Finding Your Home in Home Health Care

September 30, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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From the time she was in high school, Licenced Practical Nurse April Dunbar always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After graduation, she started her career at a nursing college, but the path to her future took a few bumps and turns. Thanks to a nursing lotto, April was able to get into school, graduate with her degree, and receive her LPN certification. Now, she’s following her passion with a career at Care Options for Kids.

April explains how she got into home health care, “I did try healthcare in a hospital setting, but it wasn’t good care — as far as I was concerned. So, I looked into home health care, and that was taking care of clients one-on-one. I like taking care of geriatric and pediatric clients.”

As is the case with many home health care nurses, April first needed to meet and find a family that she felt comfortable with. Care Options for Kids helped make that introduction. When looking for a good fit, April describes the signs she looks for, “You know when it’s a good fit when the child will respond with you, you can interact with them, and you can have a smooth conversation with the parents.”

Those are the signs she looked for when she met her then four-year-old client with cerebral palsy. April describes those early years, “My client is nonverbal. When I was first introduced, she was four years old — wearing 18-month-old clothes. I came into their lives when their mother was really struggling. I think with me being there, I helped to make the whole family stronger.”

Today, April’s client is healthier, stronger, and putting on weight. April was able to support the goals set by her client’s physicians and help her client thrive.

“I’ve been really lucky as far as clients go,” April recalls. “I’ve been able to help a lot of children that have been in a very bad state to where they become extremely healthy — like my client right now. Today, she is very healthy and putting on so much weight that they can’t believe it.”

Now, April has become an integral part of the family. Her client has become like her grandchild, and the client’s mother, like her daughter. “All the appointments that we go to, they say that I’m the grandmother. So, we are a very close-knit family. That’s the good thing about doing home health care. You can get with the family, they get used to you, you get a routine, and everyone is much more comfortable.”

April thanks Care Options for Kids for her new family. They’ve provided everything she needs to do her job — from supporting April and her client to providing resources like masks and hand sanitizer during the COVID pandemic. “We can talk to the manager, DONs, office staff, any problems that we have as far as doctors go or therapies. We can count on them to back us up if we’re having a problem. They’re a good resource in that area. They’re very supportive.”

April not only gained a family when she joined Care Options for Kids. She found a home in home health care. And, she couldn’t be happier with where her career has ended up.