Meet David Henkel,Caregiver of the Year and Regional Finalist
Where were you born?
I was born in Minneapolis, MN. I've been a resident of Upland, CA since 2004.
What was your first job?
Working in a bakery in high school.
Do you have any cultural backgrounds that are important to you?
Yes. I'm from Minnesota, UF DA!, grew up in North and South Dakota. I have a Scandinavian / German background. I'm from a rural farming community in SE North Dakota.
How long have you been working for Right at Home?
August 19, 2014.
Are you a Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) / Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) / Patient Care Assistant (PCA)? When and where did you acquire the qualification?
Yes. August of 2014 at my technical training school, Reach Centers in Rancho Cucamonga.
How long have you been working as a caregiver?
One Year, Seven Months.
How did you get into senior care?
My sister-in-law passed of stomach cancer in 2004, age 44, divorced with 2 young daughters. I went to stay with her in her final week. I spent a lot of time with hospice nurses and caregivers, sometimes around the clock and learned a lot and felt a level of compassion and service that I might be able to impart to anyone similar needing care.
What kind of care services do you provide?
I perform ADL care, dependent on gender and need. It includes:
- assistance with sitting up and getting out of bed
- changing adult pads and administering skin care
- dental and skin care, including brushing teeth, lotion, and any other RX pre-scripted topical medications, notifying family & staff of any changes in condition or abnormalities, bruises, skin tears, etc.
- hair care - combing/styling, notifying family/staff of any changes in condition
- transfer to walker or wheelchair
- assistance with RR, bedside commode, or incontinence care
- assistance with shower, shaving, grooming, and skin care
- assistance with clothing selection and dressing
- I prepare daily meals and snacks, and ensure water glasses are filled
- I assist with ambulation, monitoring traffic and assisting as necessary
- I prepare basic meals and drinks and ensure they are consumed, and chart accordingly
- I monitor med administration as allowed and instructed
- Assistance with ambulation to go outdoors, either facility or in-home care
- I DO love dogs! All friendly critters.
"I have had some patients pass from complications due to Alzheimer's and/or Parkinson 's. I was on-scene for finality of one patient. I think my background, etc. has helped me process through those most difficult times."
What is the most memorable/rewarding experience in your caregiving career?
Assistance with a woman with Alzheimer's who was at end of life. She had so much trouble and misery, she'd been sequestered at the hospital. Family told me she would calm down with me, and she did. Client and I just had a kindred Minnesota spirit. Her daughter later told me, a best memory, about I'd - say lay off those Lorna Doones (cookies) - or else you'll lose your girlish figure!
How do you handle caregiver stress?
I'm happy to go home and focus on what I need to take care of for myself without feeling selfish. I like gardening and seeing flowers bloom. I like to see, as I drive to and from work, what people do with their yard. I dig in the dirt when I can. I'm a Garden Guy.
I also talk to friends, but I never share specifics about clients or work with them. I'm aware of, and comply with, all rules about confidentiality. I've had extensive training about healthcare and confidentiality matters pertaining.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction at work?
When I see someone smile, and know they have relief, and they're, at least at that moment - HAPPY.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Relax! A nice spot on the sofa listening to music I like. And catch up with family and friends - on the phone! I supplement with phone calls and online. I like to get out and see / travel. I go to Palm Springs frequently to see friends. I've got a good sense of humor. I truly do care about others. I like what I do.