Special need means special effort

Home Care Aides undergo intensive training for clients



Home Care Aide Lilian Thiongo learns how to properly don an N-95 respirator.

Full Life Home Care Aides are coming through for Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) residents after a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

A number of DESC residential buildings have been dealing with a sudden increase in infections in January.

Infected residents are being asked to quarantine in place and, obviously, can’t have visitors. But Full Life has other clients in these buildings who have avoided COVID and still need Home Care Aides to come in and care for them.

Going into buildings where an outbreak has occurred can be risky. But with increases safety measures, Home Care Aides can still perform their duties. So Full Life’s Home Care administration team rushed into action.

“First, we just asked for volunteers,” said Full Life’s Home Care Director, Julian Reisenthel. “To their credit, every single Home Care Aide said, ‘Yes, we’ll step up.’ That was an amazing show of dedication.”

Within days, Home Care Employment and Recruitment manager Rae Kirumbi and his team crafted an intensive training regimen that included detailed and extensive education in the use of Personal Protective Equipment and how to properly don and care for N-95 respirators.

HCER Managaer Rae Kirumbi sprays mist into the hood on Lilian Thiongo to test the snug fit of her N-95 respirator.

The test fitting involves wearing the N-95 mask and special hood while a bitter mist is sprayed into the hood. If the mask is fitting properly, the mist is undetectable. The entire procedure includes head and body movements and can take from 15-20 minutes to be done properly.

In small groups, Home Care Aides have been attending these training sessions at Full Life’s Columbia City facility. Once their training is complete, they’ll be ready to return to DESC buildings and continue caring for clients with the knowledge that they are keeping themselves and their clients safe.

“We pulled this effort together in an incredibly short amount of time. Rae, Marquis Henderson and their folks really stepped up,” Julian said. “And the Home Care Aides – what can I say? We are in awe of their dedication to their clients. I am so proud that we are working with such amazing people. They’re the greatest!”

Home Care Aides Florence Kiongo, Lilian Thiongo and Naomi Kamau show off their N-95 respirators at recent training.