Friday, February 12, 2010

The Power of a PSW

Personal Support Workers, also known as PSW's, are a godsend. They can help with anything from trimming fingernails to bathing and showering and the world is a better place because of them.
When Grampa George finally agreed to move in with us, he needed hospitalization immediately. After a long seven day stay that included the necessity of signing a DNR (Do Not Rescucitate) Order due to the seriousness of his condition he was able to come home. The urgent and constant care he needed after being discharged from hospital included the need for a wound nurse to come see him daily over the course of several weeks since he'd developed huge blisters on the tops of his feet since they'd swelled up as a side effect of his heart condition. While a wound nurse is no PSW, she taught me how to care for his 'wounds' which have healed beautifully since.
The CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) for our area sent a representative to interview Grampa G, gather a history on him and arranged for a PSW to come see him two hours a week for the first six months he was here. Now Grampa George is a most pleasant man under most circumstances, but was clearly apprehensive about some woman coming into our house, a home he was just getting to know, to badger him about keeping clean and staying active.
We were very lucky to have Glenda come into our lives and Grampa George just loves her. Not only is she agreeable to whatever he wants to do, or not do, she's the most cheerful person you've ever met.
Now when we met, Glenda dutifully asked how she could help during the two hours per week she was available to us. Many of her clients are alone and need help with meal preparation, personal hygiene or ordering their prescriptions. Those are all MY jobs here, both for Nana and for Grampa George, not that I couldn't use a hand with those things. What was more important was for Glenda to be here for Grampa George, in any way that would help him feel better.
Glenda's hours have been cut to one hour per week by the CCAC, but it's an hour that Grampa George looks forward to every Monday at 2pm. They sit at the dining room table and chat, while I serve coffee and a little something sweet. Their conversations run from what we had for lunch to the philosophy of Aristotle and they really connect. She listens and lets him talk. He'll tell her that he hates taking his pills and she reminds him that he needs them to stay well. When the weather is better they'll start taking walks again, but only if he feels like it. And she's become a good friend.
Nana's not quite sure why Glenda comes over to see Grampa George every week, but I am. Her visits make him happy, lift his spirits, give him a new perspective and are good medicine. Thanks Glenda!

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