A balancing act

You’d better drink your super energy smoothie if you plan to follow Healthcare Aide Kaori Jishage around for a day at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital

One moment, Kaori might be leading a baking activity, playing cards or dancing a jig with participants in the hospital's popular day support program. The next, she could be headed to a continuing care unit—helping residents get dressed, eat their lunch, have a bath or use the toilet. 

Though her days are busy and full, that’s just the way she likes it. “Every day is very rewarding,” she explains. “Maybe it is in my nature. I enjoy helping people … and I enjoy senior people, the elderly. This job is a good fit for me.”

“We can’t teach someone how to be nice. So if you are not compassionate, this is not the place for you. Kaori is an example of someone who fits right in our tight-knit St. Joseph’s community. She is a lovely woman. Soft-spoken and kind.”

Susan Nicoll, Program Manager, St. Joseph's Auxiliary Hospital

She does find the limited time she can spend one on one with each resident a challenge, though. “We are pressured with the time,” she explains. “We have certain tasks that we have to do for each resident. You can be the most caring person in the world, but we can still only spend so much time with each resident. That is challenging. Sometimes it is heartbreaking.”

Kaori enjoys times outdoors with Jack, who attends the day program at St. Joseph's Auxiliary Hospital.

Kaori wants every resident to have the social interaction and support they need, so she educates family members on how they can participate. 

“I try to get family involved in the small things that can make a big difference in quality of life,” she says. “They can sit together with the resident at meal times—that helps the residents to eat more. Or they can give the residents an extra long teeth-brushing or comb their family member’s hair, for example.”

“Each small thing counts,” she notes. “It benefits the residents a great deal—emotionally, physically and psychologically.” 

Read more about Kaori in the 2017 Annual Report to the Community

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