A Day in the Life of a Home Health Aide
Meet Cindy, a dedicated DTN Home Care Aide, who is both a certified CNA and HHC Aide. (Her full name and the name of her patient are not mentioned to protect their privacy.) I’ve never met her, but I did have a chance to interview her on the phone for this blog, and I was very impressed! She only has one patient, but she likes that because she says she can focus more on her. It sounds to me like she really goes the extra mile for this woman, who she has become very attached to. She was hired to visit her for about two hours three times a week, but she can be flexible during the daytime and will stay longer, if she’s needed. She also has frequent telephone conversations with her patient, if she has issues that she needs to call about, or even if she just wants to chat. Cindy is happy to give this extra companion care, even though she’s only paid for the time she’s actually at the house. “If she needs something, I want her to call. I only live two minutes from her house. It’s also nice just visiting with her one-on-one.”
Cindy worked in a nursing home for 20 plus years before joining DTC Home Care. She says she also got very attached to her patients there. “Patients become a part of your life.” She says the hardest part of her job is when a patient dies. The patient she works for now needs care because she had a stroke. Although her health is declining somewhat, she will probably live for many more years, but Cindy still worries about her when she’s not there. “Is she eating? Is she transferring herself from her wheelchair without problems? Is she taking her pills? When I’m not there, I’m always wondering if she’s okay.”
Cindy does a lot of things for her patient that we might take for granted, but that the patient can’t do for herself. She does her laundry, her grocery shopping and light housekeeping, like dishes. She helps her shower and do other personal things. She encourages her to do her physical therapy exercises. She cooks meals ahead for the next couple of days. “She likes to order out, but that gets expensive.” She helps pay her bills by writing checks. That probably gives Cindy some idea of the need to be thrifty.
Her patient can go outside herself in her electric wheelchair, but her apartment isn’t truly handicapped accessible, so she doesn’t get out much. If it’s a nice day, Cindy will suggest that they go outside for a while and will walk with her around the neighborhood. Because ND winters are so cold, Cindy lets her patient stay inside while she waits outside in the snow and cold for the handicapped-accessible van that comes to take her to her doctors’ appointments. “The van is notoriously late.”
Cindy also watches out for her patient’s mental health. “I can tell if she’s having a down day, but she’s quick to say ‘I’m fine.’ It affects everything in her day when she’s depressed. I try to talk things through with her so that her days will go better for her. She’s adamant that she doesn’t want to go to a nursing home. She has a routine. She doesn’t want to lose that or being close to her church and family. It’s a comfort thing. If she didn’t have someone coming in, she couldn’t stay home.”
DTN Home Care tries very hard to match patients and caregivers who will work well together. “We need to have a connection. The first time I went there, I was supposed to give her a shower, so I had her tell me what to do so she would be comfortable, ‘so it works for you.’ We hit it off right then. She’s easy to visit with. I talk to her like I would talk to my mom. All she has to do is pick up the phone and I’m here.
“I talk to Stacy a lot (DTNHC Care Manager). We work together to evaluate and plan her care. When there’s a medical issue, my first call is to Beverly. This is a great job! My days go by too quickly. There are so many different things to do. My schedule is flexible, and my patient is very grateful. It’s nice to know that she appreciates what I do. She asks about me and my family, too. Being personal with each other helps me do a better job and enjoy my job more. There is no downside.”
If you would like DTN Home Care to match you or a loved one with a Home Health Aide that can provide the kind of quality care that Cindy does, call us today at 701.663.5373 to schedule a free consultation.
By Marti Lythgoe, DTNHC Writer/Editor