Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, a personal care aide mainly assisted individuals with activities of daily living such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, dressing and hygiene care. These services are still being provided; however, COVID-19 has increased the need for companionship and what has quickly become a new activity of daily living – connecting clients with their loved ones via emerging technologies.
We spoke with Monique Ross, a 12-year Concordia Private Care personal care aide, about the impacts COVID-19 has had on her clients and herself. Monique serves her clients living in their own homes throughout our southwestern Pennsylvania service area including Concordia’s Highpointe at Rebecca Retirement Living Community located in Allison Park.
Q: How many clients do you serve and are any long-term?
A: I see between 8-12 clients each week. Currently, I have one client who I’ve been with for three years and I have also had a seven-year long-term client at Concordia.
Q: Can you explain how your role as a personal care aide changed during the pandemic and how you’ve helped your clients cope with the current conditions?
A: I have provided a lot more companionship since the pandemic started. It could be as simple as going over a photo album with them and talking about their family. We talk about the good times they have had with their family when they were able to be together. I have also started to teach my clients how to use various video-calling technologies so that they can keep in touch and communicate with their family.
Q: How has the pandemic impacted you and your career?
A: It has made me more aware of my clients’ emotional needs with their family. Myself, and I think a lot of my colleagues, have had an eye-opening experience and see the value of every minute when we are with our clients. The emotional roller coaster that the pandemic has brought on for our clients take their minds through fear, happiness and sadness. And during this pandemic, the aides are the only family-like people the client has.
Q: Do you have any hesitations about continuing to work during the pandemic?
A: I am mostly concerned about bringing something home to my child - but there are extra safety precautions that I take to make sure that I sanitize and protect myself from the virus.
Q: What are you doing for self-care after your visits to ensure that you stay emotionally healthy for you clients, your family, and yourself?
A: I do the best I can for my clients and at the day I feel that it is the best I could do. If there are times where I am troubled by something work-related, I usually talk to my husband without giving names of my clients – just talking about the situation and how I feel and what I feel like I should have done. I also have different hobbies like crocheting where I let my mind think about the day and let it process what I’m troubled about and think about the different solutions that I could have done and if it would have helped or not.
My mother always taught me to leave work at work and home at home. I’ve been following that since I began my Concordia career and it has really helped. But just with any problems I may have at work, I’ve always gone to my service coordinator and normally her and I will come up with a solution. She is the first person I go to about troubled times at work.
Q: You have been with Concordia for several years. What is it about Concordia that you enjoy?
The staff. I’ve always had such wonderful experiences with my Concordia co-workers. My service coordinator and my manager have always listened to me and helped me in times of need. Concordia has always been so understanding by providing a work-life balance. I plan on being with Concordia as long as I possibly can. It's a great work environment!