BENNINGTON — Individuals looking to gain some knowledge in the health care industry with limited to no experience have the opportunity to do just that.
Bayada Home Health Care, which has branches in Bennington, Colchester, Norwich, Rutland, White River Junction and Williston, has open positions.
The Bennington location, which covers Manchester to Springfield and everything south to the borders of Vermont, is hiring home health aides and direct care workers, according to Beth Kirkpatrick, Southern Vermont director of Bayada Home Health Care.
One of the biggest attributes required for these positions, Kirkpatrick said, is that the candidates tend to be “mission-oriented” people.
“These are people who have a lot of empathy for other people, want to help them out and want to give people the opportunity to stay at home longer, and take care of people,” said Kirkpatrick.
Like many businesses, Bayada has experienced staffing issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Currently, at the Bennington location, Bayada employs 85 home health aides, which is about half the number of aides it had prior to the start of the pandemic.
While attracting workers is currently a challenge, Kirkpatrick said there are several benefits to working for Bayada, not all of which are compensatory.
“There’s this whole philosophy that drives what we do. We call it ‘the Bayada Way,’” said Kirkpatrick. “The Bayada Way is putting our clients first, and understanding that our employees are our greatest asset, and everything we do is from a place of support and caring. Even when things are not necessarily going as we like them, we are trying to support each other through it and improve in ways that are productive and positive.”
Abbey Rogers, a home health aide who has worked for Bayada since 2017, cited the families that she works with and the appreciation for the work that she does as two of the main reasons she enjoys working for Bayada.
“I could be having a really bad day and then I get there, and the client’s energy just completely changes that,” she said.
Rogers said she recently received a Hero Award from Bayada for the work she has been performing, for which Kirkpatrick presented her with the award and flowers.
“The effort and the recognition meant a lot to me, and I think it means a lot to the other staff members to feel valued,” Rogers said.
Kirkpatrick said the office regularly receives positive feedback from clients expressing their appreciation for the work provided by the home health aides and direct care workers.
“Our clients love our aides and so we’ll get calls to the office all the time where they’re like, ‘Abbey made me the most beautiful dinner the other night. It was just lovely, and I so appreciate it.’ And then we’ll get calls that are something to the effect of, ‘Jane is just instrumental in my life. I don’t know what I would do without her. She helps me with everything, and I’m just so grateful for her.’”
The function of a home health aide is to visit a client’s home and help them with their activities of daily living, such as showering, grooming and using the restroom. They are also responsible for helping clients with things such as laundry, running errands and going to doctors’ appointments, among other things.
“The purpose is to help people age in place and stay home longer, so they’re not forced to go into a facility if they don’t want to,” Kirkpatrick said.
Home health aides have at least a year doing the aforementioned work, Kirkpatrick said. A direct care worker would be someone that Bayada trains to perform the same work if the individual does not have the required experience. The training would take one week, Kirkpatrick said.
Starting pay for home health aides is $16 an hour on weekdays and $16.50 an hour on weekends. The company also offers full benefits to anyone that works over 30 hours per week, and there are scholarships available for individuals who are interested in furthering their education, Kirkpatrick said.
Another benefit the company offers is a flexible schedule, which is something Rogers said is very important to her.
“As a single mom of three kids, Bayada is pretty really flexible,” Rogers said. “Right before the beginning of the month, we make a schedule of what we’re going to work the next month, and any days off we need, or any time we have to leave early, we just let them know and then our schedule reflects that. Having the flexibility if I need it is a huge comfort.”
Bayada also does not have any requirements when it comes to hours worked, Kirkpatrick said.
Though there are several attractive components of the position, there was one that really stood out to Rogers.
“I think people underestimate the feeling of knowing that you helped someone or knowing that you made one person’s day just a little bit better. I think people underestimate how gratifying that is for yourself,” she said. “So, I think that people coming in will be surprised by how good the job will make you feel and how … attractive that feeling is to you once you’ve started and how it can change your whole day.”