workers, community health center workers, patient advocates and consumers, will review the nominations. The Schwartz Center Board of Directors will choose the winner.

The award is given each year in honor of Kenneth B. Schwartz, a health care attorney who died in 1995 after battling lung cancer. The award recognizes exemplary caregivers who make exceptional efforts to connect with their patients, listen to their needs, respect their values and culture, and impart strength and hope especially in times of crisis.

The award will be presented at the Schwartz Center's annual dinner on Nov. 1 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston.

The mission of the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, established in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization, is to advance compassionate health care and strengthen the relationship between patients and caregivers. The Center creates and offers innovative education, training and support programs, and public education forums.

The Schwartz Center is grateful to AstraZeneca, a leading international pharmaceutical company, for its generous support of the Compassionate Caregiver Award.