January 15, 2015 was a very special day at Jennings Hall. This was the day that the seniors born in the month of January celebrated their birthdays, and it was also the last clinical day for the Home Health Aide class the completion of which would earn them their certificates.
Jennings Hall is one of the branches of St. Nicks Alliance Elder Care division. The facility offers an Assisted Living Program allowing local seniors to age in place preserving their independence while receiving the care necessary to help them live their lives to the fullest.
It was only natural that St. Nicks Alliance would partner with LaGuardia Community College /CUNY Career Ladders in Allied Health Office in sponsoring Home Health Aide Training Classes. Eligible students trained in a classroom and participated in clinical trainings at Jennings Hall. Home Health Aide workers once certified are qualified to carry out daily health care needs and well-being tasks for the benefit of their clients.
Duchess de Guzman instructed her class at LaGuardia Community College and at the clinicals at Jennings Hall. She is a natural teacher and caretaker, which was evident in the camaraderie and respect demonstrated by her students. The students: Cynthia Santos, Dominique Patterson, Amanda Sweeney, Deedar Jillah, and Claville Duncan are a dedicated bunch. All of them had a history of taking care of a relative and gravitation toward helping others.
At 14, Amanda Sweeney cared for her grandfather when he had an ulcer on his leg; her manner is warm and comforting so it’s not hard to believe that patients become attached to her and she is fond of them, “It’s hard to say goodbye, goodbye is part of it. It’s not for everyone, you have to have a passion for this,” she says. Amanda is interested in phlebotomy and wants to go on to become an RN.
As a youth Deedar nursed his father and says working as a HHA is, “a golden opportunity to serve the community.”
Dominique Patterson always helps other people, with the elderly she’ll ask if they need help first and finds they always love being helped with things like going to the market. She is considering pursuing a PhD in nursing.
Cynthia Santos has always been interested in health. She used to be an EMT and took the training to gain more advanced skills. She has goals to bring more dignified care to the hospital environment.
Claville Duncan says she has learned so much from the training that it has equipped her to tend to the needs of the elderly and the handicapped.
The class’ duties for the Birthday Celebration were to assist in serving cake, coffee, and fruit cups. Caring for someone’s wellbeing doesn’t always center on taking blood pressure or medication management. Assisting with dressing and bathing, laundry and housekeeping, scheduling appointments, etc. are all part of the work too.
Myrna Shrouder-Yen, the Administrator of the Assisted Living Program at Jennings Hall said, “It has been a delight seeing the interactions between our Clients and the Students. The students bring with them great enthusiasm and an eagerness to serve. I believe the relationship formed between Laguardia Community College and St. Nicks Alliance is a win-win for all — the students gain valuable hands-on experience caring for those in need of assistance and St. Nicks has an opportunity to employ them in Home Care or the Assisted Living Program once they have secured their Home Health Aide Certifications.”
Seven seniors took their place behind the cake to blow out the candles. You could see them take the moments in with the present moment, as they made their birthday wishes. Seniors and students alike got to celebrate with a piece of cake.