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Local nurse bridges gaps in care through culture and language

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 19:30:10-04

MILWAUKEE — Registered nurse Sia Xiong feels her Hmong background plays a big role in helping patients across the Milwaukee area.

Xiong is also an administrator at the Asian-owned Personalized Plus Home Health Care in Milwaukee, where the team provides skilled nursing services in patients' homes with staff fluent in English, Hmong, Laotian, Spanish, Burmese, and other languages. The agency said out of nearly 100 clients, 75 percent prefer care in their native language.

Sia Xiong and a patient.
Sia Xiong and a patient.

"Knowing that diversity or knowing the culture helps us provide our services in a much effective way," Xiong said. "Being able to provide workers that are the same culture and also speak the same language helps a great deal. It provides them to be able to stay in their own home where they're comfortable."

Xiong said that inclusivity came into play during the pandemic, as staff debunked myths about coronavirus and explained how to stay safe.

Sia Xiong
Sia Xiong

Xiong's personal experience has motivated her to treat every patient like family and fueled her compassion for others. Her family arrived in the United States as refugees before she turned 5-years-old. At the time a family in Manitowoc sponsored them.

"We came to the United States in 1979. I'm the oldest of seven, and I was the first in our family to go to college," Xiong said.

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Some days are tough, helping people when they are vulnerable, but Xiong's passion for her work and patients endures. For her, this work is her way of giving back.

"Sometimes you question yourself, why do you do this or why did I become a nurse? I think at the end of the day, it's just feeling good that you've helped somebody that's in need," Xiong said.

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