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 Edwards has been invaluable in helping my aging aunt as she struggled with hip surgery and aging issues. Carol handled medical appointments, coordinated home services, clarified options, and hired staff, all while keeping me informed and my aunt comfortable. I highly recommend the comprehensive and caring services of Careable.
Dr. Barbara Pike-Armbrust, BPHE, DC, Only Child, Grateful Client
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.
Brian Miles, son of Lynn Miles
As her company name so accurately indicates, Carol Edwards from Careable Care Management was not only a kind and empathetic caregiver, but she was also a wealth of valuable knowledge that helped my Mom to not only maintain, but to improve her lifestyle over the last three years of her life – all in a safe and protective environment. Because of her years of experience, Carol was already aware of the best medical people and facilities in Mom’s area. She was always able to handle any challenges we encountered quickly, and in a thoroughly professional manner. Our family was indeed fortunate to find such a knowledgeable caregiver, and we highly recommend Carol’s company and services.
Dr. Karen Pape
I was caring for my parents in their Rosedale home and as the care became increasingly complex, I was aware that the burden of care, added to my business responsibilities was affecting my own health. As my parents care needs were becoming increasing onerous , the unskilled caregivers were a challenge to organize, the food preparation was less than satisfactory, who could do the shopping and attend the numerous medical appointments with my father and mother etc etc
Around this time, while visiting a geriatrician with my father, I was introduced to Carol Edwards who while caring for her own parents seemed to appreciate the difficulties that I was experiencing. I decided to hire Carol, who was a nurse, and guide her through what I knew my parents needed and wanted. We worked together with staff training and reporting , Carol interviewed, hired and engaged staff from an agency with whom she partnered, we managed the food preparation and trained the staff to prepare food that my parents liked.
Carol, under my tutelage, attended physician appointments with my father. At first my parents resented Carol’s intrusion, but eventually warmed and actually came to trust her and appreciate her involvement in their care. I was now able to take vacation, and Carol remained close to my parents while I was away, rather like a substitute daughter. Carol reported directly to me on an as need basis and monthly.
The challenges increased and we involved other skilled assistance to both identify my mother’s care needs and my father’s equipment needs.
As emergencies occurred in the home Carol was both available and attentive. The emotional burden was now overwhelming and it was a benefit to have Carol to delegate tasks while other family members required support . Since I had my own family and responsibilities and other family members increasingly required support and everyone looked to me for guidance, since I was the physician in the family. With Carol’s assistance I had time to be with my parents as their health deteriorated.
Following my parents passing, I remained in contact with Carol, and have found many occasion to refer other “lost souls’ for her guidance and support. Her advocacy role has assisted many friends to navigate our complex and limited health care system.
May 2014 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and given 4 months to live. It was very important for me his wife and two adult daughters that he was cared for in a loving manner in our home.
I was speaking with a dear friend of mine, Jenny Hirsch and explained my situation. Without hesitation she referred me to Carol Edwards at Careable Care Management Inc. She suggested I check out the website and a result it appeared that this agency would meet my needs. I called Carol immediately, after a brief conversation outlining my situation, Carol made a few phone calls and a plan was set in place at once. Within 12 hours the first nurse arrived.
Carol set up a meeting with us in our home, as a result she was able to meet my Husband, identify the situation first hand. Carol handpicked the nursing staff, this was to ensure that we had a compatible nursing team, experienced in Palliative care and would blend well into our home situation. We started with daily care which very soon went to 24/7.
My husband was often admitted to overnight Emergency hospital care, the nurses stayed with him at all times. This gave me a feeling of great comfort. Carol provided me with solutions before I knew what I needed one… She directed me to a private taxi handicap service to transport my husband to his daily appointments at Princess Margaret hospital… Carol would even attend certain hospital meetings with Doctors to ensure appropriate care, questions and answers given to us. This is very important because as the primary caregiver you are not always thinking of what you need to ask or even understand the answer… A daily log was set in place with the nurses to ensure all proper medications where given in the prescribed amount and timely. With shift changes the nurses where able to track and monitor any issues using this log. There was always a cross over to discuss details of each nurse’s shift.
Carol also arranged for us to meet the Palliative Care Doctors, they made themselves available for weekly meetings and a 24 hour call number. They connected us with the agency to deliver the proper hospital bed. I was referred to a pharmacy that provides medical equipment to deal with his specific care… he was now on a morphine drip.
It was very comforting for me to know that he was comfortable, pain free and was in the best possible care all in our home. The team of nurses provided the most loving, compassionate and gentle care possible… They treated us with the most respect and treated my husband like a King… we referred to them as Gerald’s Angels.
I was dealing with some health issues as well… having been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and undergoing treatment, the situation was very stressful. Carol and her team made our lives so much easier. Even after my husband died in July … Carol called a few times to follow up with me and check in…
I would recommend Careable Care Management Inc. without hesitation…. Thank you Carol, your team of Angels made this very difficult time a little more bearable…
Dr. Andrew Neidzwiecki
I would hire Carol to provide care for myself, without hesitation. She is a godsend for me. I don’t have any problem recommending her to anyone.
She is honest, friendly, caring, effective, very reliable and forceful when needed. She understands elderly and geriatric care. She is available 24/7 when needed, she takes personal responsibility for a client and I rely on her 100%.
She took over care of my uncle in Toronto about 4-5 years ago, and from then on a nightmare scenario with his health problems, quarrelling nurses and family members, turned into bliss. She took responsibility to hire staff and to deal with them, she was with my uncle in emergencies and made sure that his doctors did what was needed, when it was needed. She chose a nursing home for him and arranged transfer. She is dealing with all day-to-day issues, including supervising private staff, interfacing with the nursing home, buying all his supplies (such as a specialized bed and wheelchair) and even his clothing. She is my eyes and ears in Toronto, making sure everything is going as it should. On top of that, she is also dealing with family members, eliminating any quarrels and disagreements.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is true.
I live with my elderly mother and severely disabled husband. I was determined to keep both of these dear people with their families. The task of caregiving was sometimes overwhelming. In conversation with Carol, she recognized my needs. She knew instinctively that I needed help to meet the commitment I had made to the two of them and myself. She had an understanding of what I was trying to do. There was compassion and assurance that some steps could be taken to help me out. She immediately went to work contacting an established list of service providers. She kept me updated regularly. I no longer felt alone. She is an advocate; someone who knows the complicated medical system. She is a friend. I am so grateful to Carol for all her support.
On behalf of the Lyon family, I would like to thank you for all your help during a very difficult time in our lives. Together we have honoured the promises made to my mother. This knowledge will help me in the challenges that lie ahead.
Fred and Yvonne
Dear Carol and Sheila,
Thanks so much for your donation to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. Also, thanks for attending the cemetery on the 16th. It was comforting to see you there, Carol. Sheila and Carol, your efforts over the time at Doncliffe will never be forgotten. The Careable team was awesome!!
Harry & Merrill Swain
For the last two years of mom’s life, Carol Edwards/Careable Inc. organized home and health care for our mother. Both of us had full-time jobs that required a lot of travel, and Mom required 24-hour personal care if she was to continue to live in the comfortable circumstances of her own home. Carol worked with personal service workers, Mom’s doctors and dentist, and ran interference with suppliers and bureaucracies on our behalf.
Her empathy, energy and full-time availability for emergencies were remarkable and of the essence, as far as we were concerned. She knew the alternatives to home care and advised us in practical terms what the options were. When Mother was in the hospital, Carol was her advocate, ensuring that the necessary degree of care was in fact provided. Her fees were reasonable and her advice saved more than the cost. If you face similar circumstances, there is no question that the undersigned, to whom further questions may be addressed, would recommend her services.”
The Cohen Family
My family first contacted Carol Edwards last November, when our 84-year-old mother fell ill and was admitted to the Toronto General Hospital with complication from what seemed to be a severe cold that she caught from my brother. Carol was recommended to us by one of my sister’s friends, whose family had used her services and were impressed with her skills and expertise.
We asked Carol to oversee our mother’s care in the hospital, as it seemed that the doctors there could not find any specific cause for her precipitous decline, and were preparing us for the “worst.” It should be mentioned that my mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. This severely impaired her ability to speak for herself at the hospital, to communicate to the hospital staff how she was feeling, and which also impeded her recovery in that to a large extent she resists treatment, there and at home, that might help her.
From the moment Carol got involved, she had extra external caregivers come in on a 24-hour basis to ensure that my mother received the best possible care and attention. Carol personally stood up for my Mother’s rights to proper care from the hospital nursing staff and doctors, yet not in a confrontational manner.
A few days into her stay, my mother was finally diagnosed with viral meningitis, which thankfully resolved itself within the next 10 days. This left my mother in an extremely weakened state, even after the infection was resolved. However, the hospital’s doctors still required Carol’s coaxing to see that my mother was brought back to sufficient strength to be able to leave the hospital in a reasonably self-sufficient state of health. It was only due to Carol’s coaxing that a speech and language technician was brought in to ensure my mother could swallow even minced food properly, as she was having difficulty in her recovery period doing that, and so was unable to eat solid foods until the end of her stay. Carol had a dietitian assigned to the case, who was instructed to count calories and ensure that my mother received sufficient nutrition on a daily basis. She also had a geriatrician brought in to assess my mother’s mental status and who did adjust her medications to give her the best chance of coming out of the hospital in good enough condition to return to her own home rather than a nursing home. (It should be noted that when we first requested that a geriatrician be called in the ward doctors resisted it, saying that they deal with elderly patients all the time, and don’t need any special assistance. However, Carol persisted, and the ward doctors eventually gave in.)
When my mother returned to her home after being in the hospital for three weeks, Carol set up 24/7 caregiving for her at home, and carried out personal visits on an almost-daily basis to ensure that my mother was receiving proper care from the caregivers. At the beginning, she also ordered, on a rental or purchase basis as required, special equipment for Mom’s home to assist her in the bathroom, etc. As well, Carol is constantly “fine-tuning” her staff to my mother’s current requirements, teaching the caregivers how to get the maximum cooperation from my mother, and replacing those caregivers who are not the right “fit.”
Unfortunately, my mother tripped and fell in her home 5 weeks ago and broke her right arm just below the shoulder joint. That kind of break could be put in a cast, and her recovery so far is only partial as she refuses to wear her sling, or do the doctor’s recommended exercises to try to prevent her shoulder from “freezing” during the 6-to-12-week recovery period.
Carol, and her partner Anne, have been tireless and meticulous in their efforts to ensure that my mother is properly cared for. Carol attends all visits to my mother’s various doctors with us, so that she hears first hand what the current situation is and what the doctors recommend. Being an RN, she can also better communicate to the doctors what is going on with my mother medically as opposed to what we, her children, can tell them. Also, she is in constant contact with the caregivers, and they act as Carol’s eyes and ears when she is not there, so she gets a 24-hour perspective of how my mother is doing, how she is eating, her mood swings, her sleep patterns, her bowel and urinary functions, etc. She makes sure my mother’s blood pressure is checked regularly, and that the requisitioned blood tests are done on their scheduled basis, in my mother’s home.
Long story short, Carol was instrumental in the basic recovery of my mother from an illness that we thought was going to take her from us, and even though it turned out to be identifiable and self-curing, it so weakened my mother that I truly feel that without Carol’s help in the hospital there is no way my mother could have returned to her own home. Up until the time she broke her arm, my mother was thriving under Carol’s care at home, and recovered to the point where she was in better physical health than I had seen in the past two years. In regards to her mental health, unfortunately, the Alzheimer’s keeps progressing. Nonetheless, Carol and her team are much more effective than we were, as her family, in seeing that she takes her medications, etc.
The only thing of concern to us is that this level of care is expensive, running generally well over $20,000 per month for the 24/7 caregivers and Carol’s fees. However, we do want to keep our mother in her own home for as long as possible, as that is absolutely what she wants, and what the doctors recommend. Carol is working with us to control the expense factor, and is sympathetic with our concerns in that regard.
Carol also works with her partner, Anne, who is a delightful, compassionate person, and who is certainly able to step in when Carol is unavailable (which is a rare circumstance).
As a further note, Carol is used to the “family dynamics” that naturally happen in these situations amongst the patient’s family, and seems quite diplomatic in the handling of the various viewpoints and emotional responses of the family members involved.
If we could go back in time with the knowledge that we have today, we would absolutely hire Carol again.
Kitty and George
We wanted to say much thanks for your very warm, kind help during a very emotional time for my parents.
They appreciated having your help and found you great.
George and I are very grateful for the way you handled the situation. Thanks.
Thank you so much for your continued support during this difficult time. You enabled me to keep my most cherished promise to allow mom to die peacefully at home with us by her side. For this, I will always be grateful. Many thanks.
Thank you so much for everything you did for Susy and me, as well as for Mom. Your ability to get things organized in such short order was admirable. Thank you.
Doug and Gordon Cowan
Thank you for your kind expression of sympathy. Doug and I sincerely wish you personal success and business success in providing true and valuable help to those who can benefit from your service.
The Rethoret Family
Navigating the complex workings of Long Term Care placement was a challenge greater than we as a family could manage. Just when we thought we had it figured out and done everything right, the “system” would put yet another road block in our way. We needed someone who understood how the bureaucracy functioned – thankfully we found Careable Inc. and Carol Edwards. Carols insight into the workings of the CCAC organization along with her patient, persistent follow-up got us the face to face meeting we needed. It was amazing how quickly the “system” moved when it realized that across the table sat a very knowledgeable navigator guiding a very determined family. They finally heard and understood that it was us who knew best what mom needed.
In Carol Edwards we found the strong advocate that mom needed and the partner our family needed to champion our struggle.
Thanks Carol, all of us appreciate your efforts.
Thank you for the work you’ve done for my family as manager of my parents’ care during the past three years. Now that the big move from their home to Peterborough has been accomplished, I can take a few moments to write you and reflect on our work together.
I appreciate the dedication that you brought to the job and the positive way you related to Mom and Dad. When I first interviewed you for the job, I was struck with your commitment to your clients and to their welfare, and I have always felt your strength of purpose in this regard. During the many crises we had to deal with, I was grateful for your presence and experience in dealing with these situations and working with other professionals.
So, again, I thank you, Carol, and send you my best wishes for further success in this important field in which you’re working.