Kathleen’s Story: How she found Quality of Life for her Dad
My dad, John, suffered a severe and life-changing spinal cord injury in October 2016. By March of 2017, he had been in Complex Care for several months. The facility staff were doing their best given my dad’s very complicated case but I was troubled by the many medical and quality of life issues that weren’t being adequately addressed. Even though I was very pro-active about my dad’s care, I couldn’t make any real progress for him and I became frustrated and disheartened. My husband desperately searched Google for a care manager and emailed a number of companies. Carol at Careable Inc. (located in Toronto, Ontario Canada) got back to us right away. We had a reassuring conversation on the phone and within a week she met with us in Guelph Ontario, my dad and my dad’s head nurse to further discuss his case, problem solve and develop care and action plans that could be managed long distance by email, texting and phone calls.
Carol quickly connected with the key people (the complex care physician, the facility’s care coordinator) involved in managing my dad’s care and respectfully but firmly shared our concerns and proposed formally collaborating to address them effectively. She also liaised with the hospital and private healthcare practitioners (nurses, speech language pathologists, physiotherapists) working with my dad to ensure progress was being made. Carol also requested and reviewed daily reports from private caregivers to stay on top of my dad’s physical, mental and emotional status, thereby preventing small, simple problems from becoming big, complicated ones.
My dad’s health and well-being consistently improved under Carol and her team’s management. Working with Careable gave me the invaluable gift of being able to just be a daughter to my father again.
My dad became well enough to leave Complex Care and move into Assisted Living at a Retirement Facility. After the transition, my dad gradually became more anxious, depressed, agitated and eventually aggressive. It was difficult to watch him suffer again after already having suffered so much.
He was prescribed anti-psychotic medication to address his aggression. It unfortunately caused over-sedation; he was rarely ever fully awake or aware. He lost significant weight and developed other physical complications that could have been life-threatening. He had no quality of life.
This is when Rosalee, a geriatric nurse newly working with Careable, became involved in his case and turned it all around.
She made the connection between a decade’s old stroke and my dad’s challenge to regulate his behaviour. Rosalee liaised with his caregivers and with careful data collection and consideration was able to determine what triggered my dad’s difficult behaviours. She then developed specific guidelines of how best to avoid these triggers (don’t force him to go to bed if he isn’t ready, come back later and try again), and equally importantly, how to deal with behaviours once they had been triggered (if he becomes agitated and aggressive, give him safe space to calm down and then re-approach).
Rosalee respectfully educated everyone involved in his care about why he was having trouble regulating his behaviour, provided them with her behavioural management guidelines and consistently advocated for their use.
In this way, we were able to significantly reduce my dad’s agitation and aggression and his doctor agreed to lower the dose of my dad’s anti-psychotic medication. His anxiety lessened, his mood improved, and he recovered his spark and spirit. Rosalee and Carol facilitated my dad’s timely move to a Long Term Care facility, where he could receive the level of care he required. We were able to reduce our private caregiver hours by half, which made his care much more affordable. While Rosalee continues to liaise with everyone involved in my dad’s care, her efforts are much less intensive now that we have resolved so many issues.
Today my dad is leading the best life he can and I am truly grateful to Carol, Rosalee and the Careable team for making that possible. Their approach to care management is personalized, compassionate, holistic and highly effective for both the client and their loved ones.
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My Mum, Maggie or Mrs. P, was not a nursing home kind of gal. She was a feisty, independent, intelligent, inquiring woman, who loved politics and current affairs, and a good argument or discussion about it all.
She had been an executive secretary in a large publishing house; a top-notch legal secretary in both downtown law firms and a one-lawyer local office; and an engaging teacher of legal secretarial science at community college. She was also the “community organizer” of events, children and politics when I was growing up.
After I moved to San Francisco in 1998, and saw Mum’s decline beginning in 2005-2006, I knew that I needed to find a nurse/manager to oversee Mum’s health and well-being in my absence. My cousins, Rebecca and Elizabeth, did a great job in my absence, but it was becoming too much for them to handle Mum’s needs.
A dear friend gave me Carol Edwards’ name. I called and spoke with Carol and felt she and her service was what Mum and I needed…but it wasn’t that easy, nor was it on Mum’s agenda!
Mum fought for 18 months against the idea, until she ended up in emergency. Knowing my flight would take six or seven hours to deliver me to help, I called in Carol. Carol met my cousins at the hospital and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief as Carol maneuvered the system expertly. We wouldn’t have known what to do, nor how to get what Mum needed.
In less than 12 hours, Carol had created a team, and we were able to have Mum recover at home, and live for the next 19 months, in her home, independent and running the show, mainly on her terms. With Carol, Anne and Sheila (the GCM that Carol assigned to Mum’s case), I was able to keep Mum’s medical needs, and SOCIAL needs fulfilled. Mum remained engaged intellectually and socially, even as she stayed close to home in the final year of her life. Mum felt in control of her life, a much-needed feeling for her.
With steady, daily care and human/humane interest from two Professional Service Workers (PSWs Camille and Karen) that Carol and Mum chose together, Mum felt cared for and secure…and at home. When Mum stroked, she was found by her dear PSW in the early morning, and taken to hospital, instead of lying helpless, waiting to be found.
Carol called me immediately upon notice of Mum’s stroke, and she, Anne and her PSW looked after Mum until I arrived 6 hours later. The final 33 days of her life, Mum spent at Scarborough Grace Hospital, with familiar professional friends helping the doctors and nursing staff keep her comfortable, as she gently slipped away.
What was helpful for me and Mum was that Carol was always available, by phone, e-mail, (and smoke signals) to confer, discuss and plan for the best choices/actions for Mum. Mum felt secure and this meant that I could maintain my life with my American husband and my business, knowing our bases were covered.
Carol has excellent systems and personnel in place, so that needed actions happen quickly for the best care of client and family.
Work with Carol is a dynamic collaboration, with humane and effective outcomes for all.