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A Day in the Life: A Direct Care Worker's Compassionate Journey

By MissionCare Collective | Jan 08, 2024

A Day in the Life: A Direct Care Worker's Compassionate Journey

Faye, a dedicated direct care worker, brings both empathy and personal experience into her career. In an exclusive interview, she opens up about her journey into the field of caregiving, the rewards, challenges, and her unique perspective on what it takes to excel in a profession that requires profound sensitivity and personal touch.

A Calling Rooted in Personal Experience
Faye's foray into caregiving began with caring for her own family members. When both her grandmother and aunt fell ill, she saw firsthand the importance of quality care. After moving back to Florida, she sought a career that would resonate with her deeply personal experience and soon found herself working with a caregiving agency.

Her career, however, was not without its stumbling blocks. Initially, the agency she joined wasn't the right fit. Determined, Faye went on to acquire a 45-hour certificate as an HHA and eventually became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

The Rewards of Care
The most rewarding part of her job, according to Faye, is the people she serves. "Every time I meet a new patient I walk into their home and I tell them, I’m here to serve you." Her approach emphasizes respect and a focus on serving the individual needs of each patient.

Challenges in the Field
However, the job does not come without its challenges. Faye has had to navigate complex family dynamics and even deal with situations where other caregivers were not providing proper care. In one poignant story, Faye fought to get her job back to take care of a patient who she loved, only to face opposition from a family member who was more interested in her inheritance.

Training and Supplies
The agency's training and supply provision vary, and this inconsistency has led Faye to take matters into her own hands. Whether it's conducting her own research about a new client or purchasing necessary supplies, she often has to go the extra mile to ensure her patients receive proper care.

Safety Concerns and Mismanagement
Unfortunately, there have been instances where Faye has felt mistreated or unsafe. Whether it's dealing with a potentially violent dementia patient or encountering offensive behavior, she has faced situations that have tested her resolve.

Moreover, Faye has witnessed family members mistreating the elderly and has had to deal with agencies that left patients in a state of disarray. "For caregivers, sometimes, you can’t go into someone’s home, you have to fend for yourself," she says, shedding light on the tough realities of her job.

A Plea for Recognition and Support
Rather than monetary rewards or incentives, Faye's desire is simple: work. She emphasizes the need for agencies to focus on their good workers, ensuring that they are kept working and have the opportunity for steady hours.

Her advice to agencies is direct and insightful: "If you have a good worker, concentrate on getting that person work before everyone else."

Faye's story provides an invaluable window into the world of a direct care worker. Her dedication, resilience, and commitment to her patients stand as a testament to the importance of empathy, understanding, and proper support in the caregiving industry.

Her journey underscores the complex realities that caregivers navigate daily. It's a reminder that beyond the technicalities and administrative aspects, the heart of caregiving lies in the human connections, personal integrity, and an unwavering commitment to providing the best care possible.

To listen to Faye’s interview and to see more stories of the direct care workforce, explore the "One Voice. Many Stories" project published in partnership with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.