Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

Memorial Care Doctor Honored for Compassion, Developments in Palliative Care

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Dr. Lowell Kleinman is a family physician with MemorialCare Health System and MemorialCare Medical Group and the May/June recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

For San Clemente resident Dr. Lowell, being a doctor is much more than just treating patients – it’s about improving an individual’s quality of life. Through his work as, Lowell realized his passion for palliative medicine and controlling the often-devastating symptoms of a chronic illness. Lowell advocates for the needs of patients dealing with longstanding chronic illnesses, as well as the painful final stages of a terminal disease.

“Dr. Kleinman is an extraordinary leader in palliative medicine – an area that truly benefits patients struggling with their chronic disease,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Compassionate individuals, such as Dr. Kleinman, make all the difference when a patient needs comfort and relief from their pain.”

Lowell begins a typical day treating patients – both adults and children – who have been diagnosed with various chronic illnesses. After devoting a full day at the office, he spends his afternoons visiting patients at Memorial Care Hospital whose physicians believed they could benefit from palliative care. Lowell also led the development of two programs: the MemorialCare Medical Group Palliative Care Clinic, a program within his office created to help patients determine their goals of care and aid in the management of symptoms; and Saddleback Hospital’s Palliative Care Inpatient Program, a service provided to hospital patients. He also helped develop two palliative care in-home programs to treat patients unable to leave their homes.

"Palliative care has become a passion of mine – I hope to have even more focus in this important area in the future," said Lowell. "People wonder why I don’t become depressed in my line of work, but I believe this is the purest form of medicine – helping people at a time when they need it most and giving them what they need to alleviate the severity of their symptoms."

In addition to his board certification as a family physician, Lowell also received his board certification in hospice and palliative care. He also is a longtime member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Lowell will be honored at Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at our Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year's worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, we will make a donation on his behalf to his selected charity, Family Assistance Ministries.

We are accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/community/oliver-halsell-care-award or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com

Newport Beach Woman Honored for End of Life Care

Charity Gallardo - Monday, March 16, 2015

Arnetta Robinson, community relations liaison at Sea Crest Home Health and Hospice, is the March/April 2015 recipient of our Oliver Halsell Care Award.

“Close your eyes and imagine what your last day would look like.” This is the scenario Arnetta Robinson presents her patients on a daily basis. As community relations liaison, knowing how a person would like to spend his/her last day is as important to Robinson as memorializing the life they already lived.

With more than 20 years experience in the healthcare industry, Robinson began her career in outpatient physical therapy. But after her sister lost her 16-year battle with lupus in 2002, Robinson changed course and transitioned to hospice to help improve the quality of life for people battling terminal illnesses. She now spends her days traveling throughout Orange County to meet with patients and their families to discuss how they would like to live out their remaining days.

“Arnetta is dedicated to bringing comfort, compassion, and good quality care to patients and their families at one of the most difficult periods of their lives,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her work is admirable and she truly serves from the heart, just as Oliver Halsell did more than a century ago.”

For Robinson, no patient request is too great. She recalls one man in Sea Crest’s cardiac program who loved hamburgers but couldn’t eat them for health reasons. After learning the man was terminal and near the end, Robinson drove to In-N-Out Burger to fulfill his dying request. Whether it’s a burger, flowers, chocolates or a party, Robinson assists in any way to ensure her patients finish out their lives in the best way possible. Making herself available to work any time, including nights and weekends, Robinson admits there is no separation between her personal and professional lives – the two are intertwined.

In addition to working for Sea Crest, Robinson also is Chairwoman of the Board for Pacific Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation, an organization created to provide patients with improved end of life care and families with bereavement services, despite any hardship they may be facing. Robinson also has a passion for working with people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. She is an advocate for Alzheimer's Association, Orange County, is a POLST (Physicians' Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) educator for the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative and a past chair of the Alzheimer's Family Service Center’s "A Gathering of Friends” gala.

In what little spare time Robinson has, she visits with friends and family, travels and raises awareness for hospice and pre-planning through her blog Hip Hospice Gal.

“It can be difficult for people to talk about death and dying,” said Robinson. “When people realize they’re dying, it’s scary. I do my best to help them work through their fear and get the conversation started.”

Robinson will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation on her behalf to her selected charity, Pacific Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation.

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email

Western Medical Center Administrator Named First Honoree of Our 4th Annual Oliver Halsell Care Awards

Charity Gallardo - Friday, January 30, 2015

Theresa Jamieson, staffing coordinator at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, is the January 2015 recipient of our Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For many years, Theresa wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps by pursuing a career in nursing. After obtaining her Associate of Science in Human Biology from Santa Ana College, she began working as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood during a time when HIV was a relatively new disease. Theresa was responsible for educating patients about HIV, providing them with testing and guidance. It was there that she learned her true calling was education.

“During her four decades in the care industry, Theresa has provided exceptional education and direction for her patients and staff,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her positive attitude is an inspiring trait in her line of work – a characteristic we honor with the Oliver Halsell Care Award.”

As staffing coordinator, Theresa wears many hats. In addition to assigning nurses to patients and ensuring quality care, she also helps educate nursing staff, acts as a liaison between floors, handles decedent affairs and assists patients and families with filling out necessary paperwork.

“Theresa is constantly going above and beyond her job duties,” said Sandra Moreno, Director of Nursing at Western Medical Center. “She’s always more than willing to help and does so with a kind and loving heart.”

Theresa will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation on her behalf to her selected charity, Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County – in honor of Theresa’s grandmother who passed away from the disease.

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email

Fairhaven Memorial Park Honors Ten Orange County Residents

Cynthia Adair - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On Nov. 12, we honored 10 inspirational caregivers at our third annual Oliver Halsell Care Awards, at our Mission Viejo location. The individuals – from throughout Orange County – were recognized for dedicating their lives to serving with the utmost care and compassion and improving the lives and spirits of those they help.

Photo of 2014 Oliver Halsell Care Awards: (clockwise from top left) Fairhaven Memorial President Marla Noel, Phyllis Straight, Amy Sorenby, Fredy Dominguez, Ginger Thomas, Linda Armas, Fairhaven Memorial Manager Michael Alarcon, Kari Buist-Baker, Leslie McSparran, Pratibha Seth and Micki Souter.  

2014 Oliver Halsell Care Award Winners: (clockwise from top left) Fairhaven Memorial President Marla Noel, Phyllis Straight, Amy Sorenby, Fredy Dominguez, Ginger Thomas, Linda Armas, Fairhaven Memorial Manager Michael Alarcon, Kari Buist-Baker, Leslie McSparran, Pratibha Seth and Micki Souter. 

Honorees, joined by their family and friends, enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they mingled before dinner. Each Care Award winner was presented a crystal statue by Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven, and Michael Alarcon, manager of Fairhaven Memorial Services, during a special program. Mission Viejo Councilmember Rhonda Reardon attended to congratulate each of the honorees.

We created the Oliver Halsell Care Awards in 2012 to pay monthly tribute to Orange County caregivers who have demonstrated exceptional care in their profession and community. The award was named in recognition of Oliver Halsell, who founded Fairhaven in 1911 to provide a peaceful and comforting place for families to honor their loved ones.

“Our Care Award winners were carefully selected throughout the year for their dedication to serving others,” said Noel. “We are proud to honor local caregivers who have made serving from the heart a way of life, as our founder Mr. Halsell did so many years ago.”

The 2014 Care Award honorees include:

  • David Nakashima volunteers with OC Hospice to give back to the community.

  • Micki Souter (Trabuco Canyon) volunteers with Silverado Hospice as a tribute to the care her husband received during his final hours.

  • Ginger Thomas (Mission Viejo), employer relations specialist at Mission Hospital, was motivated to work in the care industry by her mother, who worked as a Registered Nurse for many years.

  • Pratibha Seth (Anaheim), nurse at St. Joseph Hospital, enrolled at Santa Ana College to pursue a career as a nurse after she immigrated to the United States from India to be with her husband.

  • Kari Buist-Baker (Mission Viejo), founder & CEO of Senior Life Management, Inc., began her career as an obstetrics nurse; after her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she resigned from her job to pursue her passion of helping others find care for their senior relatives.

  • Linda Armas (Fullerton), president & certified senior advisor at Clear Choice Senior Services, was faced with the challenging task of finding her parents a home, which inspired her to start her own business to help others.

  • Phyllis Straight (Capistrano Beach), president of BrightStar Care, opted out of retirement and dove headfirst into her dream of working with people.

  • Leslie McSparran (Orange), volunteer with St. Joseph Hospice, helped care for her father when he was diagnosed with cancer; a former aerospace engineer, McSparran now volunteers for the No One Dies Alone program, which provides patients with a volunteer companion as they transition to a peaceful and reassuring atmosphere during their final hours.

  • Fredy Dominguez (Huntington Beach), community relations director at Attentive Home Care, created a unique networking group for professionals in the care industry to gather monthly to share experiences and educate each other.

  • Amy Sorenby (Orange), certified nursing assistant for Cross Country Per Diem, is pursuing a nursing career in honor of her two-year-old daughter who spent most of her life in the hospital before she passed in 2003.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit click here or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com.

Fairhaven Memorial Park Honors Orange Resident

Cynthia Adair - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amy Sorenby, October recipient of Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care AwardAmy Sorenby, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Cross Country Per Diem, is our October recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

When Amy lost her two-year-old daughter in 2003, she vowed to go back to school to become a nurse as a tribute to the care her daughter received before her death. Now working as a CNA, Amy works in hospitals all over Orange County, with plans to further her education to become a registered nurse.

“Amy’s strength and determination to become a nurse in spite of a traumatic experience is inspiring,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “The love and care she pours into her patients is what we hope to recognize with our Care Award.”

On June 16, 2001, Amy went in for an emergency Cesarean section due to complications with her twin girls. Alexis was born at one pound, 15 ounces, and Brianne at one pound, one ounce. Due to her size and condition, Brianne spent nearly her first year in the hospital. Prior to Brianne’s release, Amy was required to stay in the hospital for a week, learning how to check her daughter’s vitals and monitor her nasogastric tube. This training not only prepared Amy to care for her daughter but also inspired her to pursue a career in nursing.

In 2003, Amy’s then-husband was deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps. Soon after, Brianne fell ill and was admitted to Naval Medical Center in San Diego for testing. Amy spent the next five months at the San Diego Fisher House to be near Brianne, while Alexis was cared for by her grandparents. Doctors ultimately diagnosed Brianne with pulmonary hypertension and, while doctors would have recommended a heart and lung transplant, Brianne’s fragile condition prevented her from this solution. Brianne passed away later that year.

Although extremely painful, this experience guided Amy to fulfill her calling as a caregiver. Amy now works daily to provide patients with the best possible care – treating them as though they were her own family. Somehow, Amy finds time to fit it all in, not only caring for others, but also her two children as a single mom.

Amy will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet on November 12 at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, The Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher House in San Diego.

For more information about Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email

Dana Point Business Woman Honored by Fairhaven Memorial Park

Cynthia Adair - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From Electrical Power Executive to End-of-Life Caregiver, Dana Point Business Woman Honored with Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

Phyllis StraightPhyllis Straight, owner of BrightStar Care® in Lake Forest and Dana Point, is our July recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

When the Dana Point resident retired from the electrical power industry five years ago, Phyllis knew she wasn’t ready for a sedentary lifestyle. With her husband’s support, Phyllis opted out of retirement and dove head first into her dream of working with people. After witnessing family members who spent their remaining years alone in nursing homes, Phyllis opened two BrightStar Care® locations in Orange County offering families at-home quality care.  

“When we started the Oliver Halsell Care Awards in 2012, we did so to honor individuals with compassionate and caring hearts,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Phyllis truly has a heart to help. She goes above and beyond to make sure her clients’ needs are met and ensures her staff has the support required to do so.”

As the owner of BrightStar Care, Phyllis hires and trains staff for both locations, working to remain compliant with state licensing. She visits clients and their families and since some clients are unable to go to a church or synagogue, Phyllis often has the opportunity to pray with them. Phyllis and her staff work hard to give families more quality time with their elderly loved ones, allowing them to be more than just a caregiver. 

“At BrightStar, we ask families what they struggle with as caregivers, and we take the heaviest weight from the family caregiver to help make their life easier,” Phyllis explained. “The most important part about what we do is making things more possible in peoples’ lives by serving and loving our clients and families in an excellent way.”

In addition to running her own company, Phyllis co-founded the Pregnancy Resource Center of San Clemente, which provides women with resources for unplanned pregnancies. The nonprofit organization offers women a non-judgmental environment to obtain free pregnancy tests, education and assistance with adoption.  

Phyllis will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, Pregnancy Resource Center of San Clemente.

For more information about Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Clear Choice Senior Services Recognized for Assisting Families in Finding Care for Seniors

Cynthia Adair - Monday, June 16, 2014

Linda Armas, president of Clear Choice Senior Services, is our June recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

After her parents grew ill, Anaheim resident Linda Armas was faced with the challenging task of finding them a safe and comfortable environment. A mother of five, Linda is part of what is known as “the sandwich generation” – individuals who care for their aging parents while still supporting young children at home. This experience inspired her to start her own business, Clear Choice Senior Services, where she helps families place their elderly loved ones in a safe environment.

“Linda’s compassion is evident in the way she assists families she works with,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “She represents what it means to truly care. Her attention to detail and personalized service is what makes her stand out.”

As president of Clear Choice Senior Services in Fullerton, Linda provides personalized placement services for seniors who can no longer stay at home. She offers to meet each family in person, including the elderly loved one, to learn as much as possible about their care needs, budget, personality, likes/dislikes and location preferences. Linda creates a personalized plan based on the information she collects. She then negotiates pricing, assists with state-required forms and recommends any other possible resources that might benefit them.

“When tasked with the responsibility of placing my own parents in a home, I found the process to be very difficult and time-consuming,” Linda explained. “In creating my company, I wanted to make this process easier for families to find the right environment for their loved ones.”

In addition to running her own company, Linda is chair of OC Senior Roundtable, a networking and education group of about 40 people from various companies that work with seniors. Linda also is involved with National Parkinson Foundation Orange County, California and hosts regular meetings at her office.

Linda will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, National Parkinson Foundation Orange County, California.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Local Female Business Owner Receives Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

Cynthia Adair - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kari Buist-Baker, founder and CEO of Senior Life Management, Inc., is our May recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For the Mission Viejo resident, caring for those in need has always been an innate ability. Kari’s career has come full circle; she began as an obstetrics nurse caring for fragile infants, and today coordinates the resources families need to provide care for their elderly loved ones.

“Kari’s dedication and the positive impact she makes in her clients’ lives is what sets her apart from many other care managers,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her ability to provide hope and relief to seniors and their families makes her so deserving of this award.”

After her mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2003, Kari resigned from her job as an obstetrics nurse to pursue her passion of helping others find care for their senior relatives. She founded Senior Life Management in 2007, a nurse case management company that assesses and coordinates care for seniors by developing a personalized care plan based on each individual’s needs. To date, Kari has helped nearly 300 families.

“Working in this industry is incredibly touching,” Kari explained. “I truly love my career because it allows me to positively affect families in crisis, who are so emotionally attached to the situation. By providing calm insight, and giving them a road to travel together, it truly makes my job rewarding.”

Senior Life Management recently was tapped as a consultant for Age Well Senior Services, Inc., a nonprofit providing programs, services and resources to seniors in South Orange County. The new partnership provides Kari and her staff with the opportunity to assist more families than ever before.

Kari will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, Age Well Senior Services, Inc.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Pratibha Seth Honored with Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award for Compassionate Care

Cynthia Adair - Monday, April 14, 2014

Pratibha Seth, a nurse on the orthopedic floor at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, is our April recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

Working the night shift at St. Joseph Hospital, Pratibha can be found carefully checking on her patients, ensuring they’re receiving the care they need. After 15 years as a nurse, Pratibha draws inspiration from her experiences, which is apparent in the conscientious care she gives each patient.

“As the nighttime nurse, Pratibha approaches her responsibilities with the utmost compassion and concern,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “She is a blessing and an angel of mercy to anyone suffering and in need of a gentle soul.”

Nearly 20 years ago, Pratibha journeyed to the United States from India to be with her husband, leaving her parents and her familiar surroundings behind. While still in India, her father, a heart patient, had received compassionate care and inspired Pratibha’s own career path. Pratibha enrolled at Santa Ana College to pursue a career as a nurse. Soon after, tragedy struck Pratibha’s family -- her mother died suddenly from a heart attack, giving her even more motivation to pursue her career goal. She wanted to provide her patients with the care she was unable to give her mother.

As a nurse, Pratibha is required to care for the general well-being of patients, but she often goes above and beyond her duties. If a patient seems emotionally distraught, Pratibha takes the time to sit and talk until he or she feels better. A mother of two daughters – including the eldest daughter who is following in her footsteps as a nurse -- the Anaheim resident says she treats each patient the way she would her own family.

“I never would have expected to be honored for doing my job,” commented Pratibha. “I try to give my patients whatever I have – my emotions and my best care.”

Pratibha will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, the Boys Town organization.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Ginger Thomas Honored with Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Award

Cynthia Adair - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ginger Thomas, Senior Living Advisor at A Plan For Senior Care, is our March recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

When her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ginger worked with her family to place her grandmother in a home. Throughout that emotionally difficult process, Ginger discovered her passion for working with seniors. Now, she helps families daily find personalized care for their loved ones.

“Ginger’s passion for senior care is evident in the work she does,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “She cares about her community and is utilizing both her personal and professional experience to be an invaluable resource to those in need.”

Her career choice was motivated by her mother, El Joan Shealor, who worked as an RN for many years, and became convinced that while most nurses can be good at their jobs, those who truly are great are innately compassionate.  Feeling her daughter was born with significant empathy, El Joan encouraged Ginger early in life to consider a career in the care industry.

“It means so much to be recognized for something I love to do,” explained Ginger. “When I was referred to the senior care industry, I was drawn to the seniors and their stories; I don’t want them to be forgotten or misplaced.”

As a Senior Living Advisor, Ginger works directly with families as a resource in finding the right care for their loved ones. After interviewing a new family, Ginger considers the patient’s finances, current living situation and medical needs in order to provide a complete care plan. In matching seniors with care facilities, her main focus is ensuring each patient’s individual needs, as well as those of his or her family, will be personally addressed. This gives her ample opportunities to place more seniors in the compassionate hands of those who will provide them with the care they genuinely need and deserve.

Ginger will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to the American Heart Association in Ginger’s honor.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.


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