The Power of Caring
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia
Health care requires compassion, sincerity and empathy on an individual level for patients to receive the care they deserve. To me, home health seems to be set apart by the uniqueness of care provided even more than other areas of health care.
I started on my journey as a home health nurse after only two years of nursing experience. I was unaware what all home health nursing would include, nor did I realize the complete change in the type of care I would be providing.
When a patient accepts us into his or her home, we are but mere strangers with a name badge, at first. They demonstrate a very high degree of trust in the unknown. They have hope they will receive the care needed to remain at home. Over time the relationship built between the patients, caregivers and home health staff can be astounding and heartfelt.
Just recently at a high school soccer game, I was approached by a woman who was a caregiver of a previous patient. She smiled, hugged me and went on to say, “There was a time I was lost, not sure how we were going to survive at home after 176 days in a facility. But I pulled up in my driveway where you were already waiting on us and I felt relief flood through me.” She felt reassured by the support and presence of our home health team during one of her most vulnerable times as a caregiver.
As home health providers, we are put into unique situations because of uncontrolled environments, but this does not lessen our drive to deliver the highest quality of care in each of those unforeseen circumstances. The unexpected becomes the normal at times, but the level of resilience to deliver compassionate care by all my co-workers, including support staff, is awe-inspiring to witness. At times, we become the only visitor the patient has to look forward to each week.
Home health not only focuses on improving physical health, but on all areas of concern that can affect daily life—including emotional, social, mental or coping strategies. Our team’s work may include wound care, medication management or education by the nurse; strengthening or balance training by therapy services; or social work to help with community resource referrals.
Since joining the home health team, I have experienced home health care from a family member standpoint, which has helped me to gain insight on the power of caring. I have been able to personally experience what I have tried to provide to my patients and their caregivers, and it is humbling. There is always someone needing what only the power of caring can provide, and I truly believe home health care staff carry that into each home.
As home health nurses, we enter patients' home as mere strangers with name badges at first. Patients place their hope & trust in us.