Home is where the care is: Getting help with living at home

March 4, 2024
Shawn Penno has been a community health worker in Armstrong for more than two decades.

Thirty years ago, Shawn Penno moved from Kelowna to Armstrong to be with his now wife. He had been working as a manager in building products in Kelowna but missed being in health care. “Both my wife and her mom had been care aides, and I thought, it will take just six months of training to become a community health worker and then I’d go from there,” he says. “But I got into it, and I loved it.”

Today, Shawn is not only a community health worker, but a union shop steward, an instructor for safe patient handling, and a co-chair of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee. “It’s been a lifelong journey. I had been in medical school for a couple of years but had to leave for family reasons. I had a nurse once tell me, ‘You should be an RN.’ But I love where I am. I love the hands-on care and knowing so many people in town.”

Community health workers play an important in delivering care in the comfort of people's homes. Every day, hundreds of health workers across Interior Health visit thousands of clients to provide a range of services so they can live independently at home.

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