GRANITE CITY — After working as a registered nurse care manager and patient care coordinator at Unity Hospice of Greater St. Louis for the last three years, Deborah Slay accepted a promotion in November.
The Granite City resident was named to serve as director of clinical services for Unity Hospice’s offices in Collinsville and St. Louis.
After two months as director, Slay has a set a long-term goal.
“We have CNAs who go into homes and provide the personal care, so I kind of want to expand that program, so we can provide more services to families who are caring for their loved ones in a home setting and just continue the good work that we’re doing,” Slay said.
Slay started working for Unity Hospice in 2012 as a registered nurse care manager. Six months later, she became patient care coordinator.
“As patient care coordinator, Slay was responsible for director patient care activities and supervising the clinical staff, which included registered nurse case manager, visiting nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers and chaplains,” Unity Hospice of Greater St. Louis said in a statement. “Additionally, she was responsible for the quality assurance activities, keeping the staff educated on patient care and regulatory issues, as well as continuing to educate patients and their families on the hospice mission, pain management and continuing care requirements.”
Slay has worked 35 years in health care.
“My first experience in hospice was in 2003 when my father became ill,” Slay said. “My mother had a massive stroke and lived in my home and was with me and I called the physician. We talked and I said, ‘Do you have a hospice you work with?’ He said, ‘Yes, Unity.’ So my first experience with Unity was in 2007 when my mother came on their service. After that, I went to work in long-term care in 2009. Unity happened to provide services in my facility from 2009-2012. I had three other family members who had Unity Hospice. Quite honestly, someone from Unity said to me, ‘Quit playing at it. Come do it for real.’ So I came to work for Unity.”
As director of clinical services, Slay will manage all clinical staff and oversee patient care.
“She will play an integral role in making sure the delivery of Unity Hospice care exceeds patient and family expectations, while following hospice and palliative regulatory requirements and accreditation standards,” Unity Hospice of Greater St. Louis said in a statement. “Additionally, Slay will manage continuing educational programs and in-service training for all employees, volunteer services, medical records, referral coordination and bereavement services offered by Unity Hospice.”
Slay has been living in Granite City since 1985. She originally came from Delaware.
“My mother and father were both military,” said Slay, who received a nursing degree from Wesley College in Dover, Del. “My mother, of course, got out of the military when they got married because at that time, women who were married or had children could not serve. I was actually born in Okinawa and when we got back to the States, my dad retired and we moved to Delaware because he’s from the East Coast. He’s from Pennsylvania. His family was in Delaware and Pennsylvania, so I actually grew up in Delaware and I went to school in Delaware. But I married a military man and he ended up being stationed out here. He was stationed at Scott Air Force Base and he retired from the Air Force.”