Cathy Creevey, home health aide for BAYADA Home Health Care, has been named a 2022 Frontline Honors honoree by Home Health Care News.
To become a Frontline Honoree, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a dedicated, high-performing frontline worker who delivers exceptional experiences and outcomes; a passionate worker who knows how to put their vision into action for the good of seniors and aging industry professionals; and an advocate for seniors, their industry, and their peers.
Home Health Care News caught up with Creevey to discuss her time in the home health care industry.
HHCN: What drew you to the Home Health Care industry?
Creevey: I don’t know if I was necessarily drawn to it. I saw that a position was open and I applied for it. I was really hesitant when I came in for training, but it wasn’t long til I realized that it was the right spot for me—and truly my calling. I stay in the industry because I know that I can make a difference to people in my community that need help to stay at home and age in place with dignity and respect.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in the industry?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past 20+ years that I’ve been a home health aide is twofold: First, no two clients are ever the same. You can never take a “rinse and repeat” approach to this job because every client has different needs. Second, you have to be patient and treat people tenderly. You may be the only person that they see walk through their door, and they may be hesitant to open up to you. But as they learn that you are there because you truly care about them, they open up their hearts and usually become like family.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The love. I feel so much love for the people that I care for, and the most wonderful feeling is when you feel that love coming back to you. You have to give it to get it back. That love is what motivates me. I have one client that I see on Saturday mornings and he looks forward to my making him his bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich every week. On Saturday mornings when I wake up at 6 and feel like going back to sleep, I think, “I can’t let him down, he looks forward to this all week!”
What do you want society (or the general public) to know about your job?
As a society, we don’t value home care enough. People don’t realize that it exists until they or a loved one needs it, so in a lot of ways, it’s put on the back burner. People know logically that they’d rather be at home than in a nursing home and that home care is more cost-effective and more person-focused than institutional care. But it’s not something that they think about, and when it gets put on the back burner, it’s not properly prioritized in our society.
What may be one thing leaders don’t know, that you wish they universally knew, about your job?
Continuing on from the previous question: I wish that government leaders understood the importance of proper funding for home care. Right now, people can make more money working in a job that’s less emotionally- or physically-tolling, like in fast food or retail for wages of $15 or more per hour. If home care was better funded, and home health aides were able to get paid what we are really worth, there wouldn’t be as much of a struggle for people to find the care they need to stay home.
Right now, there aren’t enough caregivers in the industry, and as a result people end up in nursing homes and hospitals. It’s important that our leaders see that investing in home care will end up saving government funds because fewer people will end up where it’s more expensive. And I really wish that all legislators could visit a client’s home and see home care in action. If they saw how much of an impact it has on these individuals’ lives, I think that home care would be seen and funded as it should be.
To view the Frontline Honors Class of 2022, visit frontlinehonors.agingmedia.com