Sheri Millington, a Continuing Care referral assistant with the Intake/Nursing Only Assessment Team (NOAT) in Central Zone, recently volunteered for deployment to a nursing home dealing with COVID-19.
By Jaimee Dobson
Sheri Millington, a Continuing Care referral assistant with the Intake/Nursing Only Assessment Team (NOAT) in Central Zone, recently volunteered for deployment to a nursing home dealing with COVID-19. She offered to share her experience.
When Sheri Millington, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) of 21 years, received an email seeking volunteers for redeployment, it took her a few days to decide if she was comfortable returning to the frontlines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I talked to my family first then I wrote down the pros and cons and made a list of reasons why I wanted to do it and reasons why I was fearful,” said Millington.
She looked at her fears written on the paper and began considering ways to alleviate those fears. She worked closely with her manager who helped address her concerns before assigning her a role. She was able to choose whether she wanted to work nights or overtime.
“Everyone has to make the choice that’s good for them. I understand how difficult it must be for those who have to decline,” said Millington. “I felt it was the right decision for me, my husband expected it and my family supported my decision.”
Millington shared her experience in the moments following her shift at a nursing home dealing with COVID-19:
I am doing well and am feeling very blessed to provide care, comfort and love to the residents.
This is hard on them…with new staff learning their routines and schedules. It is scary for some of them to see us all in masks and taking temperatures every day. It can be hard for some of them to understand.
I am praying every day that the skills and the compassion I have been blessed with can be used to provide them with a little peace in all of this.
I have been overwhelmed by the patience and understanding of the residents that do understand what is happening.
They are all doing everything they can to help staff and each other, despite their own struggles of being displaced to different rooms, with different roommates and on different floors.
The staff are doing what they can to help, and everyone really is doing their best, despite being overworked, tired, and scared. This has probably been the most uplifting experience of my career.
We had a resident passing yesterday and her family was not able to stay longer than a few minutes.
After my shift, I sat with her until she died. It was in that moment, that I realized they are not lucky to have my extra hands here to help…it’s me that is lucky. What an honor for God to place in my life, the ability to pray and sing with a woman who would have been alone.
I was so humbled yesterday. I left with a new understanding of my role and purpose.
“You forget this feeling, where people depend on you for care and comfort. It’s a gift,” shared Millington about the feeling that drew her to long-term care. “You make the residents’ day-to-day more peaceful and provide comfort to families knowing you are taking good care of their loved ones.”
The support provided by the NOAT Team throughout Millington’s experience should not go unmentioned.
“They all supported me in this decision, they always checked in with me, one dropped off Easter dinner for me on the doorstep and another dropped off bubble bath. It is now my turn to support my colleague at NOAT who volunteered to be deployed to a different nursing home,” said Millington.
“I want to say thank-you to everyone working on the redeployment program as they are providing much more than physical help, you may be giving health care staff the chance to remember our why.”