In Celebration of Home Healthcare Aides

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Excerpt

During my years as the executive director of a home healthcare agency, I had the opportunity to talk with other directors about the importance of home healthcare aides. The one occurring theme was that home healthcare aides are a vital but sometimes scarce component of in-home services. I employed and talked with aides. Some of the comments I heard from the home healthcare aides are:
“It's my life.”
“They (patients) look forward to your coming.”
“I love working with my patients and their families and seeing results.”
On another occasion, in response to an audience question related to the aides' positions and why they stayed with their present employers, aides responded:
“I like the way they (employer) treat me.”
“The length of time I am able to spend with patients.”
“The type of work performed and the benefits.”
“My supervisor shows interest in me by asking about me and my patients.”
“Being involved in team conferences and in-service programs.”
“My supervisor responding to problems promptly.”
“I had input into the plan of care.” (The aide's report was accepted as being credible.)
Additional advantages cited included the aides having their own communication device for easy contact and communications, monthly 30-minute support group meetings in addition to in-services for all aides on a team.
In a previous article (Harris, 1997), I shared how important it is that administrators, supervisors, and home healthcare professional share compliments and letter of commendation from patients and families with staff. As the director, I read, posted, and responded to all letters I received from patients and families. It is rewarding and important to read the many commendations that patients and families convey about home healthcare aides and other staff. Examples include:
“P is a comfort and tremendous help. We look forward to her cheerful arrival each day. She is kind and caring and very efficient. She handles the most personal and delicate tasks with a very professional manner.”
“D is so capable and has such a caring manner. She makes me feel better the minute she comes in the room.”
I interviewed aides in 2016 who responded:
“Being a wife and a mom was the best job ever given to me but second to that was being a home health aide.”
“I miss all of my patients when they are either discharged from our service or pass away, but it feels good to know I was there for them when they needed me.” (Dominguez, 2016.)
Ken Wessel (2017), former executive director of HomeCare Options and the current President of the Home Care Council of New Jersey, shared the following when I asked for his strategies for success in retaining aides:
The average tenure for our 350 home care aides is 10 years, with many here longer. Their collective experiences and ever-growing sense of caring have been nurtured at our organization. That's why they stay. I believe our staff understands in a very visceral way that they are appreciated. I know they know that their work is important and that this organization cares about them as people. This sense of belonging and being cared about fosters the caring in them and that comes out in how they treat their patients.
Congratulations to each home healthcare aide for your care and caring during this special month of recognition and celebration!.
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