Michelle Gareau: Home Care is My Calling – It’s Where I’m Meant to Be
November is National Home Care Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated, nurses, therapists and social workers who provide skilled, compassionate care to patients in their homes.
At South Shore Health, our VNA team works collaboratively to care for patients with chronic illnesses, following surgery, or recovering from acute illness or injury.
From wound care and medication management, to physical and occupational therapy, home care workers are committed to providing patients personalized comprehensive care in the comfort of home.
Caring for patients in their homes has been a calling for Michelle Gareau, who has worked as a visiting nurse for 25 years – 22 of them with South Shore VNA.
Gareau began her nursing career at South Shore Hospital, where she worked on the busy medical/surgical floor and said she learned a great deal “being pulled in this direction and that direction.”
After making the switch to the VNA, Gareau said she embraced the one-on-one time with patients she has in home care.
“When I’m in someone’s home, I’m focused on them,” she said. “I get to spend uninterrupted time with them and find out what their needs are and how their health affects their life.”
Gareau said she likes the autonomy of the job and being “on the road” visiting patients. To work in home care you have to be strong with your clinical skills, because you’re on your own providing patient care, she said.
Each day, Gareau said she goes home feeling rewarded…and tired.
“It’s very rewarding being able to help and care for people,” she said. “I truly feel I make a difference in patients’ lives.”
And Gareau said she feels that gratitude in return.
“As much as I’m giving, I’m getting back from patients and their families,” she said.
Her colleagues also make the work rewarding, Gareau said.
“We have a great collaborative, interdisciplinary team here,” she said. It’s a dedicated group of nurses, occupational, physical and speech therapists and home health aides all working together to make a difference for our patients every day.”