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Published on December 21, 2021

Jessica Macedo with resident

Smiles and Personal Service: A Day at Work with Jessica Macedo

Great care often starts with the small things, and no one knows that better than Jessica Macedo.

A laundry aide at Hegg Health Center in Rock Valley, Iowa, Jessica is always willing to share a smile, her time and a warm spirit.

Jessica loves delivering clean clothes to residents so much that she even volunteered to undergo twice-weekly COVID testing to be able to go in person to the units when visitors were restricted for residents’ safety. Residents benefited from her friendly presence at a time when they couldn’t see their family and friends in person.

“I like what I do, and we are busy, but I know our residents appreciate our work,” she said. “They often get excited and they smile when we bring them their clothes. We have formed bonds.”

Here’s a look at Jessica’s role at Hegg Health Center, and some insight on what makes her love her job as a part of the Avera team.

Question: What’s your job? Are you on a big team?

Answer: Our team is three people. We like to say we’re small – but we’re powerful. We do all the laundry for our facility, including the hospital. We also care for the clothing of our 60 long-term care residents – we see that as an important part of what we do.

Q: That service went through some changes, didn’t it?

A: Yes, we were using a service outside our facility. My director asked me if I thought we could do a better job with their clothes here on campus, and I spoke to my team. We were happy to offer that service in-house.

Jessica MacedoJessica Macedo

Q: What was happening?

A: Residents were having clothes get lost or damaged. We would rather have a little bit more work than have someone’s favorite shirt or sweater lost. We took on the challenge, and our residents seem to know we’ll take care of them.

Q: Can you tell me about what a day in your job is like?

A: I come in at 6 a.m. and we start sorting the wash and get it going. We usually do this for a few hours, and when we have resident laundry, we sometimes take turns ironing the items that might need a little extra attention. Usually around 10:30 a.m. we deliver to hospital departments and residents. That’s the best part. After we’ve returned all the laundry and clothing, we get things ready for the next day, and we’re usually finished around 2 p.m.

Q: Why is delivering laundry to residents the best part?

A: Residents recognize us as family, and we feel the same way. As we bring things back to their rooms, they will say hello and we’ll chat or catch up. They like to say “Oh, here comes the laundry ladies!” It’s nice to brighten someone’s day. A shirt might not seem like a big deal – but it is. So something as small as knowing their favorite flannel shirt is being cared for by someone they know and trust matters. It’s a way to show them we care about them as a whole person. We ask them if they like things washed or ironed a certain way, too. Even if something gets misplaced, we know so many of the residents so well, we can be like “Oh, that’s Evelyn’s blouse” even if it’s not marked.

Q: What is it about Avera that you like?

A: I really feel that everyone at my job likes one another, and they are so positive in their feedback for us. That makes it easier, no matter how busy we might be. I like what I do and that I get to work with so many people who seem to feel the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CNA or a doctor or a nurse, or in laundry: if you’re doing your job correctly and your team members say you’re doing good – it’s like a family among those of us who work here. We see the residents as our family and our coworkers, too.

Q: Everyone mentions your smile – how do you stay in such a good mood?

A: I have a lot of family members who work in factories, and they ask me why I don’t join them, but I say, no! I love my job! The residents make me smile, too. I just like people and we have excellent people at my facility. They make me happy. My suggestions are heard, and it’s easy to form bonds with our residents. We’re like a family hosting visitors, sometimes I feel. And we’re going to make sure they feel welcome and special – and a smile is a good way to do that.

This is part of a series featuring Avera employees and how they are moving health forward at Avera every day.

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