Since 1983, November is recognized as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a type of dementia that is the sixth leading cause of death in America and is afflicting over five million individuals. Because Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disorder, in the early stages, family members and other care providers are able to provide enough support to allow the individual to maintain their independence until the challenges become too great. This working tourist profile highlights the career choices of someone who has years of experience providing home health care services to many such individuals.
Sonia McAllister has been a RN for more than 20 years, the last five of which she has spent in Home Health Care. She has worked in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, and also has 10 years of experience in acute care, specializing in cardiac intensive care. Her time caring for patients who were trying to recover from heart ailments helped to lead her own heart toward a home health care career.
“I had been working in acute cardiac care for many years, and I felt it was time to try something different,” she explains. “Honestly, I began home health on a whim. I accepted a position for the weekends and totally fell in love with it.”
Sonia is a great proponent of nurses giving home health care a try. It is vastly understaffed as a specialty and will continue to keep growing as more and more seniors choose to live at home as long as possible.
“For anyone who is new to home health, or considering it, I always advise giving it six months or more before deciding to move into something else. There are new rules and regulations to learn, and when you are new to home health, they can be overwhelming at first. But, once you get past those first few months and get comfortable, I believe you will love it.”
For the past year, Sonia has been traveling as a home health care provider. For now, she is staying in and around the southeast while her daughter finishes up college in Alabama. She began traveling because she wanted to experience new things, but didn’t want to give up home health care. Now she claims to have the best of both worlds as she can experience new places while still furthering her career. She is a big fan of music festivals, car shows, and other festive events regardless of where she is traveling. Once her daughter is finished with school, she looks forward to exploring the rest of the United States.
For Alzheimer’s and other patients that require frequent or even constant care, Home Care providers are the family’s main connection to healthcare services.
“In my opinion, Home Health Care is often overlooked or underestimated,” said Sonia. “Home care is all about helping the individual and their caregiver in becoming more independent and safe in their environment. For some, like those with diabetes or COPD, this can be accomplished through education and training about chronic disease management and helping reduce preventable hospitalizations."
“For patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, other home health services are also provided, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy.”
Sonia went on to explain that her role in providing care for an Alzheimer’s patient is to assist them in maintaining their independence as safely as possible, for as long as possible. She spends a lot of time with the family or other caregiver teaching them about providing supports with daily living skills, managing medications, keeping the environment and surroundings safe, etc.
When asked about how traveling as a home health care RN has helped her in her career, as usual, Sonia’s focus was on her patients. “The greatest benefit for me is having the opportunity to provide individualized one-on-one services to those I am caring for.”
If you want to experience working in home health care, Supplemental Health Care has opportunities available all over the country for RNs, LPNs, and Allied staff. Check out our powerful job search tool or contact one of our recruitment professionals today.