What I Wish You Knew: Rebecca Heob
Office manager for a home health and hospice facility
Written by Rebecca Heob, edited by Laura Schaefer
I run the entire office: I schedule nurses, bath aides, physical therapists and therapy aides to go into a patient's home to care for them per doctor's orders. I answer a multiple phone system, order all medical and office supplies, try to help all the staff with their computer work and answer questions.
I think the job choose me. I was a secretary at the hospital 73 miles away and this opening came up only 35 miles away. I feel very useful, appreciated and needed, which does make me happy. When a patient is well and/or is able to be independent again, it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.
What I wish you knew
The biggest challenge is to get all the patients seen as ordered, when they want to be seen. Everyone wants to be seen first thing in the morning, which is not possible with only a staff of 13 to work with. These problems are always anticipated, but solving them is the biggest challenge. I wish more people would understand that they can't always be first – we always try to work around the patient's schedule, but it’s not always possible.
I have no regrets for my choice of work. The pay and benefits are very good for this depressed area.
As time goes by, I hope more people get to be home to recuperate than in hospitals or nursing homes. Getting well, or – in the case of hospice – dying at home is very important. I think with healthcare cuts more will have to recuperate on their own or in nursing homes. The baby boomers are most affected by this.
Hospice, the word, scares the hell out of most people…it means someone is dying. Hospice cares for the patient with nurses, aides, a social worker for any financial or legal concerns, and a chaplain. The whole team cares for the patient and family. Volunteers come in for respite for the caregivers too.
The focus is on a good death. All pain concerns are addressed as an emergent problem; no one should suffer as they pass. Patients can also go to a hospital or nursing home to give the caregiver five days respite every month. We always encourage patients to get out as much as possible for as long as possible.
You have a choice
My advice for those who need home healthcare or hospice care? Call around to different home health and/or hospice companies. Ask what they offer. You have a choice. People think they have to use the hospice the doctor orders, but it is all about choice; most people don't know that. The company I worked for encouraged asking questions any and all the time.
The younger the work force is becoming, the greater the need to remember patience and compassion. The hardest part can be watching someone die and taking care of patients or family as you would want to be treated.