Roel Mitchell, Home Health Aide (HHA) specializing in caring for victims of violence

For some, caregiving as a profession is a choice, for others, a calling. For Roel Mitchell, HHA, it’s both. In recognition of his skills and compassion, Harriott Home Health Services has selected Roel as their employee of the month. 

Roel chose to become a home health aide when Weaver High School in Hartford offered it as a  summer program after graduation. Instead of choosing classes in mechanics, he followed his passion for helping others. While he recognized this instinct at the young age, it was his mother and sister who nurtured it as they both worked in the HHA profession. “I saw the work they did as HHA’s and I knew that was what I wanted for myself so I completed the program and I’ve been doing this work ever since” he stated. 

Roel is now an HHA with 17 years of experience gained through working in hospitals and homecare. While he has cared for clients from all walks of life, one contribution is how he cares for survivors of violence in their homes. I spoke with Roel after he had just returned from his client’s home, a young man whose life was drastically changed forever by a bullet that left him paralyzed from the waist down. “I’ve been with my guy for a long time and I see him 7 days a week to help him get out of bed and ready to start a new day, it is a relationship built on trust, that I am there and everything is safe”. When I asked Roel what he says or does to encourage patients victimized by violence he spoke of positive aspects, he bragged of his patient’s strengths, both the physical and emotional – “my guy is strong, we practice movement so he can sometimes move himself from bed to a chair, and whenever he gets the blues I encourage him to have faith, and not to let stress get the best of him, that he matters”. 

Roel prides himself on his natural instinct to help people, and how rewarding it is to rehabilitate patients in their homes. He spoke of an elderly wheelchair bound client who over the years, little by little, progressed to a walker and then up on his feet, and then to driving. He helped his client become more independent.

When I asked Roel what he thinks is overlooked in the work that HHA’s perform it only took a second for him to respond. “Time, the time it takes to build trust in a relationship, but with patience it eventually comes together, so if I can help a patient do better and make their situation better, I am all for it”. 

After we completed the interview I couldn’t help but think that if every person reached out and made one new connection by just talking to an HHA about the work they do, the world would be a better place. 

A. Siobhan Thompson reporting for HHHS