In our business, death is an unfortunate fact of life.  Most of the time, however, we do not see the impact that the death of a loved one has on the family, nor do we have the chance to try to ease some of that pain.  Sometimes, a member of the Premier Team takes the extra step to making the transition from life to death just a bit easier for the patient as well as the family.  Shirley Jenkins took that step.

Shirley has been a member of the Premier Team since 2005.  During that time, she has shown herself to be a compassionate and devoted HHA, loyal to the Company and protective of her patients.  Shirley has always been a standard by which aspiring home care workers could strive towards.  In late May, however, Shirley raised the bar a bit higher. 

Arriving at the admission of a new patient, a gentleman in his mid 80’s who we shall refer to as “Mr Smith”, Shirley met the family, while connecting with the patient.  She sat with the FNS and Office Administrator, helping to guide the patient through the admission process.  After about 90 minutes, the FNS and OA left the home, leaving Shirley with Mr. Smith and his daughter.  Soon after, while transferring Mr. Smith into his favorite recliner, Mr. Smith collapsed and did not appear to be breathing.  Without missing a beat, Shirley insured that Mr. Smith was secure and safe, called 911 and sat on the floor with her patient and his daughter, awaiting the arrival of EMS.  When EMS arrived on the scene, they spent 20 minutes in a futile effort to revive the patient.  During this time, Shirley had Mr. Smith’s daughter outside of the house, comforting her and keeping her away from the sights and sounds of her father’s death, waiting for other members of the family to arrive.

Once family members got to the house, most aides would be expected to leave the home.  Not Shirley.  Sensing a need, Shirley remained with the family, without expectation of being paid for this time, for several hours.  She did whatever needed to be done; give a hug, get a glass of water, help to clean up the debris left by EMS and just lend support to a family trying to come to terms with its grief.

Shirley Jenkins is a shining example of what Home Health Aides should be.  Her passion, compassion and empathy made one of life’s most difficult moments, just a bit easier for a family.  She is an example of the best that the home care profession has to offer.

– West Orange Branch