This episode of Caregiver Corner features Jen Evans, a Personal Care Assistant working with Aware Senior Care at Abbotswood at Stonehenge. Jen discusses what inspired her to work in home care and the challenges of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caregiver Corner with Jen: Q&A
Tell me about your work with Aware Senior Care.
I work as a floor staff employee with Aware Senior Care at Abbotswood at Stonehenge’s independent living facility. I’ve been working with the company for the past 8 months.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day at work starts with a brief conversation with our CCC, the Client Care Coordinator. They tell me about any concerns or things I need to know about with our clients prior to starting my shift.
Next, I grab my iPad (every caregiver is issued one for their shift) and quickly speak with coworkers who are working on the same floor as me that day. This allows us to devise a plan, if needed, to assist one another in providing the best care possible to all residents.
Finally, I start my rounds, serving each client on my hall.
I think it’s also helpful to add that a typical day is never very typical. Although I may see the same clients or perform similar tasks for clients, every day is different. Because we work primarily with older patients, their emotional and physical health varies, sometimes even from day to day.
Personally, I enjoy the atypical days because it’s the unexpected circumstances that challenge me to grow as a healthcare employee.
How has the current COVID-19 outbreak affected your work?
The COVID-19 virus has changed the way we interact with our patients. In order to keep everyone safe, there are new guidelines we have to follow every day.
We take our temperature when we arrive at our client’s home or at the facility where we’re working. We’re given Personal Protective Equipment to keep us and our patients healthy – face shields, masks, gloves, and gowns.
Residents and clients also get their temperatures checked daily, and residents aren’t allowed to roam the hallways. They can’t go to the dining hall, so meals are delivered to their apartments.
We used to spend some time talking with the residents, however, now it’s better to limit the amount of time we spend in someone’s apartment.
Families are prohibited from visiting their loved ones in an effort to prevent anyone from catching the virus or becoming ill themselves. It’s been a very difficult time for caregivers, clients and families.
What made you go into caregiving?
My dream someday is to become a nurse. Caregiving felt like a great first step to pursuing that career.
Tell me more about your interest in a nursing career. Why did you choose that field?
My interest in nursing started a decade ago. Nursing was always a career I wanted to explore; I love helping people. At the time, I was a licensed Medical Laboratory Tech, and I loved what I did.
However, I wanted more direct contact with patients, and I felt like nursing would give me that opportunity. Unfortunately, I became very ill and was diagnosed with Lupus.
Sadly, I had to stop working for a couple of years due to physical limitations. Once I started feeling better and was able to work again, I decided to go back to school to become a nurse.
After thinking about it, I wasn’t sure if I could manage the physical requirements of nursing with my own health needs in mind, so I decided to become a PCA (personal care assistant) to gain patient experience.
How did you hear about Aware Senior Care?
I originally found out about the position through a job posting on GlassDoor.com. As I started to research the position and the company, I discovered their award-winning reputation and recognition for excellent patient care.
That was really attractive to me. I also loved seeing the positive reviews online from their employees.
What’s it like to work with Aware Senior Care?
Working with Aware Senior Care has been great. The company has given me the opportunity to get job training that will help me become a more well-rounded nurse in the future.
Also, being employed with Aware Senior Care has given me the flexibility to adjust my schedule according to my life outside of work. The office staff are incredible – encouraging, compassionate, and supportive.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is listening to our clients talk about their careers, their families, and the places they’ve traveled in their lives. In my opinion, understanding who they are allows us as caregivers to better connect with them and give them the best care possible.
The bond that you develop with your clients and their families is one of the best parts of the job.
What would you tell someone who is considering going into this field?
I would tell them it is incredibly rewarding. Being able to positively impact our client’s lives, whether our support helps them to remain as independent as possible or enables them to perform everyday tasks they had lost the ability to do, is very meaningful. As a caregiver, we truly have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life based on the care we provide.
Additionally, I would say that this job is not for the faint of heart. It can be mentally and physically draining – while still being very emotionally rewarding. To be a conscientious caregiver, you have to enjoy what you do or else you won’t be able to give your clients the attention they deserve, and you will not succeed in this type of work.
To join our team as one of our COVID Team Caregivers, visit our website under employment to review the special Aware COVID-19 caregiver compensation and benefits package.