I have been with St. Joseph's Home Care for a short time now, and every day is special and inspiring. I never get bored, and I am so glad to be able to do social work, which I love. I get to make a difference in the lives of those who need me. What happened during my day recently is a good example of why I tell people I love my job.
In the morning I went on a referral to see a 60-something lady at home after a hospital stay for breathing troubles. She had never before missed more than two days of work in a row for illness in her life, she told me. However, there she was, stuck in the hospital for three months, and now too weak to work. She had her Social Security income, but was having difficulty paying for the prescription costs of her medicines. I was happy to connect her with services to assist with pharmacy costs for people like her. We also reviewed her needs for food, transportation, etc.
During my visit, a cat jumped on my lap and a neighbor's dog pushed his way into the front door. While my client's boyfriend was upset at me when I asked him about his role in the household - which is necessary to know when applying for benefits - I knew my client was satisfied with the help she received. I apologized for being "too nosey," and tried to put his fears to rest, but he was soon out the door as another cat entered.
My second visit of the day was canceled because that gentleman entered the hospital unexpectedly. I wished his wife the best. This gave me extra time for calls to check on how some of my other patients were doing.
Later, on my last visit of the day, my 80 something client called me inside the house to join her in the living room. There was her 90 something husband and her niece and nephew. They had asked for some last minute help with long-term planning, so I made the appointment with very little background information. I asked what direction they wanted to go, towards movement into a facility or for more help to stay in place at home? Once they specified that they wanted to remain home, I launched into sharing all sorts of support for them. We arranged for food delivery, emergency alert systems, transportation and companions who perform light housekeeping. We discussed the ways they could modify their home to make it safer and keep them in it INSTEAD of a nursing home, should either one lose the ability to climb the stairs.
With each layer of preparation, it seemed like their shoulders relaxed a little further, and they smiled a bit more. When their questions were done, I added Advance Directives information, just so their preparations would be complete. They thanked me, and the niece and nephew said they felt much safer returning to their out-of-state home knowing their aunt and uncle had a plan. Then the nephew followed me out of the house. He told me that his career was as a Hospital Chaplain and that he thought I had done the best job with his relatives that he'd ever seen. I just about swelled two inches higher.
What a day! There are many highs and lows in Home Care, and we never know what a day will bring. To that point, I was referred to as "too nosey," and "the best" in the same day. It is also hard to deal with the fact that some of our clients pass on. I know for sure though that I'm not wasting my time, and I am thankful to have such a great opportunity to do meaningful work.