Supporting Seniors through COVID-19 and beyond

Canada is dealing with an exponential spread of the coronavirus and the potential for future waves of infection over the next 12–18 months. For frail elderly and individuals with chronic disease, those at greater risk of acquiring COVID-19, hospitals and long-term care facilities are high risk settings for these individuals to receive care. Home health care is an essential service that can offer necessary supports for older adults living with frailty; those with complex, chronic disabling conditions; and individuals at the end of life.

Kimberly McFadden

PSW/PS Care Team Coach, VHA Home HealthCare

The care I provide is the sunshine on a cloudy day for my clients. It takes confidence and courage with every breath taken and every step walked.

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My experience is one of strength and dedication, mixed with fear, in times like these. The safety and security in one’s home is essential to continued health and happiness.The need within the industry, and the inner strength within to rise during this difficult time while others are unable to, are my motivations to continue providing home care

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Kenneth Myers

PSW, Closing the Gap

Through this difficult time, people still depend on me to eat, bathe, dress and live safely and independently at home.

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[Being there] has allowed people to eat and bathe regularly, leading to a happier and healthier balanced life at home. It motivates me knowing the positive impact I bring to the lives of our clients, while allowing them to remain at home. .

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Maria Delos Santos

Nurse, Spectrum Health Care

I am providing wound care to Covid-19 positive patients in their homes. If I do not provide care for the wound, the patient will end up back in the hospital with an infection.

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I am keeping patients safe and healthy during the Covid 19 pandemic and keeping them safe at home. Even if they can go to the clinic, because of their age, they’re at risk and the government wants them at home. In addition to contracting the virus, they still have other health concerns that need to be addressed so they can get better.

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Dr. Thuy-Nga Pham

Physician, East Toronto Family Practice Network

Providing homebased primary care also means providing end-of-life care at home, together with homecare and being surrounded by loved-ones, is so crucially important particularly when you are ill, older, or at end-of-life…..

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…Since visitors are not allowed into hospital, patients and families now more than ever are choosing to be cared for at home so they can stay together surrounded by their family. Care in the home means supporting families, couples, older adults with frailty and dementia particularly in these challenging times where access to quality care that respects the dignity and wishes of patients can be more challenging than usual.

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Raul Arias

PSW, Paramed Home Health Care

A lot of our clients don’t have anyone else to help them during this time and we simply can not leave those people that need a service on their own.

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For me it is essential to provide the services my clients need. I was providing service before the pandemic and I will continue to provide services for my clients. So many of our clients are so alone and the only contact they have with people is us.

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Lindsy Valentine

Clinical Manager, Bayshore HealthCare Ltd.

Home care includes Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) line care for oncology patients so they do not have to go to hospital during COVID

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Being able to provide Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) line removals in our ambulatory care clinics has allowed us to provide greater accessibility to clients for this care. Clients no longer need to attend the hospital, waiting extended periods of time for appointments or sitting in ED waiting areas. This has been especially important with the pandemic as clients no longer need to place themselves at risk attending higher risk areas; such as hospitals nor do they have to wait for the removal with doctor’s offices being closed at this time

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Dr. Samir K. Sinha

Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health Systems and the University Health Network

PSWs, Nurses and Therapists are a vital part of our healthcare system. The home and community services they provide are essential in supporting older Canadians to lead healthy and active lives and enable them to age in the place of their choice.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the ongoing dedication and efforts of homecare providers will be essential to helping millions of Canadians remain healthy and independent.

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Esther Kansela Mbombo

PSW, Spectrum Health Care

If I am not here, clients will not be able to take care of themselves, take a shower or do anything… She would be lying all day alone, and she needs help.

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It is about being there for people who need us. If I am not there, they will not be able to take care of themselves. I found a patient needing changing and a bath who could not stand up. She was waiting for me to come. I saw the happiness on her face when I came. If it wasn’t for me, she would be lying all day alone, and she needs help.

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Kaila Jonsen

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

If I didn’t see my clients each day, some wouldn’t be able to turn, sit up or get out of bed. Some wouldn’t be able to pour a drink with poor eyesight, arthritic or shaky hands, often all suffered together…

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Some of my clients can’t chew without remembering their teeth or due to swallowing difficulties that require pacing and positioning throughout their feeding. A few can’t wait for their bi-weekly treat, a warm meal when we have extra time to spare. Some can’t change a single article of clothing or use the bathroom on their own. They can feel, remember and think, but can’t speak, and they rely on me to know when something with them isn’t the same. These are the reasons I come to work motivated each day, because I know that I am essential to the wellbeing of our community’s greater good.

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Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team

Home-Based Interdisciplinary Primary Care for Seniors

Home Care is the foundation for caring for our frail seniors. It is about respect and maintaining health for every person in our community.

Robyne White

Program Manager, March of Dimes Canada

Each one of our team members is the single point of contact providing the social interaction and system navigation that most of our frail clients require to be able to live independently.

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We provide 24/7 mobile prevention and wellness services to people with disabilities and seniors in four public housing buildings and the surrounding community. Without us, these most vulnerable and compromised individuals would not be able to live in their homes. Our goal during this pandemic is to keep our clients healthy, safe and strong. We provide essential services such as personal care, medication prompts, promotion of better nutrition with meal preparation and most importantly support those that are feeling socially isolated during these difficult times.

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Courtney Hodder

Nurse, Eastern Health

Whether it is wound care, palliative services or medication administrations, [our care] provides clients with the comfort of being at home… it removes a multitude of barriers to health care which further promotes health and wellbeing

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Home care is and always has been an essential service. Our most vulnerable populations are able to reside comfortably in their homes while receiving the care they need. It allows for clients to overcome any barriers or challenges to health care accessibility. Home care is even more essential now, during a time where clients are generally unable to leave their homes. Even those who would not typically avail of such services are now leaning on us for support.

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Jane Makwe

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

The home care I provide gives my clients a sense of belonging, independence and self-worth… It also reduces the burden of care on family members to give everyone a better quality of life.

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My experience in home care is about going above and beyond to treat my clients. The sick, disabled, and elderly are vulnerable people who need help with activities of daily living. [The home care I provide] also gives clients hope and relief from constant pain by leaving a mark of laughter every time I visit to keep them going in the environment where they are most comfortable and at ease….I am highly elated that I’m able to reach hearts, not only that of my clients but also their family members.

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Sarah Lawrence and Jo-Anne Blyde

Special Assistance Program Coordinator, Eastern Health

The program we work with provides medical supplies and equipment to clients to support them in remaining in their own homes with varied levels of abilities and complexities of care.

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Among other supportive duties, they [home support workers] help clients properly utilize the required medical supplies and equipment and ensure they are cared for safety. Without home support services, many clients would be at higher risk of injury or illness and that could also lead to would hospital or institutional admission.

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Jennifer Huehn

Nurse, Spectrum Health Care

We are their lifeline to the outside world…We ensure preventative measures by visiting and being able to identify potential problems to ensure the risk remains low.

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The population is at risk, the elderly and vulnerable are unable to get out of their homes for fear of becoming infected. They are unable to see their family and friends; We are their lifeline to the outside world. We listen and patients know that their health and safety are important. We liaise with other health professionals to ensure patient’s needs are being met and that they remain healthy. I see the fear in their eyes. I know that I can help and alleviate the uneasiness in this uncertain world. My life has always been helping people, that will never change.

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Dr. Elizabeth Mui

Physician

Home care helps us keep our frail seniors safe at home: They are our eyes and ears in the community.

Doreen Harty

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

Home care is essential because it minimizes the risk of COVID-19 infection for our immunocompromised and vulnerable clients as they receive the care they need at home.

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The care I have provided for my clients hasn’t changed much compared to my regular care, as I always aim to stay safe and keep my clients at ease. In my experience, every one of my clients and their families have been taking the extra steps to ensure that as well. What motivates me to keep working in this difficult time is knowing that I’m making a difference and able to help my clients. Hearing my clients say ‘thank you,’ is more than enough.

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Ryan Dinn

Social Worker, Eastern Health

For my clients and their families, it’s clear that home care services are critically important at this time.

Jessica Walsh and Emily Hicks

Community Health Nurse, Eastern Health

Nobody wants to be in a hospital or a clinic. Home care is vital to our seniors and vulnerable population to maintain their independence.

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It is a privilege to do what we do, to help people get the care they need in the comfort of their own homes. Home care clients [we] have cared for are so appreciative of the help they receive so that they can stay in their homes and maintain their independence. Seeing the benefits of it firsthand is great motivation…. the clients say that when they have [home support workers] long-term, they become like family to them.

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Kelly Magloughlen

PSW, Closing the Gap

Seniors feel socially isolated and need help to maintain their health to avoid hospital visits.

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Clients feel safer in their own home and care is personalized to their needs. Having more time to spend with each client and get to know them as a person.

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Ruby Arce

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

Our clients rely on us to not only provide personal care, but other things too such as meal prep, housekeeping and caregiver relief.

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I choose to help because I see a lot of clients that need our help and we give them hope. When they are feeling aches and pains because of their condition, being there makes a difference. They always look forward on your next visit; you uplift their spirit by talking to them and doing extra chores, ensuring their health and safety had been met.

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Nezha Isack

PSW, Paramed Home Health Care

I need to provide safe care with physical tasks, like bathing, dressing and toileting

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I just keep going forward, following precautions, and just hope we don’t get COVID 19.

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Vanessa De Petrillo

RPN, Community Nursing Closing the Gap

Most clients are going through very difficult and new situations and worry about new complications. When I provide care, I put these clients at ease and ensure any new health changes are relayed to their physicians.

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The care that I provide makes a difference to my home care clients because a lot of the time clients cannot leave their home to go to clinics, hospitals or doctors’ offices every day or every other day. Home care clients really appreciate you coming to their home to provide different services, for example wound care, drain care and catheter care. We community nurses expand their disease knowledge by providing teaching and walking them through each step of care during the visit that other health care providers may have not had the time to do. This gives clients more confidence with the care that is being provided. Knowing these clients are comfortable with their care gives me joy and makes me want to work harder for them.

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Terry Mahon

Social Worker, Eastern Health

…It serves to empower clients, maintain their sense of self-determination, dignity and respect.

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Working with vulnerable populations is inherent to social work practice. While times have been challenging in 2020 the ability to provide services to client’s who need them provides intrinsic rewards and is simply part of what we do as health care providers. Home Care is an essential service that allows people to remain in their own home while continuing to ensure their daily care needs are maintained. It serves to empower clients, maintain their sense of self-determination, dignity and respect.

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CARP members regularly express their desire to age at home, and with the right supports at home, they can continue to live with dignity, independence, and autonomy

Tammy Simms

RPN, EOL Palliative Care – Infant Bayshore HealthCare Ltd.

Having the skill and ability to bring this infant home, to allow his parents and family the opportunity to be with him through his journey, is why we do what we do.

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I supported an infant that had been in NICU and discharged to home for end of life with family. His care was complex including need to manage his multiple co morbidities, pain management and seizure management. A family plan was developed to enable him to remain at home with symptoms being managed, develop the advanced care plan, and support family members with end of life care. I was able to pronounce death working in collaboration with the most responsible physician and support the family with making funeral arrangements and bereavement.

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Pushpal Dhanoa

Visiting Registered Nurse, Spectrum Health Care

Throughout this petrifying pandemic, it makes them feel safer and more comfortable to be in their own home and be provided with the same healthcare they would receive outside.

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The noble thought of serving my clients in this difficult time of covid-19 gives me lots of motivation and gratitude

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Marva Williams

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

Home care is essential during this time because many clients live alone and are unable to manage their personal care.

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The satisfaction on my clients’ faces after receiving care knowing that they can continue to live at home independently motivates me every day.

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Norma

PSW, Paramed Home Health Care

Some clients have family to help or support during the virus. Clients who live alone need our service not only for personal care but also for companion.

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Home care is essential as we have clients who live alone and depend on our visits….When my time is over with my client, I want to make sure they are comfortable and happy before I leave.

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Estrella Rafael

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

When everything around my clients is in chaos, one thing that remains constant for them is our care. We provide stability.

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My experience providing homecare is that we become like family to the clients. They depend on us and trust us to give them our best. To the client we are angels sent to look after them and they are so grateful. I am motivated to continue providing care in the home because I see how happy clients are to be able to continue living in their own home, and they know this would not be possible without the care I provide.

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Belinda Mendoza

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

The care I provide brightens my clients’ day each and every day – even before the end of my shift I’m often asked when my next visit will be.

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Knowing that my team is with me in every step of the way is more than enough for me to fight the battle against our unseen enemy COVID-19.

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Candice Carson

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

Confidantes. Advocates. Lifelines. We are imperative to maintaining the holistic health of our most vulnerable citizens in an isolated world.

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Through the care I provide,] clients have shown an increased sense of self-worth and confidence. Unwavering support in a client’s ability to overcome strengthens their personal ambition to transcend physical and mental challenges. Everyday I come home to my children knowing I am portraying altruistic trait I would be proud to see in them. I take comfort in knowing that I have a positive influence on the lives of others. .

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Enerietth

PSW, Paramed Home Health Care

I support adults who are more vulnerable due to their physical or mental conditions. Our services are really important for them and their family

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[This is] my vocation and providing good service within the community motivates me to continue providing care in the home.

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Angelita Gonzales

PSW, VHA Home HealthCare

I am content knowing that my work helps clients stay safe at home and promotes an optimal lifestyle during this pandemic.

The National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) recognizes the importance of home and community-based care as essential components to the well-being of the elderly in Canada.

Charlene Luffman

Social Worker, Eastern Health

As part of my Social Work role, I provide a clinical assessment and a service coordination with home care providers to ensure a client’s needs can be met by remaining at home.

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Home Care service has provided to individuals inherent dignity and worth by allowing them the ability to have some autonomy about where to reside and to remain at home as long as possible. Over 25 years ago, I worked as a Home Support Worker servicing at that time the vulnerable population who required supports to remain at home. Today as a Social Worker it is evident that with every passing generation in Canada remains an inherent need for Home Care services. It is clear that what does not change in Canada is the need by our vulnerable persons such as disability, seniors and palliative clients to be provided the essential support necessary to maintain safe and comfortable residential living.

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Danielle Pollack

President and Founder, Equinoxe LifeCare

The use of technology, ipads with built in internet, guarantee on going support to break isolation for clients who do not have full time help.

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Personalized services based on individual care plans, focusing on hygiene and high touch care. Nurses are able to monitor patients closely with technology, overlooking chronic conditions, medication and nutrition. This and a few hours a day of personal care eliminates feelings of isolation. Less strain on resources while maximising care for frail elderly.

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Nabila Karim

Registered Practical Nurse, SE Health

Homecare gives our clients the ability to preserve the things that are most important to them, like being in a familiar environment with family & friends, while still getting the necessary care they need.

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I take pride in delivering essential care to clients and building trust where they are comfortable and safe – at home. The care I provide allows my clients to receive excellence in continuity of care – from the same nurses and caregivers they trust – in the privacy of their own homes.

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Marcia Pekar

Caregiver, Home Care Assistance

In home caregiver for 4 years. Rewarding and absolutely necessary for Alzheimer’s, seniors and palliative clients to remain in an intimate environment.

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These clients are typically not capable of living alone, and often require one-on-one support. They feel safer and more comfortable in their home environment, and also appreciate the companionship. I have always had a nurturing character, and find it rewarding to provide support for good people that truly need my help. I also find it fulfilling to give clients the opportunity to remain in their home, avoiding the impersonal and sometimes lonely environment of a facility.

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Sherry Fjell

PSW, Acclaim Health

I have cared for people who have COVID-19. When no one else can be with these people I can be there for them.

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I am a professional and I take the care I provide seriously. Through my work I show that personal support workers are a valuable part of the team and should be treated that way.

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Homecare is essential to the success of our healthcare system. By allowing people to stay in their own home, we are promoting quality of life, independence and overall happiness. A national strategy on Homecare would enable Canadians to be a part of life for their loved ones, until the very end. This is a necessary step towards improving our healthcare sectors.

Emalyn Singson

Registered Practical Nurse, RNS Health Care Services Inc

The children I visit require complex care in every facet of their lives which requires incredible trust and interpersonal connections.

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The clients parents know and understand that the care I provide will put the child at ease and as a result this provides comfort to the parents as well. Being able to see the children’s conditions improve, seeing them happy, and watch them grow up is a great reward for my commitment of their care.

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Casey Dumaresq

Speech-Language Pathologist, RNS Health Care Services

I provide home care for my clients with swallowing disorders. Without my visits, my clients would cough and choke while eating and drinking, and could develop aspiration pneumonia.

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Without my services, my clients would be much more likely to need urgent medical services and hospitalization. Seeing my clients in their homes allows hospitals to focus on COVID-19, and allows my clients to have a higher quality of life while eating and drinking.

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Dawn Smith-Thomas

Continuing Care Assistant (in training), Closing the Gap Healthcare

Safety in the home is important and daily, I assess risks and work with the client (and my supervisor) to minimize these risks and prevent accidents and falls.

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I also assist clients with daily living activities such as preparing meals, house keeping, maintaining proper hygiene and doing their laundry as all of these helps to satisfy the necessities of life. As a home care worker, I have found that being there to provide emotionally support goes a far way; clients have said it makes them happy that they can share their thoughts as it relieves stress and reduces depression and anxiety…. I highlight and report changes in behaviour and health as they surface as early detection can reduce possible hospitalization. I also complete client’s charts daily as it tracks care provided and assists in continuity of service. I encourage clients to connect and communicate with their relatives and friends as some live alone and feel isolated and this has proven effective as it gives a sense of belonging. Lastly, I provide medication cues as not taking medication can cause complications, wear the required personal protective equipment and be centred and grounded on each visit.

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Rupa Patel

PSW, RNS Health Care Services

A lot of my clients are in a vulnerable state where they depend on me to help them with their essential daily routine such as feeing them, helping them get dressed, showering, and reminding them to take medication

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Some of my clients do not have any family that can help them as they live alone so they rely on me to help them with their everyday life. My services allow my clients to take part in their daily routine with ease. It encourages them to smile and allows them to feel cared for which gives them a sense of love and belonging… Making my clients smile makes me smile because I can brighten someone’s day just by providing them with good care.

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Debbie Jensen

PSW, RNS Health Care Services

The care I provide makes a difference to my clients because they cannot do it themselves and or they don’t have anybody else in the home to help them.

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Therefore, they are generally grateful that I go in to their homes and help them do the things they cannot do on their own. As a PSW I do personal care, showers/baths, ADLs, physiotherapy, medication reminders, and so much more.

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