Joanne Dykeman, Executive Vice President, Operations, Sienna Senior Living

Not often am I so awestruck and inspired that I struggle to find words. However, after following in the footsteps of Personal Support Worker Angela Miller at Villa Leonardo Gambin on October 25, that was exactly how I felt.

My intention was to deepen my understanding of the work a PSW does daily, and also to express my deep appreciation and respect for them. While I have always admired the contributions of all leaders who work compassionately every day care for the needs of others, I underestimated the skill and grace required to do this job. Despite the extra helping hands I was providing to Angela, I can honestly say the pace was non-stop. We need to continue to advocate for staffing levels in long-term care so PSWs like Angela can not only do what they do, but also sustain themselves as care providers and provide that extra attention to detail that enhances quality of life for residents.

Angela taught me so much that day. My belief that we need to always engage those who work directly with the residents in policy development is reaffirmed. Decisions about care equipment, processes and policies can only be developed in consultation with those who are doing the work. I look forward to creating improved ways for their active contributions at policy, procedures and process development.

Spending a day in the life of a PSW does not make me an expert, but rather provides me with the commitment to continue to seek to understand their role and contribution to the entire team that makes the magic happen in LTC. When my four-hour shift was complete, I struggled to find words to express myself and the experience that I had. Today, after much reflection about my experience, I can say “the warmth of human connection” is alive and well at Villa Leonardo Gambin. The incredible collaborative team, where each role and individual is equally valued and the resident experience is paramount, was beyond every expectation. I’ll continue to work to support our team members who show up every day with passion and a great sense of responsibility toward the care they provide.