Ask Jennifer: Week ending 7/27

Updated: 07/07/2014 10:29 AM
Created: 08/04/2009 11:50 AM WHEC.com

Home health aide wants respect

Dear Jennifer,

I am a home health aide and I’m writing to ask families to please try to understand how hard this job is. Here’s a typical day. I drive to my first case and the lady doesn’t answer the door. I’m worried about her because she wasn’t well when I saw her last. I am scared she’s hurt in there. I call my supervisor, who calls the family while I wait worrying in my car. It turns out the lady went to the hospital and the family forgot to call the agency. I’m out the money for that hour, but I understand how she forgot. (But if I’d known, I could have gotten assigned to someone else.) The supervisor asks to change my schedule. When I go to the next house, the gentleman is mad because he thinks I was supposed to be there on time and I’m late. I tell him the aide was sick and they just asked me to come, but he’s not hearing it. I stay calm because I know it isn’t easy waiting around for us to come and being older and all. I fix him a good breakfast and he says he likes my cooking. I get him showered up nice, change his sheets and fix him a sandwich for later. Now I got to rush to my usual lady and I’m late for her because of everything that has happened. Her daughter’s mad, but she likes me and she’s really more frustrated than mad. I explain and she soothes down some. I’m a good worker and I get everything done. My supervisor calls again and asks me to go to another stop. It’s across town, but I’m willing to go. When I get there, a neighbor man gets all up in my face about who I am and what’s my business. He’s yelling pretty good, until a woman yells out that I’m there to take care of her mother. I go inside and the mother looks ill and she’s running a fever. I tell the daughter she should go to the hospital and she calls an ambulance. I went through all that and now I’m leaving there without getting all my hours too. I love my job usually. Most of my people love me and I love them. But days like this it’s really hard.  I don’t get paid much per hour, and after all this, I’ll only get about 4 hours of pay and I’ve been away from my house for almost 7 hours with all the driving and waiting about the first lady. So please, if folks could just talk a little nicer to me, I’d appreciate it.
Have a Blessed Day,

Dear Roberta,

Thank you so much for writing. I have a deep respect for the work and service Home Health Aides provide. You are on my “Hero List.” You go out in any weather, to any location in any living condition and keep families and elders going.  I used to teach adults to become Certified Home Health Aides. I recall one aide telling me she had volunteered her time to move one of her favorite ladies from the room at the front of the house to a room in the back. She was worried about her lady, because the house was on a street where guns were being fired. It took most of the day, but the aide got the woman moved to the back of the house. That night more shots were fired, and one of them went through the front wall of the house and would have hit the lady if she was still in that room. Home Health Aides do more than our community knows. I commend their work and hope this letter helps bring a more understanding spirit.



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