Rafael Benavides honored for his outstanding caregiving
The elderly client’s condition and disabilities proved to be such a challenge that caregivers stopped working with her.
Then came Rafael Benavides.
The local nurse succeeded in providing her with award-winning care.
Mr. Benavides recently became the first Californian in eight years to be named BrightStar’s regional West Caregiver of the Year.
During a surprise reveal on Aug. 20 at BrightStar Care Santa Barbara’s office in Goleta, Mr. Benavides was honored with the award after being nominated by his client’s spouse for making a significant difference in her life. (BrightStar is a home care business.)
According to Sharon Perez, owner and director of operations of BrightStar Santa Barbara, Mr. Benavides’ client is diagnosed with a number of physical disabilities as well as Addison’s disease and multiple personality disorder.
Mr. Benavides said because of the client’s previous trauma and disabilities, his first task was to gain her trust.
“It was very difficult, it was very difficult. But I think the most important thing is that you need the trust,” he told the News-Press. “She has her ups and downs, but I am very happy.”
Mr. Benavides explained that because he is Latino and from Chile, his style of care might differ from most caretakers and nurses he knows.
“I’m not like a machine like, ‘Oh here are your pills,’ you know? Every room I go in is different for me,” Mr. Benavides said. “So even if I’m there two, three or four minutes past the medications, I make sure the patient is at least laughing, you know? Interact with them, start talking and stuff like that.”
Mr. Benavides, who started working as a nurse about five years ago, said he focuses on giving his patients the care he hopes to receive when he gets older.
Due to Mr. Benavides’ affectionate care, he has now become his patient’s lifeline and is the only person she trusts with driving her to and from all of her doctors’ appointments.
Before he became his client’s caregiver, she used to miss a lot of her medications and was struggling with understanding why she needed to do certain things, Mr. Benavides said.
However, since he has worked with her, she has been receiving her medications “by the book” and has since become a very independent person.
Mr. Benavides said when he isn’t taking care of his main client, he works at other medical facilities when they are short of nurses. He takes care of anywhere between 80 and 100 patients at a time.
He said his favorite part about his job is the way it makes his heart feel when he is able to help people.
“I feel to myself when I do something right, when I produce positive changes, I feel like I’m doing my job,” Mr. Benavides said.
When he isn’t working, Mr. Benavides said he enjoys spending time with his family and riding on his motorcycle, which he sometimes takes to and from work.
Due to his countless hours of caring for his patient 24/7 as well as the empathy he shares towards others, Mr. Benavides was selected from hundreds of nominees for BrightStar’s prestigious award. He will be honored virtually this year at the BrightStar owners convention, which is an online event due to COVID-19.