While many overlook the fact that the way care is provided is just as important as the care itself, Sharen gets it. After four years of being a nurse and while currently waiting to take her Diploma in Nursing, Sharen took up part-time nursing with Homage. We chat with her to find out more about her experience and how caregiving has helped her and others.
What motivated you to become a Homage Care Pro and take up part-time nursing?
Sharen: The flexible working hours, higher income, more “me” time, and the ability to give undivided attention to one senior. The last one is the most important. Being able to focus on one patient at a time is crucial because then you’ll understand what a patient really needs.
You’ve had four years of nursing experience in a hospital. How does it feel like being a Homage Care Pro?
Sharen: It’s a huge adjustment for me as I have to work independently as a Care Pro. I used to work in a team-based environment where I worried less because I knew there were people who could help me. That said, I like that I can provide ideal care for each senior as a Homage Care Pro, by spending time with them and getting to know their story.
What was your first assignment like?
Sharen: My very first care recipient was Uncle L, who was on peritoneal dialysis (a treatment for kidney failure) and NG tube (nasogastric tube inserted through the nose for short or medium-term nutritional support).
I helped to look after Uncle L to support the family and lighten the load of the family’s domestic helper who woke up at 5.30am and had to alternate between taking care of him and doing housework. I noticed that he sat on a reclining chair in his room for four to five hours straight, so I encouraged him to do simple exercises and leave his room so his family could easily provide him companionship.
Although he got tired easily, I was happy that he listened to my suggestions. He started sitting up more often! Uncle L was also very nice, so I wasn’t so nervous after my first assignment ended.
Are there other assignments you’re especially proud of?
Sharen: My second care recipient was an ah ma (granny) who was admitted to the hospital for 30 days due to a brain tumour, and was unable to move around much. As she had bad knee pains, I guided her in doing simple exercises every day to strengthen her muscles.
After a few sessions, there were significant improvements in ah ma’s condition and mobility – she could transfer herself from bed to chair with minimal support. I was delighted to see that she could wean off painkillers too!
How do you think you have grown as our Care Pro?
Sharen: As a Care Pro, you create endless amounts of magic that impact a senior’s life. It is heartening that my job can touch more than one life – I’m also impacting families as well as they know that there’s someone they can rely on. It boosts both my confidence and sense of independence.
How do Care Pros make a difference in the lives of families they’ve helped?
Sharen: We empower caregivers and families when we help to look after their family member. It’s great teaching and knowing that your caregiving methods have been adopted by the families. It’s even more fulfilling when you witness the slightest of improvements in the senior’s wellbeing.
Some families without a medical background might be scared of attending to the family member, like dressing their wounds – but that’s how Care Pros make a difference by guiding and supporting them. The reward is in the simplest “thank you” that families express to me.