Kansas City Nursing News

Home care employees celebrate

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Written by Linda Friedel, contributing writer
Monday, 22 November 2010 08:00
altAlex Carter-Bonham/Nursing News photo: FROM LEFT: Connie Arnold, RN, of Connicare, stands next to Sharon Armine, a caregiver with Kansas City Home Care and Cheryl Smith, president of Kansas City Home Care. The trio celebrated National Home Care and Hospice month together earlier this month.

Employees at Kansas City Home Care broke cake, snapped photos and swapped laughs during a recent company celebration.Kansas City Home Care Founder and President Cheryl Smith celebrated National Home Care Month with employees at their home office in Overland Park. She said that kind of recognition goes on all year long at her company.

“You’re only as good as the people you hire,” Smith said. “They need to be celebrated every year for what they do. We really value our caregivers.”

Smith throws recognition events throughout the year acknowledging her staff of nearly 100. She themes employee celebrations around holidays and seasons for the people she says are the backbone of her company.

“These people are so special to us,” she said. “It’s about them.”

Smith founded Kansas City Home Care in 1989 after years of work in related businesses.

She developed a data base of nursing homes in 1984 and listened to what families wanted as she provided information to help them make decisions. Families consistently told Smith they wanted an at-home quality life for their loved ones.

“I saw a business need,” Smith said

Kansas City Home Care provides daily home care and geriatric care management.

Smith said she sees a low turn-over with employees, some of whom hail from several generations in the same family. She chalks up employee loyalty to simple acts that say thank you. In addition to employee birthday cards, holiday cards and recognition events, Smith says she pays her CNAs extremely well, provides health and dental benefits and carefully matches the CNAs with clients to promote long term relationships.

“We go to the ends of the earth for our caregivers,” Smith said. “I’m passionate about the industry—taking care of seniors in their homes.”

Kansas City Home Care employees Addie Mefford, CNA, her mother Sharon Blanton, client care manager, and her grandmother, Carol Sayre, caregiver, said their passion for working with seniors in their homes stems from their own family values.

“I just followed in line,” Mefford said. “I just watched my mom do it forever. I just like to help.”

Blanton, who has worked with Kansas City Home Care since 1994 said she watched her mother care in a loving manner for aging and sick family members. It seemed like a natural fit for her she said.

“My mother instilled very good work ethics in all of us. She did a fantastic job,” Blanton said.

Sayre cares for two clients, one she helps walk, move from the bed, shower, dress, prepare meals and clean house. Sayre serves as a companion for her second client.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “The clients are so appreciative for everything I do for them.”

Sayre and Blanton said they especially enjoy hospice care.

“They’re not alone,” Sayre said. “I want them to know there’s someone there. Everybody needs somebody when they pass.”

Connie Arnold, RN, BSN, is president of Connicare, a private agency that works collaboratively with Kansas City Home Care to help with medical management.

“A person should be able to stay in their home,” Arnold said. “I’m very passionate about keeping people in their homes if that’s what they want.”

Arnold helps families advocate for loved ones to stay in their homes in spite of declining abilities, providing medical management coordinating with doctors, occupational therapists and physical therapists.

“Sometimes people just need guidance,” she said. “We are in tune with resources all over the city.”

Ella Scott, caregiver Kansas City Home Care, said caregivers must be willing to sacrifice and put others first every day.

“You’re there to serve them,” she said. “Sometimes our caregivers are the only one they see that day.”

Scott said clients reward her regularly.

“They love you,” she said. “They tell you they love you. They give you gratitude and appreciation.”