Spotlight: Nilda Garcia, Sagrado Corazón

Nilda Garcia and Sagrado Corazón: HealthStar’s Spanish-Speaking Support Service

Spanish-speaking Clients of HealthStar are very familiar with Nilda Garcia. She is the warm and caring voice of the Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart) program for Latino Clients of HealthStar. For 10 years, Nilda has been putting her “special touch” on everything that she does, from event planning to office organization and troubleshooting IT problems. With her recent promotion to Program Manager of Sagrado Corazón, Nilda is ready for action with renewed energy and focus. Nilda, the HealthStar Spotlight is on you!

A little history

Nilda has been with HealthStar since 2008, when she started as an Assistant Program Coordinator in HealthStar’s basement suite on Bloomington and 21st. Then, in 2009, Nilda helped open the West St. Paul office – the original home of Sagrado Corazón. But don’t get too comfortable, Nilda! Just a year later, HealthStar moved from the location on 21st into another building on Franklin Ave in Minneapolis. The West St. Paul office merged into the new location as well.

Nilda made the Franklin office her new home as an Assistant Program Development Liaison. She worked in the community and continued as primary contact for Sagrado Corazón. During the next 2 years, Nilda helped HealthStar achieve Medicare certification and had a front-row seat for the beginning of HealthStar’s Mental Health initiative. In 2010, Nilda watched Corporate move from Maplewood to a new building in North St. Paul. Then, In 2017, the Franklin office moved to a new location in Inver Grove Heights. Once again, Nilda unpacked and organized a new space. This new location is beautiful, with big windows and lots of wild turkeys outside! It’s a great place to re-focus and re-energize. Throughout all these changes, Nilda’s positive attitude and sense of humor kept her office mates in good spirits!

 Nilda, how do you do it all?

So, what makes Nilda tick? How can she weather all these changes and still be a constant source of positive energy? A secret about Nilda – she has superpowers. Lots of them. I’ll tell you about some, but you must promise not to say that I told you. Nilda doesn’t like to be the center of attention and won’t want everyone talking about her special abilities.

Superpower #1

Nilda’s first superpower is that she is amazing with event planning. She loves to get people together and celebrate! Nilda’s smile and laugh bring light and joy to the group. She is a great cook and loves to try new foods. Nilda says that her favorite thing about HealthStar is the family atmosphere. Working here is like working at a family gathering, because you’re surrounded by happy people who care about each other. Nilda fondly remembers when a special Client celebrated her 100th birthday last year – with Nilda at the party, of course! Nilda especially loves planning events for Sagrado Corazón, because she gets to use one of her other superpowers – the Latina superpower!

Superpower #2

Nilda’s Latina superpower comes from her family in South Texas, on the border of Mexico. Nilda loves to celebrate her Latina roots with the Sagrado Corazón team. She is always willing to help teach a little Spanish on the side, which has been one of my personal favorite things about working with Nilda. She is a very lenient Spanish teacher, unlike Cristina Hernandez, Corporate and Twin Cities Skilled Admin – also a superpowered Latina, but much stricter in the Spanish-speaking department! A little-known fact is that Nilda is close friends with Cristina’s mother, Marisol. Get them together, and I can only imagine the cooking and laughing!

Superpower #3

The last superpower that I will reveal about Nilda is that she is a multi-talented and very organized superheroine. She processes payroll, troubleshoots technology issues, and answers phones in two languages (backing up the lovely and talented Barbara Edwards at IGH), all while drinking her French vanilla coffee and running around in her high heels. Nilda is a positive force at the Inver Grove office, keeping things fun and exciting for the team. She has a fabulous sense of humor and is not afraid to pull pranks to get everyone in a good mood. She once dressed up the CPR dummy and scared RN Sue Schaber by leaving it in the bathroom overnight. Boy, was Sue surprised when she came in early thinking she had the office to herself!

Nilda says that her greatest accomplishment at HealthStar is learning to walk in another person’s shoes. She appreciates learning with her team and is grateful for the opportunities that HealthStar offers for personal and professional growth. She knows that she has great things ahead with Sagrado Corazón, and is looking forward to putting renewed focus and energy into the program. We hope you’ll check out what Sagrado Corazón has to offer, and learn more about our awesome team!

Sagrado Corazón Salud en el Hogar

HealthStar Home Health helps the populations we serve by identifying and focusing on prevalent health conditions such as high rates of heart disease or diabetes in specific communities. Responding to requests from people in diverse communities, HealthStar develops culturally-relevant services while identifying barriers to care, and then launches culture-specific care and prevention programs. Today, our culturally-relevant programs offer services that address the unique needs of populations such as African Immigrant, African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, and other communities. Sagrado Corazón Salud en el Hogar addresses the cultural, ethnic and language needs of Minnesota’s Latino community. This month we caught up with Nilda Garcia, Sagrado Corazón program manager to learn more about this particular initiative.

Recognizing the Latino/Spanish presence in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, HealthStar Home Health originally launched the Sagrado Corazón Salud en el Hogar program 10 years ago. It quickly became Minnesota’s premier provider and trusted source of home health services for the Latino community that effectively addresses the unique cultural, ethnic, and language needs of Latinos in Minnesota. Nilda Garcia, Program Manager, works with this and other HealthStar initiatives including Native American culture and English-speaking communities.

Re-Launch

Recently re-launched, the Sagrado Corazón program has more of a presence and built a trust within the community over the years while assessing the needs of this program in the Latino culture. A backbone in the Latino culture is family helping family. Through this program, HeathStar Home Health hires family members to take care of family who are aging, have become ill, or recovering from surgery. A tradition in the Latino culture is to care for family in their own homes and nursing homes or assisted living options are not typically pursued. We found that family members were having to take time off their regular job to care for their family, which in turn created challenges in their home life. As part of this program, HealthStar hires the family member and pays them to care for their loved ones.

Word of the program has been shared within the Latino community. HeathStar Home Health goes into community centers, attends local events, and visits churches to educate and spread the word about the program. If there is interest, HealthStar will work with the caregiver and their health care provider (if they already have one). There is a team of nurses who supports this program. Currently, there are only English-speaking nurses on the team, but Nilda goes with them to help translate. Nilda and the team of nurses will also do home visits, meet with caregivers, research insurance qualifications are available, background checks for caregiver, provide care training, attend to specific client needs and many other.

Insurance

Many in the Latino community do not have insurance coverage, Medicare or assistance. The professionals at HealthStar Home Health will walk the patient through the steps if there is insurance or help them understand if they can qualify.

Training

There is standard training for Minnesota state requirements. When conducting training, we begin with completing the state hiring forms. The caregiver will work with a nurse and go over topics such as:

  • HIPPA laws
  • Importance of hand washing and proper technique
  • Proper use of gloves
  • Transferring a patient
  • What to observe
  • What to report to nurses
  • Proper use of 9-1-1
  • Harassment

One important aspect of our training is our 24ECC program which is a formalized value-based cultural competence proprietary program: The 24 Expressions of Company Culture. These 24 expressions are aligned with HealthStar’s four chosen values of Servant Leadership, Empathy, Altruism, and Integrity. We review this culture and ensure the caregivers live it too. Learn more about our 24ECC employee program by watching this video:

Nilda has been with HealthStar Home Health for 10 years and has worked with some families just as long. She builds a close relationship with the families she works with, they even stop in the office to visit when they get lonely or want to chat. Nilda says “I see some patients starting with nothing. I am proud to know I am helping them get the services they need and assist with communication through translation. I love witnessing the roots of the family and their culture grow over the years I have known them.”

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and challenging it can be to care for a loved one at home and offer a variety of home health care services to help support your loved one to live a more independent and fulfilling life at home. To learn more about the various skilled nursing, skilled therapies, and mental health services available, as well as the cultural initiatives we offer, visit our website.

Choosing home healthcare services shouldn’t involve settling for care that doesn’t reflect the needs of the individual. With HealthStar Home Health you will always be in control of your care (or that of your loved one), and allow you to receive the services you need in conjunction with the attentiveness to cultural background that defines superior home health care. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation.

24ECC program: Building the HealthStar Family

HealthStar’s 24ECC program is different than other Corporate “touchy-feely” programs.

Many companies search for ways to increase cultural competency and employee engagement, but very few truly succeed. With the 24ECC program, HealthStar has nailed it.

Developing the 24ECC program

In 2009, HealthStar invited clients and community members to participate in focus groups tasked with identifying the qualities of good caregivers. These result: a long list of ideal characteristics for caregivers, providing great insight into HealthStar’s culturally diverse client base.

HealthStar then narrowed the focus group’s list to twenty-four crucial elements. The new 24 Expressions of Company Culture, or ECCs, fit nicely within the categories of HealthStar’s top four core values: Servant Leadership, Empathy, Altruism, and Integrity. Almost 10-years later, and the 24ECC program still lives on!

24ECCs in action

Each month, 24ECC trainers identify one of the 24ECC values to highlight. They design activities that help staff to discuss and dig deeper into the importance and impact of the chosen value. Through these activities and discussions, we gain a better understanding of the ideals that our Clients identified. We also examine the cultural differences in how values are expressed or perceived. The same values are often interpreted very differently depending on cultural background!

What the 24ECCs do for our team

One of the unexpected benefits of the 24ECCs is that they provide a tool to better understand and communicate with team members. The 24ECC program is a constant reminder that even though someone may do things differently, that doesn’t make it wrong! We learn balance – if you do too much of one value, you might end up not representing other values which are equally important. In conflict, the 24ECCs guide us to consider each other’s point of view without judging or jumping to conclusions. We use the 24ECCs as consistent language to express ourselves, and to discuss and work through concerns.

But for me, the best part is getting together once a month to get to know each other through a new 24ECC activity. I love the creative ideas that our 24ECC planners come up with! 24ECC Bingo, collage making, skits, and gift baskets – and sometimes a 24ECC snack. When we build a team that communicates and has fun together, we also develop something more than just a place where people go to complete tasks.

What 24ECC “Work Love” can do for you

HealthStar is more than a group of people who work together. We are a team that supports each other and truly cares about each other.  We are a work family, spread across three states. HealthStar people get excited to see each other at quarterly meetings – it’s like family coming to visit, including the cooking, the hugging, and the chatting.

Best of all, when HealthStar needs to get a project done, we all jump in and do what we can. We appreciate and capitalize on the things that make us different, because we know that’s part of building a great team! By fostering this Work Love relationship in our offices, we automatically extend the same level of care to our Clients. It’s not always easy, but with the 24ECCs, we have the foundation to build on. It is a great base to support great care!

Check out our website for more information about this program and how it helps us provide the best possible care!

 

Protecting Your Personal Information

I don’t have a lot of fears. I do have plenty of things that I worry about – will we ever get the kids to bed on time, what are we having for dinner, when can we take a real vacation that doesn’t involve visiting extended family… not that I don’t love my extended family, but it would be great to do something really special, just with my husband and kids, right? But none of this worry really gets me in a cold sweat. It’s more like a constant white noise going on in my mind. What does freak me out is the threat of cyber-crime. The thought that someone could get hold of my personal information and use it to impersonate me, or ransom it back to me for a price – now, that’s a scary one. Or worse, the thought that someone will trick one of my loved ones into giving them private information, and we won’t find out about it until it’s too late. I worry about that a lot, for my own family and for HealthStar’s Client base, too. So, what do I do to protect myself? Below are a few key steps that I have taken. You can do these things too, and please help any potentially vulnerable family members or community members if you have the opportunity. Sometimes, we need a little help to achieve safer and more secure private information.

 

  1. Use unique, strong passphrases for sites with sensitive information, and for your email account. Using the same password or passphrase across accounts makes it easier for bad guys to get access to multiple different sites. Most accounts use an email address as an option for a username. Once the bad guy has your email address and even one correct password, any accounts using that combination for access are at risk. Be especially careful with email account passwords, as unauthorized access to your email could add up to a big problem. For example, if I gain access to your email account, and I know you bank at Wells Fargo, I can use your email address to reset your bank password, check your email for the password reset, and then use the new password that I assigned to sign into your bank account. For information about password security, see the links at the end of this article – generally, you should choose a unique passphrase made up of several words or numbers, that isn’t easy to guess, and that isn’t in the top list of compromised passwords. For example, TrollRainbow1946Homerun. There isn’t enough word space here to get into the nitty gritty details of choosing a secure password, but choosing something along these lines will make it harder to guess, harder to hack, and might also help you choose something you can actually spell and remember. If a bad guy still gets your password, further issues can be prevented if you:
  2. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible, especially on sensitive accounts. Multi-factor authentication is just a fancy way of saying you’ll be required to use more than one method to show that you are the owner of the account you’re accessing. For example, with my email, I have the account set to always require a second access code. I’ll sign in with my usual email address and password, and then the system will send a numeric code to my cell phone. I’m required to enter that cell phone code to complete the login. This method proves that I have access to a specific physical device, as well as access to the account password. The second access code could be a security question, a phone call that speaks a code, or an email sent to a secondary account. Using the secondary access code requiring you to have a specific device, like your cell phone, is very secure, because it’s possible someone could have unauthorized access to a second email account or could guess a secret question’s answer.
  3. Don’t sign in to unsecured networks. Wait, am I telling you not to use the popular “free wi-fi” available at so many businesses? YES. If you’re doing something that you don’t want broadcast to the bad guys, like banking, paying with a credit card, or checking your email, then don’t do it on these networks. It is too easy for someone to set up a fake second network that looks like the name of the business, and then you unwittingly sign on to the fake network, where the fake broadcaster (aka bad guy) will grab whatever you’re doing. If you’re just browsing the internet, it’s probably fine, but any personal information could be potentially picked up, so be wary.
  4. Don’t open email you aren’t expecting. Examples shown in computer training are usually overstated and obvious, but email scams can be surprisingly hard to identify. Be cautious of any email that you weren’t expecting, and don’t click on links in email or provide any personal information through an email link. For example, some popular scams copy the look of communication from banks, telling you there is a problem with your account. Instead of clicking on the link in the email, or calling the number in the email, any issue can be verified by calling your bank at the number on your card or visiting the bank’s website through a web search, NOT through the link on the email. Links in scam emails can lead to fake sites, which will collect any information you enter, possibly leading to identity theft or unauthorized access to your bank accounts or other private accounts. Also, be suspicious of poorly written email, or anything that sounds too good to be true.
  5. Be cautious of posting personal information on social media. Personally, I don’t post on social media, but I know that puts me in the minority, and possibly makes me seem overly paranoid. Lots of people are accepting of the “big brother” type intrusions that come with social media, but may not be very informed about the far-reaching implications. Information that you post is being collected in huge quantities, and you don’t always know who is at the end of that collection, or what kind of security is being applied to your personal information. Posting private information on social media can also be an invitation to criminals. Posting about a vacation? Sounds like a good time to stop by and break into your house. Posting about a new job? Sounds like a good opportunity for a LinkedIn or job hunting scam. There are very savvy criminals out there, and the less information we make available to them, the safer we will be. I’m not saying don’t use social media at all, but I do think we should all be aware that anything we post is available to both good guys and not-so-good guys, so post accordingly.
  6. Watch out for fake IT support pop-ups or phone calls. There are lots of these – you’ll get a phone call from “Microsoft” saying they need to access your computer for service. Or you might see a pop-up that says something about your computer needing support/service, or “your computer has a virus!” with a phone number for support. Once you’re on the phone, the “tech” will ask you to allow remote access to your computer, and then he or she can (here’s the bad part) copy the computer’s entire contents, or can encrypt and hold the encryption password hostage for a price, locking you out of your own data. Once you’re in this situation, there is no fix, unless you:
  7. Keep a backup of your computer, or at least back up your critical files. If you have a good backup, then you can always take your computer off the network if you get into a situation like the one above. Then, you can restore from your backup file once you’re offline. This doesn’t help save you from identity theft if the person was able to copy your computer’s contents, but it will help if your computer contents are being encrypted. Backing up sounds intimidating, but many computers have an automatic backup that can be set up, or you can back up by simply copying files to an external hard drive. An external hard drive might cost in the ballpark of $50 to $150 depending on the size – a small investment for how much trouble it might save if you lose everything! You can also use an online backup service. There are many reputable computer techs who could help with this without taking much time, which leads me to my final tip:
  8. Find a local tech that you can trust, and get comfortable with him or her. We rely on our technology for almost everything, so down time will be painful and potentially costly. Like a financial advisor or trusted auto mechanic, it is great when you already know someone you can trust when an issue with your personal technology comes up! There are lots of computer techs available to help people who aren’t comfortable with in-depth computer setup or maintenance. If you can maintain a relationship with a tech you can trust, it will be that much easier to recover in the event of a catastrophe, and it’s always nice to get advice from an expert. I have lots of backup to help me do my job, and I know I wouldn’t get much sleep if I wasn’t able to ask an expert for help when I need it!

If this article helps even one person keep his or her information safe and private, I’ll be pleased. There are so many people just waiting for the opportunity to sneak, steal, and destroy just to get ahead. Let’s help our vulnerable population stay out of harm’s way – tell the ones you care about to keep their private information safe!

-Beth Taylor, IT Manager
HealthStar Home Health

 

 

Want to learn more? Check out the below articles!

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-you-really-need-to-stop-using-public-wi-fi

https://www.howtogeek.com/178696/why-using-a-public-wi-fi-network-can-be-dangerous-even-when-accessing-encrypted-websites/

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2018/03/27/Creating-and-Managing-Strong-Passwords

https://techspective.net/2018/05/23/10-best-practices-to-secure-and-protect-passwords/

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/24/cybercrime-2015-cybersecurity-ransomware-cyberwar

https://www.lifewire.com/i-just-fell-for-a-pc-support-scam-now-what-2487799

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams

https://www.howtogeek.com/242428/whats-the-best-way-to-back-up-my-computer/

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/easiest-ways-to-backup-your-files/

https://www.acronis.com/en-us/

https://www.sec.gov/reportspubs/investor-publications/investorpubsphishinghtm.html

https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-reasons-why-i-avoid-social-networking-services/

http://www.businessinsider.com/i-quit-social-media-for-one-month-it-changed-my-life-facebook-instagram-snapchat-twitter-millennial-2018-1

 

 

 

What It’s Like to Work in Home Care

I have been working at HealthStar for more than 9 years. I didn’t set out to work here that long, but I’m happy that it has turned out this way. I am part of a great team – we are so close it feels like a family. I enjoy working with some of the most caring and compassionate people around. We have a lot of fun in the office; we do all kinds of different activities from egg hunts to potlucks to office bingo. But best of all, I know that every day when I come to work, I can help someone who is in direct contact with our Clients. In my small way, through that connection, I’m helping someone remain in the community and receive quality care in the comfort of his or her own home.

On my most challenging and frustrating days, it is still fabulous to feel that all my hard work is helping someone who really needs and appreciates that help. Working here keeps my days in perspective – the challenges that I might face are trivial when compared to the challenges faced by someone who needs help just getting out of bed or making it to the store. I love to hear stories from our branch offices about the successes they experience with Clients and field staff; it is so touching to learn the different ways that we become like extended family, especially to long-term Clients. The knowledge that I can keep this all moving, and that I am a critical piece of the support team for these Clients, keeps me going through the toughest days! I never want to be the one who prevents someone from providing the best possible care to our Clients!

The best part about working at HealthStar is that I am surrounded by truly caring staff, who are motivated by Client successes, and who understand and appreciate what others around them are doing to accomplish the same goals. There is very little drama, which is extremely rare in an office environment! We are all focused on the task at hand, making sure that all the foundation work is in place so that our direct care staff can provide great care!

Our 24ECC program gives us all a common language when we feel we are not seeing eye to eye, or when days get hectic. We are good at supporting each other; we learn about each other and find ways to show our teammates that we care about them. It’s very common to hear people talking about their frustrations openly, both personal and work-related, or to hear teams discussing what could be done to improve processes and communication. We say a lot of Thank You’s, and we even try to sit together at lunch, so that we can take a few minutes together out of work mode, just to appreciate each other’s company.

I love it that when I walk in the door at work, I feel I’m in a safe place. I can rely on the support of others when I have a hard day, and I can lend my own strength and compassion when I see someone struggling. It is an awesome place to learn, grow, and even sometimes play, and I am pleased to say that I am still here, learning something new many times each day!

Want to join the HealthStar Home Health team? Check out our current job openings and apply today!

-Beth Taylor
It Manager, HealthStar Home Health

Working for HealthStar Home Health Could Be the Greatest Experience of Your Life!

Do you have a passion for health and wellness and have a loving personality with a caring touch? If your answer is yes, HealthStar Home Health wants you to be part of our team. The catch? It just might be the greatest experience of your life!

Hear what some of our employees have to say about working for HealthStar Home Health.

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and will add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024. HealthStar Home Health recognizes that as the senior population ages, more and more Minnesota families are tasked with caring for their aging parents as well as caring for their own family. This age group, commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation, is quickly becoming overwhelmed when their daily job, family commitments and additional duties when caring for their aging parents are all factored in. This type of situation is creating the fast-growing need for various healthcare jobs, including personal care assistants.

In 2015, HealthStar had the opportunity to work with PBS to identify a family who would be willing to be filmed for a documentary they were working on. The PBS documentary “Caring for Mom & Dad” explores the emotional, health and financial challenges that many family caregivers face each day. Take a moment to watch the PBS documentary to understand what our nation is facing with this crisis in caregiving that is upon us.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringformomanddad/watch/

Home health care encompasses a wide range of health care services that can be provided in the home for illness, injury, or daily care. Understanding how overwhelming and difficult it can be for care for an aging loved one and in an effort to help out the family caregiver, our home health professionals provide unparalleled public health care services ranging from Alzheimer’s and dementia care, behavioral nursing, and home health care nursing and our newest program Behavioral Health Home. One unique care program we offer, the Alzheimer’s Whisperer program, takes an effective approach to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their family. Our clients also benefit from respite care for daily needs such as bathing and dressing, chores around the home, transportation, and companionship.

HealthStar Home Health serves individuals and health care professionals in a number of cities throughout Minnesota, including the Duluth and Bemidji areas, as well as Arizona and New Mexico. We are a culturally sensitive home health care team that provides services to individuals who are traditionally underserved.

Experience something great – be a part of the HealthStar Home Health family! HealthStar Home Health is a mission-driven team of professionals deeply rooted in the personal and cultural values of the communities we serve. We provide unparalleled public health care services, while at the same time respecting the unique needs of our culturally diverse clientele through stewardship and a genuine desire to serve those in our community.

Interested in being part of the fastest employment growing industry? HealthStar Home Health offers employment opportunities in locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area, as well as northern Minnesota such as Duluth and Bemidji, Arizona and New Mexico. Our company is a group of professionals driven by our mission, and personal, community and cultural values. Visit the Contact Us page of our website to find current open positions as well as an application for employment to complete and submit online.

We Celebrate Our Nurses!

To celebrate and honor the HealthStar Home Health nurses and nurses’ week, we reached out to our wonderful staff working within the diverse communities in Minnesota and asked them some questions about their career choice, memorable experiences and advice they would give to someone thinking of entering the home health care nursing field. Here are some of the responses:

Amber, Minneapolis North Office
What made you decide to become a nurse?      

“I decided to become a nurse because it provided the opportunity to become a type of “missionary” to those who are at a place in life that they need a helping hand, someone to provide encouragement, support and show them love. Some missionaries travel the world, others of us work in our own backyards.”                                            

What is your most memorable experience/patient/moment working as a nurse?

“My favorite memory as a nurse with HealthStar Home Health was from years ago. I was up north visiting a client who lived near Cass Lake. She had a hobby of feeding hummingbirds. We sat out on her deck in the early morning summer sun and chatted over tea surrounded by nearly 300 beautiful hummingbirds.  It was amazing. There are so many fun, unique and lovely people out there!”

What made you want to work as a nurse at HealthStar Home Health? Why do you like working at HealthStar?

“I love working at HealthStar because I am able to build long lasting, close relationships with my clients. They become like family. I love visiting them and they love it when I stop by. To me, it is wonderful because I am given the freedom to go beyond simply providing medical care, but also providing the compassion, friendship, love and support so many clients need. It is very fulfilling work.”

If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“In the field of nursing you have the opportunity to touch peoples lives in so many ways. It is a beautiful field to work in. Find the area in nursing you love and then give it your all.”

 

Barb, Corporate Office
What made you decide to become a nurse?

“To teach and help people.”

What is your most memorable experience/patient/moment working as a nurse?

“Working in a memory care unit on and off for a year, I cared for a resident with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She needed total care and rarely remembered her family or recognized staff. Every time I worked, I would sit down next to her, and hold her hand. She would become very calm but otherwise did not  respond to me. Towards the end of my tenure at the facility, I walked into the memory care unit and this resident was agitated and being very loud. As I walked by her, she looked up and said “I like you, you are nice to me”. I walked up to her and gave her a hug. She honored me with the biggest smile I will never forget.”

What made you want to work as a nurse at HealthStar Home Health? Why do you like working at HealthStar?

“Working at HealthStar offers clinicians an opportunity to combine their skills and experience to serve clients who need our help the most. It is the most rewarding experience to make a difference in the lives of clients who have limited resources and support, and are able stay in their homes and communities.”

If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“No other profession gives someone the flexibility and wide variety of career paths that the profession of nursing offers. A person can work part time, full time or on a very casual basis depending on what “fits” their needs at different points in their life (ex:  single, married with children, empty-nester). The almost limitless different career paths that is open to a nurse is incredible. It runs the gamut from highly technical and hands on to administration and finally performing research at a top level university. A nurse can work in a hospital setting which offers a variety of specialties and skill level, ie:  ICU, maternal child, pediatrics, surgery). There is options in outpatient settings such as clinics and surgical centers. The post-acute setting, ie: skilled nursing home, home health and hospice is bursting with opportunities for a nurse to explore. Becoming a nurse means you have limitless options to explore and define “who” you want to be.”

 

Debra, Duluth Office
What made you decide to become a nurse?

“I wanted to be a nurse from a very young age but couldn’t stand the site of needles. Then my husband went through chemo and I decided I could do that, enrolled and completed my RN training and never looked back. I wouldn’t want to do anything else!”

What is your most memorable experience/patient/moment working as a nurse?

“My most memorable time as a nurse is when I worked in hospice care. There is no more rewarding experience then helping loved ones go home to complete their final journey. Keeping them and their family comfortable and helping through the most difficult time in their lives.”

What made you want to work as a nurse at HealthStar Home Health? Why do you like working at HealthStar?

“I love working for HealthStar Home Health because it is a wonderful, caring company that cares for clients, families and their staff. I had retired and my husband and I traveled in the winter. Unfortunately, he passed away last year and when this job came available to me it was the perfect fit.  I love working at HealthStar and all the staff here.”

If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“Nursing is a very rewarding job and career. You help people when they are at their sickest and bad time in their lives. Helping them to feel better is the best feeling in the world. The world will always need nurses. If you are in school, please finish and begin making your imprint on the world.”

 

Lisa, Minneapolis South Office
What made you decide to become a nurse?     

“I started out as a home health aide/certified nursing assistant and when I was in my early 20’s and it was the first job that I ever felt like I made a difference in someone’s life. It inspired me to go on and get my LPN and RN.” 

What is your most memorable experience/patient/moment working as a nurse?

“Any time we have a hand in healing a wound is my favorite part of this job!”

What made you want to work as a nurse at HealthStar Home Health? Why do you like working at HealthStar?

“I was looking to relocate back home to MN and after speaking with Shannon about the values and beliefs, I was sold on this company.”

If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“I would tell them I think they need to work for at least a year in a hospital setting either on Med-Surg or ER to gain knowledge and triage skills. It will help to give them an idea of where do they want to focus their career.”

 

Dana, Fairmont Office
If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“The advice I would give a newer nurse would be to remember how it felt when you were brand new to the profession or new to a job: remember what it felt like to be learning something new; then when your career is maturing and you are being asked to orient or mentor a new nurse, you can show empathy and will be better able to foster a spirit that will desire to be a life-long learner. Not all nurses are good teachers. There is a saying in nursing that the older nurses “eat their young.” I will start my 31st year as an RN this summer: I remember the nurses who helped me learn the best and the nurses who made me cry. The young nurses are the future of nursing: we should encourage them to be the BEST they can be: competent, compassionate, and curious. Nurses are called to be advocates for patients/clients/residents in a confusing and often stressful healthcare system.”

 

Sarah G, Bemidji Office
What made you decide to become a nurse?              

“I wanted to help people and make a difference in their quality of life.  I had been working as a direct care professional in a group home and knew that I wanted to be able to do more.  I went for my CNA certificate, on to my LPN and eventually got my RN which gave me perspective and respect for each of those positions and the challenges within them.”

What is your most memorable experience/patient/moment working as a nurse?

“Connecting with an individual who was a paranoid schizophrenic and being able to find alternative methods to help him cope with his illness and allowing him to eventually move out of the facility and into a step down facility. He had been institutionalized for several years prior to meeting me. I took the time to get to know him and his triggers and evaluate the interactions of those around him and offered education to the staff on how to de-escalate the situation and assist him to calm himself. He was so grateful when he moved out of the facility and it felt good to know that I helped him achieve that goal.”

What made you want to work as a nurse at HealthStar Home Health? Why do you like working at HealthStar?

Tim made me want to work at HealthStar, his passion and drive made an impact on me and knowing the community I live in, I saw the need to help serve the underserved. I like working at HealthStar Home Health because it allows me to do what I do best and challenges me to do more. I feel like I make a difference in our client’s lives, even if it is not directly, by ensuring we are staying compliant and providing the best care possible. I feel supported and valued and part of a team.”

If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse, or is currently in school, what would you say?

“Do it! It’s the best decision I ever made. It may be difficult, but the end result is worth it.”

 

Do you care for others, understand the unique needs of different cultures and have a passion for health and wellness? If so, we want you to be a part of the HealthStar Home Health team! HealthStar offers employment opportunities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area, as well as in northern Minnesota such as Duluth and Bemidji, Arizona and New Mexico. Our company is a group of professionals driven by our mission, and personal, community, and cultural values. Visit the Contact Us page of our website to find current open positions as well as an application for employment you can complete and submit online.

Keeping Traditions Alive and Celebrating Different Cultures Through the Holidays

The holidays are upon us and with this time of year comes opportunity to spend time with family and friends, giving to those in need, and traditions rich with fond memories and cultural celebrations.

Minnesota is home to a diverse cultural population and HealthStar Home Health is proud to serve families in many of these cultures. We often see families passing on holiday traditions to the next generation. Here are some of the cultures we work with and a little about their traditions.

The Hmong New Year is a huge celebration in the Hmong community with many family members traveling to be part of the extravagant festivities. St. Paul, Minnesota plays host to the New Year celebration which typically lasts up to 5 days and includes sports tournaments, pageants, and other contests or forms of entertainment, along with feasts of delicious traditional Hmong food. Historically, the Hmong New Year was celebrated to give thanks to ancestors and spirits as well as to welcome a new beginning. Although there are no dress code requirements, many Hmong Americans choose to wear traditional Hmong clothing during this time. The Hmong New Year celebration typically occurs late November to early December, which is the end of the rice harvesting season when all their work is done and serves as a Thanksgiving holiday for the Hmong people.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to thriving Latino communities. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Catholicism plays an important role in the daily lives of Latinos and many Latino homes include an altar for prayer with statues of saints. The parish church is the center of the Latino community. Some of Latin America’s most recognized traditions are associated with this time of year. Parents use this opportunity to develop their children’s cultural identity and spend time with family by sharing these holiday traditions. One important Mexican festival is the Las Posadas, which is a nine-day event commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus on Christmas day. Often, there are reenactments and processions at church or in their homes to celebrate this with their family and community.

The most popular Russian holiday is their New Year celebration, which leads into the Orthodox Christmas celebration. The Russian New Year holiday is traditionally a 5-day non-working holiday from January 1 through January 5. Traditionally there is a decorated New Year tree and the Russian children believe in the mythical Grandfather Frost. Much like Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost is a beloved character who wears a long blue or red coat with a matching hat, and carries gifts in a large sack on his back. Grandfather Frost also carries a magical staff that has the power to freeze everything around him. Many attend New Year’s parties where it is customary to dress up in costume and children memorize a poem or song to recite for Grandfather Frost in exchange for a small gift. There is plenty of traditional Russian food and drink to share with family and friends.

Pow Wows are a time to put aside differences and focus on celebrating life and traditions. The Ojibwe Native Americans celebrate many different traditions, but the most well-know may be the Pow Wow celebration. This is a time when they come together to celebrate their history and religion using various art forms, such as dance, music, and art. The drum is the main focus of the Pow Wow. Made of wood and hide, approximately three feet in diameter, its circular shape represents the circle of life. The drum is a very sacred object, made only for sacred use, and before the Pow Wow drum can be pounded or used in a ceremony it must be blessed by an elder. Thru the drum, the Ojibwe are reminded of their connection to Mother Earth. Selling or trading arts, feasting on traditional foods, song, and dance are all very important aspects of a Pow Wow.

HealthStar Home Health offers culturally-relevant services that address the unique needs of our Minnesota, Arizona and New Mexico populations. We promote independence and self-sufficiency by empowering patients and their families to be active participants in the provision of care. Using culturally-sensitive approaches, HealthStar Home Health offer our clients a wide variety of services in home health care, community based care, mental health, and personal care assistance with focused sensitivity to economic factors and health beliefs. Call HealthStar Home Health today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation to discuss the many services we can customize to your needs.

Caring for Mom & Dad

Americans are living longer than ever before, and soon older adults will outnumber the young. Who will care for them when they are no longer able to care for themselves? With this aging population how will we adapt as a nation?

Recently, HealthStar Home Health had the opportunity to work with PBS to identify a family who would be willing to be filmed for a documentary they were working on. The PBS documentary “Caring for Mom & Dad” explores the emotional, health and financial challenges that many family caregivers face each day. We chose a family who has been a part of the HealthStar family since 2010 and exemplifies integrity, servant leadership, empathy and altruism.

Alicia and her mother Estella are proud members of a St. Paul Latino community. When Estella suffered a massive stroke following heart surgery, Alicia was forced into the role of full-time caregiver for her mother, basically overnight. Although considered informal caregivers by the government, nearly 1/2 of family caregivers perform medical services traditionally reserved for a nurse. Insurance may cover some expenses, but not everything so families are left with the added expenses to care for their parents. Family caregivers spend an average of $5500 on out-of-pocket costs per month, leaving them to face heavy burdens financially and emotionally.

“The Latino community is very close knit and our family is our nucleus. It is considered an honor and a source of pride to be there for our families during good and challenging times. When a family member is in need, particularly the elderly, we take care of our own. La familia es primero.”, said Nilda Garcia with HealthStar Home Health. She goes on to say “as a Latina, I have worked for HealthStar for almost 7 years and I am so proud that we are able to provide healthcare services while respecting the unique needs of our culturally diverse clientele. Seeing them happy is our most precious reward.”

Ana Diaz is a medical advocate with Payne-Phalen Elders who visits Latino caregivers and their families in their homes, including Alicia and Estella. She is known as the eyes and ears of the aging St. Paul community she serves and is considered a ‘geriatric angel’ to many. Ana helps working caregivers by taking their family members to their doctor appointments, along with being an advocate for them with the county, HMO’s and the nursing homes. “No matter what the chronic disease is, Latino caregivers are facing several unique challenges. Latino caregivers are often less aware of the services that are available in the community, this sometimes is due to a language barrier and sometimes due to their lack of knowledge of the services. Another significant challenge is that the Latino community is less likely to look for nursing home placement for their loved ones. These factors together can add up to an overwhelming role for caregivers” said Ana. Ana strongly believes “faith also plays a very important role. They will pray and believe that everything is going to be ok. While faith sustains people, they often could still benefit from some respite from their caregiving role and benefit from community supports!”

Take some time to watch the PBS documentary and see what our nation is facing with this crisis in caregiving that is upon us.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringformomanddad/watch/

Today, family caregivers provide 90% of the assistance, even while they struggle to balance careers and their own family. Caregiving averages 4 years. For an Alzheimer’s patient caregiving is 4-8 years and can last as long as 20 years. The rate of Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by the year 2050. That is a heavy load to carry and many struggle financially.

Since 1950, we have added more than a decade to the lifespan of Americans. But as the golden years span out, seniors 65+ suffer from multiple illnesses. Data from the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau show there are 76.4 million baby boomers who are all going to get old at the same time. We are about to have the largest older population we’ve ever had in the history of this country and they are people who want to live at home or independently in their communities, but there is no support infrastructure in place. We are a society that hasn’t adequately accounted for family caregiving work and now we are at a point given all these changes where that is simply not sustainable.

A Candid Conversation with HR

As a job seeker, imagine you had an opportunity to get into the heads of Human Resources (HR) professionals to figure out some Do’s and Don’ts that can help set you apart from the competition. At the Easter Job Transition Group on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, the room was packed and the stage was set for a candid conversation between HR and job seekers.

The panel representing small, medium and large companies, with over seventy years of professional experience combined, consisted of:

• Donna Smith, HealthStar Home Health
• JeanAnn Nelson Trombley
• Maureen Wheaton, Cambria

These leading ladies had an engaging, interactive and at times, humorous conversation about their experiences in the recruiting and on boarding process. No topic was off limits as they addressed topics as ageism, what HR is really looking for in interviews and organizational culture fit.

Some of the top Do’s and Don’ts for Job Seekers that came out of the conversation are listed below:

“Having been in job search, I understand the journey that job seekers experience. At the same time, as a leader I also understand what is like to sit on the other side of the table. Bringing HR professionals and job seekers together was a way of sharing, understanding and appreciating the challenges & rewards on both sides. I hope the panelist and attendees took away words of wisdom or nuggets of valuable information that will make the job search process more successful for all involved, “stated Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, Volunteer Coordinator.

Interested in a career with HealthStar Home Health? Check out our current employment opportunities.

-Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel
HealthStar Home Health, Branch Manager