Katheryn Downie

Youngstown State University

“I encourage anyone in the aging field to apply to be involved in this wonderful program, it shows much initiative on expanding knowledge and learning about the issues those who are older are facing, along with networking experience for the future job endeavors.”

I’d like to start off by saying how thankful I was for the opportunity that the Ohio Scholars in Aging has given me by allowing me to travel to OAGE and present my poster on my internship. It has been such an amazing opportunity to work with them and to learn more about the aging field.

I completed my internship at Continuing Healthcare Solutions of Niles, I am still in the process of completing it and will finish it in early July, so I am able to sit for my LNHA exam. My experiences with this company have been nothing but wonderful so far, and I have learned so much. Throughout my internship, I jump from different fields so that I can learn the overall aspects on what it takes to run a long-term care skilled facility. I started in Human Resources, getting to know how the hiring system works and learning about the employees and the roles they play in the system. I was able to sit in on interviews that I called and set up; work closely with our insurance company to help promote a new policy that was supposed to be beneficial to them; filing any updates needed with their licenses and background checks; along with completing the attendance logs and write ups. I learned so many aspects it takes to keep the company running smoothly, along with things that the state may ask to see upon inspection. From there, I went into Activities, where I learned how to do new admit assessments to get to know the residents better on their likes and dislikes; run activities like cooking group, bingo, mass and many others. I was also able to help decorate the facility for the holidays since I was there at the beginning of Christmas. The residents loved the decorations so much and complimented me about them every time they saw me.

After leaving Activities my Administrator sent me to Dietary, where I learned about the special diets we offer and what type of things you need to watch for on the tray tickets to avoid what the resident may be allergic to or what they simply hate. I also was able to do dietary assessments to see what the resident likes and dislikes are along with any special diets they may follow. It also allows us to see what they like to drink and any concerns they may have with their diet that the Speech Therapist expects them to follow. I also was taught how to enter them into our PCC, how to organize tray line and how to assess “Test Trays” to make sure that staff is doing everything right. One of the last things I learned was how to do kitchen inspections along with ordering stock. I never knew there would be so many different aspects involved in working in the kitchen.

The area that I’m actually still in now is Social Services. I am taught how to do the assessments with things like the “BIMs” or “Cognition tests” and learn under what they are covered, whether they are private pay, Medicaid or Medicare and how they go about receiving it. I also learned what it takes to be a social worker, having to deal with disputes between families, other residents, missing clothes and items, receiving inhome care upon discharge and issuing “cut letters” or “NOMNC” which is a statement of notice of non-Medicare coverage. Once they receive those letters, it is up to us to schedule a follow up doctor’s appointment with their primary care physicians, get the proper adaptive equipment they may need in-home, and lastly setting up home care if they need it. You never stop moving when you work in this department. It has been a great experience so far, especially since we are the advocates fighting for the rights of the residents, it feels good to give them a voice.

Something else I’ve been jumping around with is working in the Admissions Department helping do sign-ins allowing us to bill the insurance companies for a resident’s services and treatments. From my understanding my company values me for all the help I’ve been and assisting them with whatever they need. The only downfall is that I cannot help them with something until they have fully taught me how to help them. Especially since I’m new to the field and am inexperienced when it comes to entering information onto the computer. Though I am a fast learner and I take plenty of notes, so it does not require too much extra time. I also am learning to be more outspoken, I was a little shy at first, but that is definitely getting better.

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been given and I have learned an overwhelming amount of knowledge thanks to my internship along with Ohio Scholars in Aging. I learned many new things including how hard it is for those to access certain areas of the city of Columbus if they are using a motorized scooter. I also learned more about the Commissions on Aging, the local Area Agencies on Aging and what they are responsible for along with some new insight on how to receive Medicare and Medicaid. I encourage anyone in the aging field to apply to be involved in this wonderful program, it shows much initiative on expanding knowledge and learning about the issues those who are older are facing, along with networking experience for the future job endeavors.