Juana Vargas is BAYADA’s 2023 CHHA National Hero of the Year
BAYADA Certified Home Health Aide Juana Vargas was recently chosen as the BAYADA 2023 Certified Home Health Aide National Hero of the Year by BAYADA Home Health Care, a leading, national nonprofit home health care provider. Vargas, who works for BAYADA’s Camden County, NJ assistive care office, was selected as a Hero for her ability to make a difference using genuine care to overcome challenges and even break through language barriers.
Vargas has worked with BAYADA since 2019 and uses hope and comfort to connect and soothe her clients. Despite being a native Spanish speaker, her unique approach to care transcends language boundaries, creating an environment where healing can flourish.
To clients like Jimmy Dunlap and his wife Michelle, Vargas has been a true blessing during their most difficult times. Jimmy, who lives with dementia and PTSD and often exhibits challenging behaviors, found solace in Vargas' compassion. She quickly learned that Jimmy's behavior stemmed from dementia and PTSD as a result of Agent Orange exposure during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Vargas’s ability to identify his triggers and allow him time to acclimate to her presence helped her gain his trust so she could provide the personal care assistance he needed.
“She’s very persistent,” said BAYADA Recruiter Nelbaluz Reyes. “And very consistent. It is Juana who dedicates her patience and her commitment to make sure he understands, and that she’s able to fill his needs.”
If caring is a love language, then Vargas speaks it fluently. According to BAYADA Clinical Manager Laurie Warren, Vargas is an example to us all, no matter your profession. Said Warren, “She’s an example for all of us—not just other Home Health Aides. If you can care about people the way Juana does, we’d all be better people for it.”
Michelle credits Vargas with helping Jimmy walk again, and though there’s a language barrier, believes her patient approach to care has made all the difference. “It’s obvious she cares about him. She cares about how he feels and what he’s doing—and that’s the difference.”
Vargas received the prestigious award at BAYADA's annual awards meeting held in Washington, DC, on Saturday, May 20. Fittingly, Vargas placed the focus back on her clients when accepting her award.
“When thinking about how I feel in receiving this recognition, I want to share two phrases,” Vargas said. “First, ‘Happiness is not what you receive, but in what you give.’ Second, ‘We identify ourselves not in what we do; but in the way we do it, that makes a difference.’ I feel great satisfaction to see my patients grateful for my services.”
What makes Juana Vargas a Hero
BAYADA Home Health Care Hero Program
The National Hero of the Year Award is part of BAYADA’s Hero Program, which recognizes and rewards those who exceed the highest standards of quality care and work ethic at an office, division, and national level. Heroes can be nominated by their colleagues and clients. All BAYADA employees and clients can nominate any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, home health aide, therapist, or other professional caregivers.