By Paul Emerson L. Baloy OTD, OTR/L , DOR, The Hills Post Acute Care, Santa Ana, CA

Denise Del Cano, COTA, ADOR, has dedicated her career in The Hills Post Acute. An alumnus of Santa Ana College, she earned her associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant 12 years ago and has been with the facility since then. She was promoted to Assistant Director of Rehab last year and completed the DORITO program this year. Denise did her internship here at The Hills. She was supervised by Vonda Gaier, COTA, who then became her colleague. She is a Filipino American born in Los Angeles, California, the eldest of five and a loving mother to her 16-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Interestingly, Denise was introduced to the field of therapy when her daughter received therapy for several years. Denise saw the importance and relevance of Occupational Therapy and has been an advocate ever since.

Customer Second: Residents approach her knowing that she will listen and immediately respond to their requests. She will ask any of our facility staff how well each one is doing and how she can assist them to make their day better.

Accountability: She assists her supervisor in creating daily schedules and follows up on department needs and requests.

Passion for Learning: She is seeking ways of learning new things, being receptive to new information and understanding, and embracing the Hills Post-Acute way of doing things.

Love One Another: She genuinely cares for the staff. She will hand you a cookie or any treat to perk up your day.
Intelligent Risk Taking She will listen and learn our new way of doing things. Willing to unlearn past habits, think outside the box and develop better and efficient new systems.

Celebration: She will bring in breakfast or lunch to celebrate the day’s hard work, keeping each one’s morale in check and in good shape. She will celebrate birthdays or becoming a new member of the team.

Ownership: She demonstrates ownership by making everything personal because she believes in her heart that this is her second home and that her co-workers are her family.