Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Client and Family Advocacy Manager Tara Montague, and Public Affairs Manager Alisa Borovik traveled to northern New Jersey to meet two BAYADA clients and their caregivers to learn more about how home care has impacted their lives. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) also brought along representatives from Regan Communications Group, a public affairs firm we’ve engaged to support the GAO initiative to increase public awareness of issues that our clients and staff regularly face, such as accessing home care and recruiting and retaining quality staff to meet the demand in our communities.
Meeting Addy and Gloria
First, the team stopped by the Dover, NJ (DOV) assistive care state programs office to meet with Client Services Manager Helena Anton, where we learned about the struggles the office regularly faces in recruiting and retaining home health aides. DOV client Addy R. and her CHHA Gloria came in to meet with GAO and Regan, who were nearly brought to tears by Addy’s story regarding the challenges she has been able to overcome with her “teammate,” which is what she calls Gloria.
“I was extremely touched by Addy’s and Gloria’s relationship. Not only is it clear how much Gloria has impacted Addy’s daily life and her sense of self-worth, but the way Gloria talks about Addy’s influence on her own life is incredible. You can tell that Gloria was truly put on this earth to be the nurturing, compassionate caregiver that she is,” said Tara Montague.
Recently, Addy and Gloria visited Senator Steve Oroho to share their story and to advocate for better state home care policies. “Helping people is important. And it’s important that those who help others get the help that they need too,” Addy told the group.
Photo: DOV client Addy R. and her HHA Gloria have an unbreakable bond
Lili and Emma Welcome Advocacy into Their Home
Next, GAO and Regan traveled to Morristown to visit Morris Plains, NJ Pediatrics (PED) client Liliana “Lili” K. and her mother Emma in their home. As a single mom, Emma relies on home nursing so that she can keep her full-time job and keep Lili at home. She told us that her PED team works hard to ensure every one of Lili’s shifts are covered and that her BAYADA nurses all deliver top-notch quality care to her daughter.
She also shared sentiments about times when coverage wasn’t so steady, “Our routine and our comfort level is only as good as today. When Lili’s main nurse, Liz, retired, we had a few months where we didn’t know what tomorrow would bring.”
Like Addy, Emma is committed to ongoing advocacy to ensure that nurses see home care as an attractive employment option, so that families like hers can also receive the home care they need.
BAYADA continues to fight for higher reimbursement rates under the state’s private duty nursing (PDN) program, one of our major goals in New Jersey in 2019.
“It’s our clients’ and families’ voices that make the biggest impact on our state and federal elected officials’ decisions about home care. Because of advocates like Addy and Emma, legislators better understand the impact home care has on their communities,” said Dave Totaro. “In 2019, we’re expanding our toolbox. We are growing BAYADA’s public affairs program so that our message is more global. Our staff and clients deserve better, and their voices will be heard!”
A special thanks to Gloriosa Division Director Fredy Villareal, PED Director Christine Rios, and the many employees that made these visits happen! Seeing our clients firsthand is always so impactful and inspiring—GAO is excited to move forward with our 2019 goals on behalf of all staff and clients. To learn about ways you can engage in advocacy, email firstname.lastname@example.org today!