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Friday, May 05, 2006

Caregivers are Angels in Disguise

To some, caregivers look like they have wings and have just descended down from heaven on a mission. Why? Let's face it. It's not easy to care for the sick or the old people no matter how much you love them. It takes a lot of patience and understanding and genuine concern to truly live up with them. As a student-nurse in the Philippines, I was witness to the kind of service that health professionals give to their clients. As idealistic as it may seem, I believe that Nurses are expected to give their best to their clients, applying the concept of "therapeutic use of self" in the way they speak, their non-verbal communication, through their prompt and efficient service, etc. It greatly upsets me and even irates me when patients are not given good quality service. But can you blame the nurses when they have 40 patients to attend to?

Caregivers, on the other hand, are also expected to be knowledgeable in the therapeutic use of self. It has been found that patients who receive genuine care from their providers of care get well faster, and have better chances of recuperating than those who don't. But who are the caregivers? These are people who do attend to the needs of sick or incapacitated persons whether temporarily or permanently. In a family, the primary caregivers are the mothers and the women. Do you recall a time when you were young and you had a very high fever? I recall those times vividly - how my mom used to give me sponge baths frequently, how she would wake up in the night to check on me, how she'd prepare food to bring up to my room just so I'd eat, how she'd practically watch the clock just so I won't miss my medications. I also recall how I'd get sick whenever my mom left for the province or to some place and how i'd get well no sooner than when she arrived. I get to smile when I think of it.

Nowadays, it is difficult for the mother or the other members of the family to be able to provide such kind of care to the sick or even to the convalescent. Most families require both parents to work in order to provide and meet their financial needs. Thus flourished the Caregiving business - they give the sick the attention and service that their family should be able to provide them but can't. These trained caregivers are then expected to serve their clients just like the mother would care for her own family. Just like my mom would.

I have been to the US twice and in those times I was able to witness how my mom gives attention to her clients. She runs Hesed Companions - a caregivers' agency in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California. Being trained as a mother, she pays attention to the smallest details that their customers require, even paying them a visit to check on how her caregivers are doing and whether their patients are satisfied or not. She is also knowledgeable in the Nursing practice as she had earned 3.5 years equivalent of nursing education from the University of the East, Manila, Philippines to which her professionalism probably springs from. She is also a born again Christian which explains why she and her caregivers empathize with their clients, are patient with them and show them love and understanding.

During my first trip, I was able to work for her for 1 full week. I had nothing else to do and was just waiting for my flight to the Philippines then. So I volunteered to do some job just to while away my time. Sure, enough my mom agreed to field me to one of her loyal customers. She, Olive, was not sick at all. She was just too old to be doing things by herself and staying home by herself. I saw how her children were so confident of the care that I would give Olive because they knew that my mom would have only the best for them. Ahem. But that's how she really is- my mom - she gives her best in anything and everything that she does.

Sadly, though, after 1 week I had to leave Olive when it was time for me to go back to the Philippines. But Olive and I became good friends and wrote each other. When she died her daughter even sent me an e-mail to thank me for making her mother happy even for just a short while.

I was also able to meet another of mom's clients - Grandpa Joe. He had been her client since 1992 when Joe's wife was still alive. Oh how Exine adored my mom that was evident in the very kind words that she has for her. Shortly before he transferred to Orange County in the 3rd quarter of 2007, mom still served Grandpa Joe and visited him every so often even when her caregivers were there to attend to him. I guess Grandpa Joe had been around for a while that he was already considered to be a member of our family. The last time I saw him was in 2000 when I brought my mother-in-law and daughter to meet him too.

My mom's most recent client is the mother of Grandpa Joe's physician (sorry, I forgot his name). I guess he likes my mom's service that he is now my mother's most formidable endorser. He actually gives out her flyers to his clients. If anyone would need caregiving service, babysitting, driving, Bathing, with light housekeeping, I'd recommend them of course.

Check out Hesed Companion's Website at www.wecare.freewebpages.org. Their telephone numbers in L.A. are 818-4009751 and 818-5158894.

Learn what skills and traits the perfect caregiver should have at http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Choose-a-Caregiver.

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