I am a CNA at Eureka Healthcare and Rehabilitation. This has been my second home for five years now.

Having read that slanted article in the North Coast Journal entitled “Immediate Jeopardy” (June 4), I personally feel a pressing need to present some realities for balance. As a court-mandated reporter as well as a person who does not want to see someone I care for neglected or abused, I would be the first one to call the state if I suspected abuse. And I am not alone. There is a core group of long-term employees who are dedicated to those entrusted to our care. When a resident goes into an emergency situation, we work as a team to ensure their survival. When a resident shows a change in condition, we all become aware of it and adjust patient care accordingly. We turn out at every memorial service, both to mourn and to join in celebrating each and every life. In short, for every negative issue mentioned in the article, I can offer you hundreds of positive ones.

Having worked in a variety of jobs throughout my life — banking, auditing, marketing, trust administration, data processing, patient assistance for drugs — I have been exposed to all sorts of employee shortages, always leading to chaos and rearrangement of personnel. It is never an easy situation. Staff challenges are not unique to the health care industry, and I have found that normally adjustments are made to ensure the safety of residents and minimal burnout of personnel. We are committed to making sure our residents are bathed, clean, shaved, fed and provided with whatever stimulation will keep them active. That additionally means that we work on a one-to-one basis. Each resident is so unique that we try our hardest to understand what their specific needs are. We are continually aware that this is their home, not an institution. That level of commitment is what makes the majority of the residents and their families very satisfied with their care.

There are so many images of positive memories that it is hard to pick just one, but in closing I will share one. I had a relatively young woman pass away on my shift. Before she died, she had just one wish — she wanted her hair to look really good when her family came to see her. I promised her. When her family came a few hours later, her hair was washed, dried, curled and looked exactly like she liked to wear it.

That is the Eureka Healthcare that I know, and love.

Barbara Rieman, Eureka

+ 10 other nurses and CNAs

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