A nine-year veteran at UMRC, Nicole Adams started as a resident care assistant in Glazier Commons Assisted Living before moving to scheduling and, currently, the marketing and sales team. “I began my career in 2011 as a CNA (certified nurse aide) working in a brain injury rehabilitation setting prior to coming to UMRC,” says Nicole.
When the call went out to recruit other team members to assist as caregivers at UMRC’s Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (Kresge Center), Nicole’s name was suggested.
“I had kept my CNA certification until just a few months ago,” says Nicole. “It made sense for me to help.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact not only on older adults, but on our care team members as well who have needed to be off work due to their own illness or that of a family member.
On March 31, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a temporary waiver of current CNA training requirements to fill gaps in direct-care staffing during this crisis, explains Missi Latter, Vice President of Quality and Compliance for UMRC & Porter Hills. “We were able to utilize both online and on-site skills training, pairing them with experienced care team members at Kresge Center, to bring our new recruits up-to-speed to assist with providing support to our skilled nursing residents.”
Nicole has worked in assisted living and independent living within UMRC’s continuum of care, but never in skilled nursing until now. She says she has learned a lot about the advanced care provided in a skilled nursing setting in this new role. “It’s really opened my eyes,” says Nicole. “I see the difference of care a skilled facility really provides.”
During this time of quarantine, Nicole wants families to know their loved ones are being very well taken care of, but they do miss them. “Our residents are dealing with the virus more than I am. I get to go home, but this IS their home. The care teams become like family for our residents. We are doing all we can to help keep their spirits up, doing their nails, sitting down with them, and being a friendly face.”
Nicole adds, “It brightens their day so much to get that phone call from a loved one, or a family member waving through their window. That makes a huge difference. The card or picture in the mail brings them such joy that someone is thinking of them.”
“It has been very rewarding for me,” says Nicole who is continuing to serve as a CNA at Kresge Center for the time being. “This has taken me back and given me an appreciation of what I initially fell in love doing – caregiving.”