As an occupational therapist, I make sure our patients can function safely during everyday activities. The rewarding part of my job is keeping people in their own homes. As an organization Mount Evans has real heart and soul. They truly care about their patients, and I love being part of that. I work in many old historic towns and people have often been in their homes all their lives, sometimes for three generations. If I can help keep a patient in their own home, then I’ve made a difference.
Q: Why did you want to work at Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice?
A: After 20 years of working in a hospital, I was feeling ennui and knew I needed a change. I’d love to say I sought Mount Evans out because now that I work here, I love Mount Evans and am so glad I found it. But it was a friend of mine that was a head hunter who asked me if I knew anyone that might be a good fit for this position, and it was just at the moment I was looking for a job and so everything fell into place. I was thinking I need a change and a phone call came.
Q: What do you find rewarding about your work?
A: I like keeping people in their homes and out of institutions. Especially up here in the mountains, people have been in their homes all their lives, sometimes they are third generation in that house. So keeping people in their homes, as opposed to being in a skilled nursing facility or even a retirement community, is so much more motivating to them.
Q: What does it mean to you to serve our mountain residents?
A: That’s me! I wasn’t born in Colorado, but I’m a mountain guy. I live at 8,000 ft, and this is my home. I feel right at home in these mountain communities. These are my people, if you would. This is my tribe.
Q: Do you feel like you make a difference in the lives of patients?
A. I hope I do. I certainly get feedback from patients that say ‘oh, my gosh, thank you so much.’ Then with other patients I know they appreciate the service, but they don’t always say something. It’s not like you always get accolades of what you’ve done, and that’s why I say ‘I hope I do.’ If staying at home and out of bed it important to them, then I’ve made a difference.
I also want to put forth that it really is a team effort – nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, doctors, social workers, nursing aides—everyone plays a role with every individual patient’s needs and I offer what I can offer.
Q: Describe a moment from your job that touched your heart?
A: One of my first patients at Mount Evans was a 90 year old woman. She’s a recent widow and living at home on her own. When I made my initial phone call to her, she had me on the phone for 20 minutes. She was so nervous about this male stranger coming in to her home, and she felt so vulnerable. She kept saying ‘I don’t know if I need you,’ and I worked to put her at ease and explained what we would do. By the time I visited, we bonded and all the fear was over with, and we became quite close. She will still occasionally call me up and ask for advice or to help her make a decision. With this woman I just feel connected to her as if she was my grandmother, and that’s the kind of stuff you can’t put words or money on.
I like people and having a genuine connection. I try to empower my patients. I step back and say: ‘Listen, you have the right of refusal just say no, but here’s what I can offer.’ Sometimes I only need to be in for a single visit to identify what your needs may be. Once I establish a relationship then they realize this is helpful. People generally respond well to it.
Q: Not all health care organizations are equal, what do you think makes Mount Evans special?
A: This is where I get totally complimentary to Mount Evans. For 20 years I worked at a hospital and I had a good job, I worked with a great team of people and genuinely enjoyed my job. Coming in to Mount Evans, right from the first interview I just noticed how much more personable the whole organization was. Mount Evans truly cares about their patients. They truly care about their staff. My supervisor will respond to my Saturday morning questions. Some therapists continue a friendship with patients long after they are discharged. There’s a real heart and soul to Mount Evans.