There is no halfway in CAREGiver of the Month Susan Goody's commitment to her job with Home Instead Senior Care® of Winchester, an award-winning franchise that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley and is guided by President and CEO Anthony Crosen. One client said: "Susan takes on a challenge and makes it good, and I love her smile while she's doing it.'
Susan said: "This is my calling, the reason why I was placed on Earth. Being a CAREGiver is my passion. I enjoy being able to make a difference in clients' lives. Sometimes it's just caring about how their day is going."
Susan's compassion extends to her clients' families, and she looks for opportunities to brighten their day. Susan recently provided an understanding shoulder for a hospice client's spouse, who experienced her husband's decline and passing. Susan recalled: "I said to her, 'Of course, I am here to care for your husband, but is there anything I can do for you?' "
The client's wife responded: "What if I just need you for my sanity and moral support?" Susan hugged her and replied, "Come and sit with me. Let's talk. I will do my very best to do just that."
The client's wife said, "You are so great. I never have to worry when you are here. I know that, from A-Z, everything is done right. You made it easy for my husband. It is refreshing when you come. I can breathe and relax. You even change the light bulbs."
Susan was speechless. She's been caring for people for years and had just received quite a compliment. Susan said, "That filled my heart with joy because I always try to think of what I would want or need if I were in the position of the clients and family members. It means a lot that the clients love me."
"During my six years with Home Instead," Susan said, "I have cared for many clients, so it is hard to have to pick just one favorite memory. As always, it is a pleasure to work with this company, and it is personal so much more than anyone knows. I try to make things as easy as possible for the clients and their families. I clean the whole house and prepare meals. They know I'll do anything that needs to be done."
Susan, who has a degree in healthcare administration as well as medical billing and coding certification, first joined Home Instead Senior Care in May 2013 following an online job search. But she needed an immediate four-month leave of absence to take care of her mother in Kansas. That wasn't her only family caregiving experience.
"Before that, I took care of my dad, an Air Force veteran who had lung disease. Dad got to remain at home until he died in 2004, instead of being placed in a facility, which was wonderful," Susan recalled. "In his last days and hours, he thanked me for caring for him. He said, 'This is what you should be doing.' I promised him I would. After I grieved his passing, I thought, 'This really is what I need to be doing.' "
Susan worked in a doctor's office in 2004 while also providing private-duty caregiving. In 2005, she worked in a wound-care clinic while continuing as a private-duty caregiver. She was a CNA, but her certification expired because her family had been moving around with military transfers. She recently completed a CNA class and passed the written part of the state examination with flying colors, but she still has to take her skill exam to complete the certification.
In addition to all of her experience, Susan also worked in a nursing home but concluded it wasn't for her. "While facilities are focused on tasks, we CAREGivers are focused on people," she said. "One day, a co-worker at the facility went on break and never came back. At that moment, 45 residents became my responsibility. I eventually resigned. I am glad to be with Home Instead. I love the one-on-one care and the strenuous screenings of potential employees."
In terms of wisdom and know-how, Susan takes and uses something from each experience. After she has been with clients for a little while, they don't want to let Susan go. She quickly builds a rapport in these ways: Susan gives clients their dignity, especially in the midst of personal care and she makes sure they are clean and well-dressed, providing care of which they can feel good.
While clients and their families praise Susan's skill and character, she remains humble. She does not work for honors and awards, such as the Heart and Hands Awards and CAREGiver of the Month honor. She just wants to make life better for her clients.
"I love what I do – I don't know many people who can say that about their jobs. How would my regular clients react if I left? I put myself in their shoes. The clients are so used to the routine we've developed," Susan said. "I'll be doing this kind of work for the rest of my life. I'll do it until I can't do it anymore."
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home support services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries in Winchester, Virginia, apply here or call (540) 904-1190. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Winchester. For employment inquiries in Martinsburg, West Virginia, apply here or call (304) 301-3896. Or, for more information, go to Home Instead Senior Care Martinsburg.