Caregivers serve people who are temporarily or permanently ill or disabled, providing them with companionship and assistance with activities of daily living. Volunteer caregivers tend to be more companions and errand-runners, while professional caregivers may also provide skilled care such as transfers and bed baths. The chief attributes of every caregiver are kindness and patience.
Coming Home Connection’s professional caregivers range in age and background. They include registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and people who acquired their caregiving experience at home. All receive our in-house training in home health aide skills, including:
We take care to match the skill set of a caregiver to the needs of a client. We are conscientious about considering the personality of the person giving and receiving care, and make placements accordingly.
Coming Home Connection caregivers provide any or all of the full range of home care services listed in the “Services” page of this website, depending on the needs of the client.
Coming Home Connection professional caregivers are independent contractors, paid directly by the client on a sliding scale. Aside from a one-time administrative fee of $30, the organization makes no charge to the client for our services. By way of contributing to our mission to provide care wherever it is needed, caregivers who are fully employed through Coming Home Connection are asked to volunteer on the order of one to two hours per week for clients who cannot afford to pay.
Coming Home Connection volunteer caregivers serve in three programs:
Kindness Crew volunteers go to the heart of Coming Home Connection’s history and mission: they help out in homes that can’t afford to pay for professional care, where family members may be approaching burnout under the relentless pressure of caring for a sick or elderly person, or where the sick person may have no help at all. Their assistance may involve companionship, help around the house, transportation, socialization, and building a relationship including staying abreast of a client’s changing needs.
Casa Companions serve at Casa Cielo, our hospice residence at The Montecito Senior Living Center [link]. They create a peaceful and supportive atmosphere, staying sensitive to both mundane and spiritual needs of Casa Cielo residents and their family and friends. Casa Companions help to keep the house tidy, welcoming and warm. They may run errands, cook, and help keep the client’s logbook, as well as assist the professional caregivers who staff Casa Cielo day and night. They are assigned for three-hour shifts on an as-needed basis, as our Casa Cielo residents leave life on their own schedule and are replaced as cases are referred to us. The nature of the work demands flexibility.
COMING HOME KIDS
Volunteers with Coming Home Kids provide non-medical in-home care for acutely and chronically ill children, providing respite for the main caregivers in their families. Kid-Carers keep their client company; prepare meals; provide personal and bed care as needed; oversee medications; and generally act as a safe and supportive presence in the home.
“The value of working with Coming Home Connection is that the staff coordinates the assessment with the client and family. I know that they’ll put a great team together and that’s a big relief for me.”
As with many other caregivers, Alison values her autonomy, not having to clock into a cubicle for a 9:00 am to 5:00 pm job with a lunch break. “It’s very intimate work, and that’s important to me. My job is to help people who are not in a good time and place in their lives — I don’t always get to see the lovely people they used to be — and that can be quite challenging. I feel totally emotionally bound to the family as I try to help them through these difficult periods, working with their loved ones in ways that family members can’t or won’t.”
Barron Preuss is studying for his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Santa Fe Community College. He says: “When I participated with Upaya Zen Center’s Being With Dying program, I felt an invisible hand pushing me towards hospice work and I knew that I wanted to be of service to the community, working with the elderly,” he says. “I went to Coming Home Connection’s caregiver training and felt at home! It was nice to meet others like me, a community of people who are excited to learn about caregiving.” He finds that each moment he spends with clients is extremely precious, and that he is learning a great deal every day.
I worked for 38 years in Physical Rehabilitation at Christus St. Vincent. After I retired, I still felt the need to care for people with injuries, illnesses, disabilities or other special needs — even if it was just simple things like grocery shopping, taking them to a doctor’s appointment, making them a meal, or just sitting and listening to their stories. A co-worker told me about Coming Home Connection, so I contacted them and went to one of the introductory classes. I liked their vision involving giving a hand to those in need, and their mission to provide free in-home care and personal support for the most vulnerable population in Santa Fe. As I listened to the staff, I felt they were very compassionate, personal and professional, and the women and men in the class cared just as much about helping people as I did. I wanted to be part of this amazing group!
That was about five years and seven clients ago. It has been very rewarding to know I make a difference in the world through working with Coming Home Connection.