Care Dimensions: Hospice Aide’s Role Has Come Full Circle

Voices of Care

Hospice Aide’s Role Has Come Full Circle

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Care Dimensions

Care Dimensions Senior Hospice Aide Billie Jean Newhall

Talk to Billie Jean Newhall about what it means to be promoted to senior hospice aide at Care Dimensions, and she’ll tell you how her role in the company has come full circle.

While Billie Jean is now among Care Dimensions’ certified nursing assistants who train new hospice aides, she learned from aide Cindy Berry when she joined the company 10 years ago.

“There’s a correct way to do things, and Cindy was the best at making sure I knew the right way,” said Billie Jean. “And now I can offer than same type of support for new aides.”

Cindy still works at Care Dimensions’ Kaplan Family Hospice House, where the two first met. But Billie Jean now sees six or more patients in their homes each day.

Keeping hospice patients comfortable

Hospice aides provide personal care services with the goal of keeping the patient comfortable. But dancing around a patient’s room while a classic Frank Sinatra tune plays near the bedside? No, that’s something that only comes after years in the role and understanding the nuances of what an aide’s job is all about.

“Some days, it’s just about making them smile,” said Billie Jean. “You walk in and they’re happy to see you. So I try to be as entertaining as possible. If that means some music and dancing while I’m caring for them, then that’s what I’m there to do.”

Moving up the hospice aide career ladder

Billie Jean recently was promoted to the senior aide position through a new Career Ladder program that gives hospice aides the opportunity to advance their careers. And as soon as Billie Jean heard about the program, she submitted her application. The idea of giving the same level of training that she got from Cindy really appealed to her. And, she noted, it’s a two-way street.

“When you’re the one giving the training, you can learn things too,” she said. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds and different places. The new aides can teach you things that you didn’t know. And that’s just another reason why I enjoy this new role.”

While being a hospice aide isn’t for everyone, Billie Jean says it’s rewarding work, especially knowing that you’re part of a team that’s there to ease the pain of a patient and their family. She hopes colleagues will use the Career Ladder program to find even more purpose in their work.

“I thought the idea of the Career Ladder was pretty important. This gives hospice aides something to work towards and provides a path to expand their skills, grow professionally, and be compensated for their additional expertise.”

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.