This month has been an incredible month of growth for me. Not growth in business, or financial so to speak, but more personal. I have been blindsided at minimum three times by curve balls that I never saw coming. As I continue to push through obstacles and observe what is going on in home care, I wanted to share with the readers what unfolded this month for me. Let me set the scene by saying: everything I have worked toward for the past ten years was simply magnified and personified for me that home care is the right place for me, and I was born to do this! My path now, however, needs to go in a different direction to fulfill my personal mission in the home care space.
I have always said that home care is about the clients and I will say it again and again and again. The clients drive the business and relationship-building is key. It is the connections you make that matter. Service must be the very best that you can deliver to each and every family that enters your circle. As CEO of Aishling Companion Home Care and the Aishling Care Academy, I do not get involved in the day-to-day operations. I am out front, thinking five years ahead. On occasion, by happenstance, I am involved directly with families, but it is very rare.
This month that happenstance turned into one of my curve balls. It occurred whereby a phone call was transferred to my extension and I was instantly face-to-face with a family member that my team had been working with over the course of a few weeks. A tragic story unfolded where the family of the client was out of the country trying to attend to their loved one’s medical needs in addition to the coordination of his home care, his therapists, doctors, and the arrangements to transport the client back to Ireland. This was a monumental task the family had to deal with. Even though I had not met, spoken to, or even seen any of the family members or client for that matter, I now was personally involved in the case.
What was personified for me was the worry and the duress this family was under from the other side of the world. The concern, the love, the dedication, the determination, and the worry. I could hear it through the phone all the way across the Atlantic: the concern about shift changes from one caregiver to another for 24/7 coverage every 8 hours. The importance of all the therapy appointments, transportation, in addition to personal needs, nutrition, and medicine oversight. Magnified by a gap of personal, family oversight for three days while family members switched places from Ireland to the US.
It only took a second for me to decide it was time to not be the tour guide but to become the driver. I decided to clear my calendar and become the caregiver simply because it was the right thing to do and assist this family through the multiple challenges they were experiencing. I had not been a caregiver in a client’s home for over seven years. I’m not telling this story to gain recognition but more to repeat and address the elephant in the room. Every family is special and has the same basic requirement no matter how many hours of care are needed. Each family wants and deserves a QUALITY team delivering QUALITY care. This is where the home care industry needs to step up to the plate. We need to promote home care as a career path and not just a job. The training should be better so caregivers truly understand Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and not just completing the care plan and checking off tasks. How truly fortunate we are to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of clients’ lives, no matter how tragic or natural. We need to focus more on the person and being the difference in his or her life, daily. How truly rewarding this work is. This is the next path for me: to educate about the importance of being the difference. Not because you want to, but because it is simply what is required each and every day in home care. Everything happens for a reason and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do what I did, because it just magnified what I believe in. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou