Left, Jeff, Aspen, and Louise smile on the beach, Center: "They do it because they're compassionate because they can." Right GSIL CEO Deb

Home health workers are rock stars

Here is an excerpt from one of the Union Leader’s latest articles that GSIL was involved with:

“GSIL’s CEO, Deborah Ritcey, said she hopes the current crisis will get state leaders to recognize the work that home health aides provide is as important as that of doctors, nurses, police and paramedics. “Our staff are first responders because they are going into the homes of people that are at risk,” she said.

The system is working, she said. GSIL has not had one case of a client infected with COVID-19, she said, even as outbreaks have been reported in six long-term care facilities.

Jeff Dickinson, GSIL’s advocacy director, is also a client.

Dickinson, who has muscular dystrophy, relies on two personal care attendants and an overnight nurse for his care.

Louise Boucher, a licensed nursing assistant, works for him every weekday. “She’s the one that gets me up out of bed in the morning, helps me wash up, shave and get ready for the day,” he said. “She prepares meals if I need them and feeds them to me.”

She takes care of his service dog, Aspen, too. If Dickinson needs to travel for work, Boucher drives him. “Louise really is sort of my right-hand person,” he said. “I’m really fortunate to have her because she’s extremely reliable and very caring.”

Boucher said she “fell in love” with this career after her daughter went to nursery school. She trained as an LNA and has worked for GSIL for 15 years. “It’s the mom in me, I guess,” she said. “I just like helping people out, and people with disabilities a lot of times need help.”

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Boucher said, she only goes between Dickinson’s home and her own. “I don’t want to get Jeff sick,” she said.”

Click here to view the full article by the Union Leader.

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