A Few of my Favourite things
By Rilla Sommerville
My fried Gail’s parents were living in two different care facilities, hundreds of miles away from her. Gail knew that a personalized approach to caregiving was best, but it was difficult to tell everyone on the teams what they needed to know. For example, the personal care workers who routinely turned on her mother’s television didn’t realize that most of what she saw made her very agitated. She would have preferred one of her favourite musicals. Similarly, one of Gail’s dad’s caregivers didn’t realize that a simple wheelchair bowling activity would be upsetting to someone who had once been a competitive lawn bowler.
Eventually, Gail put together a book that was like a personal “owner’s manual.” In it, she recorded everything significant about her loved ones—not just the obvious things such as medications or allergies. It included space for “favourites” of all sorts: sports, hobbies, foods and so on.
Gail has since published Everybody needs a MOM (My Owner’s Manual), which is available at www.fathersjoy.ca. It’s the kind of stress-lessening tool that children can work on with their parents long before a move into continuing care is required.
Dreams come true
By Sandra Shearme, RN, MN
I am the Director is Complex Continuing Care at the Palliative Unit of Windsor Regional Hospitals (WRH). We do our best to help make our patients’ and their family’s final wishes come true. Three unique examples stand out in all of our memories:
- The daughter of one of our patients really wanted her mother at her wedding. Every department rose to the challenge and the nursing staff helped the mother with her outfit and makeup. The wedding and reception were held at the hospital that very day.
- With the help of the family, we arranged a tea party for a patient who always wanted one.
- Another patient wished to have a submersion baptism before he passed away. We made it happen, organizing a baptism at the hospital for both the patient and his son. Greta meaning is attributed to celebrations held in the last few weeks of life. We took great pleasure in having brought about moments of joy and fond memories.
Do you have a heart-warming caregiving story? Tell us about it! Your story should be 200 to 250 words long and we’d love to see a picture of you and your loved one. Either send us an email or become a fan on Facebook and share it there.
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