Last year, Cliff Morrison, Administrator at Redwood Place in Castro Valley, CA, was riding an incredible wave of international acclaim. He was featured on the Today Show, he hung out with Julianne Moore, he walked the red carpet at the Cannes film festival.
Why? Because way back in the ’80s, Cliff was part of a group of people who fought to provide compassionate, heart-felt care to people with AIDS at a time when the virus was a terrifying, unknown, fast-spreading, and hugely stigmatized disease.
Cliff and his colleagues created a special unit at San Francisco General Hospital, called 5B. It was a place where people were treated with love, dignity, and kindness, as they were facing the hardest — and often final phases — of their illness. A documentary was made about 5B, featuring Cliff and several other medical professionals who ran the unit. The film won several awards, including the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix. It is an incredibly moving film, and Cliff and his colleagues toured America to help promote the film so as many people as possible could witness this chapter in American healthcare.
Recently, Cliff was recognized by the American Association for Critical Care Nurses for his work on Unit 5B. He was honored with their pioneering spirit award for 2020. It is an incredible recognition of his work fighting a little-known (at the time) disease — and making a profound impact in people's lives.
It is also a reminder to all of us that the care we provide during COVID-19 — to our co-workers, our communities, and the people we serve — can have a lasting impact.
We know this virus affects people in many different ways; some people have minor symptoms, and some have more serious symptoms that can last a long time. Cliff himself recently battled COVID-19. It was not an easy journey — Cliff faced three months of hardship, isolation, and fear — as he worked his way back to health. The compassion and kindness that healthcare workers provide can be an important lifeline and source of hope for people during a very difficult time.
Cliff is now back in action at the helm of Redwood Place, helping his team to continue to their care and support of the people who live in this close-knit, long-term facility. He joins many other Telecare staff who have also battled COVID and have returned to work to care for others.
We are so proud of the work that Cliff and others have done to support people in times of need. Their compassion and bravery is inspiring.