Hilltop in the News

Hilltop Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation's Newest Teammate Saves Choking Attendee at Local Healthcare Event

Effingham, Ill., Resident Jalen Carrillo Acted Fast at Yesterday's Effingham Senior Center Lunch

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (April 14, 2023) – Being in the right place at the right time and keeping a cool head, Jalen Carrillo, the new Director of Business Development at Hilltop Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation in Charleston, Ill., saved a local senior citizen who began choking during yesterday's lunch at the Effingham Senior Center.

Jalen Carrillo

“I just rushed over there and started giving her the Heimlich Maneuver. I had to do that for about 45 seconds, but it felt like an eternity." – Jalen Carrillo, Hilltop Skilled Nursing

Carrillo, who lives in Effingham, Ill., started his job just eight weeks ago. He is not a hands-on healthcare provider at Hilltop Skilled Nursing; rather, he works on the business operations side of the facility.

He was at a monthly “Lunch with a Doc” wellness clinic event at the Effingham Senior Center on April 13, 2023, when one of the senior citizen attendees seated near him began choking on her food.

“I was helping pass out lunch and a lady screamed that someone was choking,” Carrillo said. “I just rushed over there and started giving her the Heimlich Maneuver. I had to do that for about 45 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I'm glad I was there. I was just doing what someone else would have done.”

He was able to clear the lady's airway blockage and one of the other attendees called 911, with help arriving quickly. The lady who was choking was given a clean bill of health by the EMTs and she was actually able to stay for the remainder of the event.

After this close call – remarkably – Carrillo then addressed attendees, as planned, about Hilltop Skilled Nursing and its role as a compassionate provider of senior care.

A Baby on the Way Motivated Carrillo to Learn the Heimlich Maneuver

Carrillo learned basic first aid and the Heimlich Maneuver when his first child was nearing arrival. “Before I had kids, I went on YouTube to learn how to do emergency CPR on children,” he said. “I eventually became certified in the Heimlich Maneuver, and that was a good thing because I've had to use it on my young son several times.”

Directors of business development, such as Carrillo, are operations-side professionals who work with other healthcare providers, potential residents, and their family members to choose facilities that provide short- or long-term nursing care. He focuses on these marketing functions for Hilltop Skilled Nursing.

Carrillo has been in the skilled nursing industry about five years, when he began as a social service director at a healthcare facility in Effingham. He then became an assistant administrator, then the administrator, for a skilled nursing facility in Central Illinois, which he ran for about a year-and-a-half. Seeking to spend more time with his young family, he ventured into commercial insurance for a brief time, but realized caring for others was his calling.

“I have a passion for senior citizens and like to be around people,” Carrillo said. “I take my job to heart.”

About Hilltop Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Hilltop Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation is a 108-bed subacute and skilled nursing facility in Charleston, Ill., providing long-term care, short-term care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, rehab to home, hospice care, and respite care. The center is accepting new admissions for short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, and respite care. For more information, please call Bobbie Woolbright at (217) 259-9752 or visit the website at www.hilltop-snr.com.