Recruiting Heroes NACHA

The hope is that Welcome Home facilitates the culture change many facilities need. “What makes the concept of Welcome Home so appealing,” explains Jeff Wellman, Director of Education at NAHCA, “is that we are not asking somebody to embrace something alien. Everybody has a home, and everybody has those home experiences. We are just trying to take an institution and make it home.” Wellman hopes that by NAHCA offering the Welcome Home Project, every facility can feel that difference. “One of the things most intriguing to me about Welcome Home is it is a way of initiating culture change that is very easy to implement,” remarks Wellman. “It is very logical to implement. On some level, Welcome Home reminds me of other initiatives that have wanted to achieve the same thing but have not been successful because they required too much of the organization. The whole reason for striving to adjust the culture of long-term care is to get to the place where we are serving the unique women and men in a way that is much more meaningful and helpful to them as individual human beings.”

One group that serves day in and day out is Certified Nursing Assistants, CNAs. “These are our heroes,” Lori Long says. At Greenbrier, Long spoke to several CNAs about their job and how the Welcome Home Project has changed their day-to-day activities.

Melinda Easton, Mary Tidwell, Jessica Fitzpatrick, and Mary Cruz are four CNAs who have worked many years at Greenbrier. They spend the most time with residents. In 2015 Cruz was awarded Preceptor of the year, and in 2017 Easton was recognized as Preceptor of the year. A “Preceptor” is a certified nursing assistant who achieved extra credentials to be a trainer. It is a critical position to teach others.

Long asked each CNA gathered to describe their job in one word.

“Passion,” says Easton. “My people know I am here for them; I am not here for myself, I am not here for a paycheck, I am here to take care of them.”

“Courage. This is not a job for just anybody,” explains Fitzpatrick, “you have to have the heart for this job. These residents need us. When no one else is there for them, we have to be there. ”

“Loveable,” states Cruz. “These residents…they know who is here for them and who is here just for the money. A lot of them get attached to you. The way that I treat them, they can see the love that I give them. I give them that love and peace.”

“Trust. Because once your residents get to know you, they know they can count on you to do anything for them,” remarks Tidwell.

The Certified Nursing Assistants agree that working with such a vulnerable population is a calling. Greenbrier administrators encourage the right people to step up and research this career possibility. “People realize the health care field is a strong, stable field. It will always be here. Long-term care will always be here,” remarks Kay Grey, Human Resource Director, and Guide on the homes. “At the end of the day, we go home, and we made a difference in their life,” says Fitzpatrick. “That is what we are here for. This job can be very hard, but it is so special.”

NACHA, or the National Association of Health Care Assistants, has many CNA members nationwide. Long is giving NACHA The Welcome Home Project so that other facilities embrace culture change. “Where I see the difference is that we are now resident-driven instead of institutional. This means the CNAs are more like family. We are still caregivers, but we have a different role in that we provide care and provide the family feeling. Everything they do is what the resident wants to do,” said Deborah Huskey, CNA at Greenbrier.