After immigrating to Canada from Moldova, Alevtina Tuhari found a way to apply each of her educations.
The president and general manager of Reliable Home Care Agency earned degrees in nursing and management in her hometown of Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova, which is a small, landlocked country located between Romania and Ukraine.
After arriving in Winnipeg with her husband and two children in 2006, Tuhari gained proficiency in English and completed Red River College’s Health Service Leadership and Management Program, starting Reliable Home Care in 2010.
"I think this is what I was looking for all my life," Tuhari says of her ability to apply both her nursing and management experience.
Reliable Home Care’s services include 24-7 home care, personal assistance and supportive care, supervision/sitting, home maintenance, respite for family caregivers, professional nursing services, care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients as well as information and referral services.
Tuhari — who goes by the nickname Alia — says Reliable started as a "simple caregiving service" but now employs about 50 people, including licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and certified health-care aides.
"We consider ourselves a family because we like to keep close to our clients and our staff," Tuhari says. "Our staff comes here every second Friday to pick up their cheques, but this is an additional reason to communicate with them. We talk with them and ask them what they like, what they don’t like and how we can improve.
"It’s a communication process. We are asking all parts to participate and provide us with feedback, how our caregivers perform their tasks. That’s very important. If you don’t get any feedback then you don’t know how you’re doing."
Having worked out in the field herself, Tuhari knows what families expect from caregivers. Also, she says her staff includes immigrants like herself who are experienced health care providers and hold nursing degrees themselves but still need to confirm their education in Canada.
"It takes time to confirm their nursing degrees and in that period of time they still need to work," Tuhari says. "They are really happy to be in this field and have some kind of opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills. For our clients it’s a big benefit."
In addition to Reliable Home Care, Tuhari volunteers with the South Winnipeg Senior Resource Council and St. James Assiniboia 55+ Centre as part of her commitment to helping others.
"In Moldova we don’t have home care programs," Tuhari says. "It was something new to me, how a country can be helpful towards (its) elderly population. It’s incomparable. Canadians just don’t know (how lucky they are). It’s a unique system and even though there are problems, it’s still priceless for people. We appreciate everything we have here."
Go to reliablehomecare.ca to learn more about Reliable Home Care Agency.