Katie is a part-time direct-care staff at an ACR group home for four people who have disabilities. She and 15 other staff provide 24-hour care, including assisting with activities of daily living, appointments, and every-day life. The individuals they are supporting are non-verbal and have disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, and seizure disorders. Two of the residents use wheelchairs and two are ambulatory. They also need assistance with equipment like standers, gait-trainers, a J-tube, a tracheostomy, oxygen and even a ventilator at night. Supporting these medical needs is a significant part of the health care experience, but there’s far more to providing great care than that! Katie and the rest of the staff apply their creativity to help these four people with disabilities move beyond medical care to lead fulfilling lives.
Health Care Experience Goes Beyond Meeting Medical Needs
Katie was recognized by her coworkers as the Staff of the Year. What makes her a stand-out employee? One key to Katie’s outstanding care is that she is always on the lookout for ways to engage the residents in activities they enjoy. She has developed great relationships with each resident and has gotten to know what interests each of them. It’s obvious from the time she walks in for a shift that they look forward to spending time with her.
Even though they are non-verbal, like all of us they are communicating all the time. Katie pays attention to their non-verbal cues and converses easily with them. She understands what makes each one comfortable and happy. Her kind-hearted, positive, caring manner makes her fun to be around. She also looks for ways to challenge them and expand their range of experience. As an advocate for the residents, she helps them express their preferences and interests around the home as well as out in the community. These are all significant aspects to providing outstanding care.
So how did Katie gain the health care experience she needed to excel at her work? For starters, she received over 70 hours of training from ACR. This initial training included the basics like CPR and First Aid certification, as well as medication administration and medical documentation. She also learned how to support the specific needs of these four individuals in specialized ACR training classes and one-on-one shadow shifts with experienced staff. She eventually became one of those experienced staff training in new employees in the finer details that add up to great health care experience for both the care giver and the person receiving care.
Every experience is different (but always excellent!). See another Staff of the Year experience here: https://youtu.be/rtJkaImA_po