“The founders of Welcome House and West Haven, the Steudel Family, had envisioned that persons with DD could live in group homes or family style homes that replicated as close as possible the kind of living that they were used to growing up.”

Welcome House’s Alex Koncan is the 2014 Ohio DSP of the Year!

Welcome House is thrilled to announce that our very own Alexandra Koncan was chosen by ANCOR as the 2014 Ohio Direct Support Professional of the Year! Alex was presented with the award at the annual ANCOR conference in Washington, D.C. on May 4.

According to ANCOR, Alex personifies two tenets of the National Association of Direct Support Professionals Code of Ethics: “Promoting Physical and Emotional Well Being” and “Advocacy”. Alex fought diligently for the well-being of a woman she supports. It is not an overstatement to say she saved her life. Doctors told the woman’s family that she was in the “end stages” of her life and that she should remain heavily medicated. The woman– who actively bowled and attended baseball games and dances with her boyfriend — told Alex, “They are killing me.”

Alex remained committed to maintaining the highest quality of life for this individual in her care. Each week for a month Alex met with the family and doctors, pleading that they allow her to live the remainder of her life fully — instead of medicated and in bed with a feeding tube. The family and doctors finally agreed.

During the woman’s hospitalization, she would become combative if Alex was not present. When the hospital staff wanted to use restraints, Alex showed them how to safely work with her, thus assuring her comfort and safety. Alex even cancelled vacation plans to be by her side. Alex did all of this while still working her normal 40 hour schedule, going to the hospital to relieve family members at night.

“This woman was close to death and had dropped to 80 pounds and could not eat, drink or stand. Alex fought for her right to live her life without restraints and to use her remaining time as meaningfully as possible. She is now 115 pounds again, and enjoying her life with her roommates,” says Executive Director Tony Thomas. “This is something that is way, way above and beyond normal good DSP practice. Her client is now fully recovered and enjoying her life in her group home.”

Alex truly epitomizes the ideal DSP. Since this time, Alex was promoted to Residential Manager, and as you might expect is devoted to all of those clients now in her care! Congratulations to Alex!

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