It’s never an easy time when a family member falls ill. You might worry for their welfare, or perhaps you feel a sense of grief. It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions, and everyone expresses them differently. If anyone understands that well, it’s the nurses that care for those sick loved ones and family members in the home.
When a nurse walks into the home, they walk into the patient’s territory. They see how the patient and the patient’s family interact with each other. They see the family’s culture. They see the family’s way of life. Home health is unique in that it allows the care giver to empathize, understand, and appropriately react to the entire situation surrounding the need for care. And that’s exactly the mindset NEPA RN Michelle Cook takes into each home.
“You are caring for another human being,” Michelle said. “I always care for [my patient’s] as if they are a family member. Even as if they are me. That could be me in a few years so I treat them how I would want to be treated.”
Prior to home health, Michelle spent a lot of her nursing career in long-term care. Long-term care focuses on assisting the patient with personal everyday tasks that they cannot perhaps complete on their own. The level and length of care changes per patient, however sometimes Michelle would be with a patient for 12-14 hours in one day.
After serving in long-term care for nearly five years, she made the switch to home health and in 2015, she started at Celtic.
Growing up, Michelle was raised on a dairy farm, however she was always surrounded by healthcare. Both her parents were in the medical field: her mother a nurse and her step-father a paramedic, so she always knew it was something she would end up doing.
“I believe I was meant to do this,” Michelle said. “I was exposed to it at such a young age. I knew living on a dairy farm was not something I wanted to do but wanting to help people was always with me.”
Helping people through tough times is exactly what she does. Michelle strives to make an impact on each patient whose home she walks into, and recently that goal was affirmed by a patient who personally reached out to praise her care. Her former patient called her a caring and compassionate person who took great care of him.
Just as Michelle has an impact on her patients, her patients sometimes have an impact on her. She particularly recalls a patient with dementia whom she cared for in long-term care for 14 hours a day. Having to forego six months of personal life to help this man with his every need, she became a member of his family.
“He was at the end stages of life in his late 50s and it was hard for the family to cope,” Michelle said. “It was a lot of one on one time and he had to be with a staff member at all times. I still talk to his wife and family to this day.”
Michelle fortified a relationship with that family, and it still holds true today. That’s kind of impact a nurse can have on a family experiencing that wide range of emotions. Sometimes a caring, comforting and empathetic nurse is exactly what is needed.
We are appreciative and proud to have someone like Michelle represent Celtic. Thank you for all you do!
Blog post by Troy Abbott – Assistant to Director of Strategic Projects for the CEO