By Jim Langham, Times-Bulletin Correspondent DHI Media –
The first word that comes to Yvonne Perrott’s mind when she thinks about her home health and hospice aides is “heart.”
“All of our aides have a heart for what they are doing, and they connect with the hearts of those they are serving,” said Perrott, who oversees the work and organization of home health aides at CHP Home Care & Hospice in Van Wert.
“We make sure that all of our aides are carefully selected, that they have background checks, and have been fingerprinted,” said Perrott. “They receive first aid, CPR, and hospice training.”
“We train our aides to do hospice care too,” commented Cindy Sinning, RN, who also assists with the program. “They go through orientation and take classes.”
Both Perrott and Sinning concurred that they are in telephone contact several times a day with aides working in the community. If aides have a special concern about one of the clients, they call those concerns back to the office. “We keep in touch all day,” said Sinning.
Referrals from individuals and families
“I staff patients for close to 1,000 hours a month of care,” said Perrott. “We work through the Area Agency on Aging Passport program. This helps with their payment for services.”
Sinning said that aides are involved with grooming, dressing, housekeeping and transferring patients from one side to another. They also assist with meal preparations for family members when they return home.
“I do things like help ladies with their baths so they can look pretty for their doctor’s visit the next day,” said Cassandra Hohman. “Aides need to be flexible in their schedules in case changes need to be made. One nice thing is that aides can pick and choose the hours they want to work.”
Nina Secor – a state tested nurse’s aide (STNA) – travels around the area and assists in homes in various counties around Van Wert.
Secor said that she has a schedule of her homes when she starts out in the morning, but she also has to have room for flexibility in case an emergency should come up somewhere.
Love for helping others
“What we do means a lot to us. We go to facilities in other counties to help with private aide and hospice,” continued Secor. “Even if it’s not our job, we love to do what we have to when it involves helping someone.
“I love getting to know patients, being there for them when they want someone to talk to,” continued Secor. “It’s nice to know they feel like they can talk to me. I like being an outlet for them.”
Secor said that she recently visited a down-hearted patient. Someone told her that the individual loves to receive baths, so Secor gave her a bath.
“She said to me, ‘I’m so glad that you are here. My spirits are already up,’” said Secor. “She told me to come back. I loved seeing her smile.”
Secor said that it is experiences like this that make her want to consider attending nursing school.
Support for family caregivers
Veteran aide Julie Stutz has been going into homes for nearly 25 years. She usually averages giving four to five baths a day.
“If you know what you need to do from the start, you become a great help to the patient and the caregiver,” said Stutz. “It means a lot to see how relieved the caregivers are. You can just see the worry leave their faces. Sometimes the caregivers need someone to talk to as much as the patients. It makes you feel good to be there for both of them.”