Saint Andrews – COVID-19 had a huge impact on many businesses, and those deemed non-essential were forced to either close their doors or find innovative ways to do business for a couple of months. Home health care was deemed an essential service, and companies that have staff who go into peoples’ homes to care for them had to find ways to protect their staff and their clients.
One such company is Saint Andrews based A B L E Homecare. Because the company took measures to protect staff and ensure clients still received the best care possible, they have been nominated for a The Saint Croix Courier Shine On award.
A B L E Homecare Owner/Operator Lorraine Noddin said she did whatever she could to support her staff during this time. If they had fears about going into clients’ homes, she would sit down and talk to them to alleviate those fears, and determine if they needed anything to help keep them safe. She did the same for clients, calling either the clients themselves or their family members to find out how they were coping with the pandemic.
“It’s hard for them,” said Noddin. “I had seniors that have often not had care during this time and the families have jumped in with that. Thankfully it’s kind of leveled itself out I’ve had employees who didn’t have childcare because the kids weren’t in school. I was making sure that they have the supplies they need to be protected. At one time I couldn’t get masks, so I had a girlfriend of mine make masks for all of my employees. Just trying to do what I can do to keep people.”
Noddin said in the beginning of the pandemic, she sent out letters to employees and clients about COVID-19 symptoms. She added that each employee was required to call her before entering a client’s home if they had any symptoms, and she asked that the clients do the same if they were experiencing any symptoms of the virus.
“There were checks and balances on both sides. I also talked to them about social distancing and wearing masks.”
In the healthcare industry, social distancing can be a bit of a challenge, and Noddin said it was just as important for her employees to maintain social distancing as it is for the clients. She said one problem they encountered were clients who were allowing family members and friends to visit who weren’t in their bubbles.
“If you have an employee that’s doing all the right things, but the client is letting all kinds of family or friends visit, they’re not protecting the bubble either. It’s give and take on both sides of the fence,” said Noddin.
When employees have to be “up close and personal” with clients, they are required to wear masks at all times. Nodding said there are times when they don’t have to wear masks, such as while doing household chores, and it is all about common sense.
She said she has had clients who refuse to wear masks in their homes, and they don’t allow healthcare workers to wear them either. This has proven to be quite challenging, especially when it comes to certain duties.
“If you were showering them or helping them get dressed or things like that, they need to have their masks and gloves on,” said Noddin. “Some of them are like not in my home, you’re not wearing those. That’s across the board with all of the homecare companies.
“There are people who would prefer them not to wear it. We just tried to talk to them about needing to wear them if they are up close and personal.”
When she was informed about the nomination for a Shine On award, Noddin said she is thrilled her employees and clients felt enough of her and her business to give the nomination. Her ultimate goal is to make sure her employees are happy, and that her clients are happy and well-cared for.
“I just am really happy that they’re feeling that they’re cared for and that makes me happy. I always said that I want people cared for the way I would want my mom cared for.”