The mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In doing so, they “make their mark” upon those we serve. In our continuing series, “Make your Mark,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values.
Jodi Jahnke makes her mark as an Occupational Therapist with Optage, the home and community services division of PHS. She’s been recognized for remaining Ready & Engaged (a PHS value) through challenging circumstances.
When COVID-19 restrictions were implemented to safeguard residents, Optage redeployed its therapists to serve in other capacities, wherever the needs were greatest within PHS. Jodi admits that at first she felt “very stressed” diving into unfamiliar roles — such as Nursing Assistant and Community Screener — at EagleCrest, Maranatha and Norris Square. She said, “I had no idea how I was going to get through it.”
Kristin Stewart, who serves as Director of Optage Home Care, said, “Jodi has been amazing during COVID-19, taking on multiple reassignments outside her role as an OT. She keeps such a positive attitude, is extremely compassionate and is always so happy to be serving her clients.”
But she discovered strength in teamwork with other Nursing Assistants. “My day would start at Maranatha with listening to their prayers,” she explained. “If you can picture it, I was there for my 6 a.m. shift feeling overwhelmed. Without complaining about their shifts, they thanked God for their health and well-being. Staff such as Debra, Lucas and Frances would help me see the bigger picture, and I’d no longer feel so overwhelmed.” Plus, she said, “I realized how much the residents needed me there.”
Jodi and others are now back in their Optage Home Care roles, armed with new protocols and safeguards. With COVID-19 precautions in place, Jodi feels relieved and has renewed purpose. She said, “I cried when I got the call to return to my OT home care job.” The majority of her clients feel ready, too. She’s observed how the COVID-19 restrictions have taken a toll on their physical and mental health. “To be able to go in and see these residents is a huge privilege,” she said.
Gene, an Optage client who lives at SummerWood of Plymouth, said recently, “Jodi has been a delight to work with. As with other PHS therapists, she is so interested in seeing that I get what I need to be successful in my recovery.”
Jodi concludes, “This is going to be a new beginning for all of us and I definitely will not take my job for granted. We're not out of the woods yet but we are doing what we love to do and that's making an impact on our clients’ lives so they can live as independently as possible."
Check out the recent video featuring Jodi in a recent therapy session with Gene.
We at PHS are indebted to Jodi and all employees who are ready and engaged and face what is unfamiliar as opportunities to learn and grow. Their perseverance through this uncertain and unprecedented time is making a mark on us all.
Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at www.preshomes.org/careers.
Optage Home Care and the gift of presence