This “Connected Care Story” takes place four years ago and outlines the creative and unique methods that one of our Personal Support Workers (PSW) used to assist *Irene, a client who was living in a retirement home at the time.
Irene is an elderly woman who lives with her husband. At the time, the couple were living in a retirement setting while on a waitlist to be placed into long-term care. Irene had Alzheimer’s disease, and her husband *Frank, was her main caregiver. As Irene’s condition worsened and she developed aggressive reactions, Frank was unable to assist with all of her needs. Irene was referred to the Home Health team at CBI Health and began receiving support from a PSW, who provided in-home personal care for Irene twice a day.
At the beginning, Irene was very reluctant to trust her PSW. To help her feel more comfortable and at ease, Irene’s PSW used a consistent routine and positive reinforcement as she provided care and assisted her. One day she noticed Irene walking down the hall, moving her hands in a way as if she were dancing. She checked Irene’s client file and found out that she in fact loved ballroom dancing, and that this could be a way to continuing building a positive relationship with Irene.
Her PSW began playing music during her visits with Irene, and even waltzed around the room with her on multiple occasions. The music and dancing brought joy to Irene everyday. This became a positive part of her routine and created a calmer environment for her to allow her PSW to support her without reluctance. Playing music and bringing dance back into Irene’s day created a connection between her and her PSW that allowed for greater trust. Irene’s husband Frank also began playing music and dancing with Irene more often, which helped him to de-escalate tension when he was assisting her alone.
Irene worked with her PSW for a year before she was finally accepted into a long-term care facility. The time spent with her PSW also allowed her husband Frank to relax, as he knew she was in good care. Frank was also thankful for the compassion and creative thinking that Irene’s PSW exhibited through dance and music, and how she was able to create a sense of normalcy in their lives and bring out parts of Irene’s personality that he hadn’t seen in a while.
*Names have been changed