Community Health Worker, Residential Care Aide, Home Support Worker, Health Care Assistant—while the job titles might be different, the role of Health Care Assistants in our community is vital to some of our province's most vulnerable populations. With over 35,000 Health Care Assistants working throughout BC, these frontline staff care and provide service to people who cannot care for themselves. Here in Richmond, our staff at Richmond Lions Manor Bridgeport and the Minoru Residence look after 343 residents with varying levels of care.
Today, October 18, is Health Care Assistant day—a day proclaimed by the provincial government to show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication to our health care system.
Nancy Finlayson's dedication to her profession is evident—she has been a Care Aid with Vancouver Coastal Health for more than 30 years and now works with residents at Richmond Lions Manor Bridgeport. She says this line of work was a calling—one she came to realize while helping support her great grandmother through some health challenges.
“I treat every resident like family," Nancy says, adding that she truly loves spending time with the residents. “I get to know them by reading their charts, knowing what their likes and dislikes are. I really try to encourage independence—even something as simple as getting a resident to wash their face. Giving them something to do makes them happy and its little things like that make such a huge different to their quality of life."
And while every day is different, what stays the same are the friends she's made along the way and the teamwork amongst co-workers. “They are true friends whom I call family," she says.
Melanie Monteflor has been a Care Aid for 14 years and says caring, communication, organization, and willingness to help are must-have traits for this kind of work.
“Going home at the end of my shift knowing that I've done my best to care for my residents is what I enjoy most about my job," she says. “Whether it's giving baths and making beds, or getting the residents up for breakfast and assisting with feeding—I feel I'm able to make a difference by spending time with them."
What is evident when speaking to our Care Aid staff in Richmond and throughout the organization is how much pride they have for their work.
“We do so much more than just empty bed pans all day," says Nancy who doesn't get bothered by the common stereotypes of her profession because she knows the integral role her and her fellow co-workers make every day.
Just ask Candice Stanoyev. Her mother Kathleen is 91 years old has been a resident at Richmond Lions Manor for the past three years and couldn't be more thankful for the help her mom receives every day.
“We're super grateful that mom is receiving good quality care," says Candice. “It has provided both my sister and I so much relief knowing that mom is being looked after 24/7 and that they're taking good care of her."
That good quality care is something Jo-Anne Kirk, manager of Residential Care Services at Richmond Lions Manor sees every day. It's not always an easy or glamourous job, but her staff take pride in their work and are always striving to provide the best care possible.
“I have so much appreciation and respect for all of my Care Aide colleagues at Richmond Lions Manor Bridgeport," she says. “The dedicated care and comfort they provide and the relationships they develop through ongoing care is truly foundational for our residents. In recognition of Health Care Assistant Day - thank you all so much!"