Beyond A Care Job – Featuring Carla (Griswold Home Care)

This is an entry to recognize a top caregiver in the industry, submitted by Andrea at Griswold Home Care in Connecticut. Please join us is recognizing a care job well done.

Carla is truly an extraordinary employee and I cannot find enough superlatives to describe her as a caregiver, employee and my one constant go-to person. I will begin by using a series of words: COMMITMENT, COMPASSION and COMMON SENSE. Carla has been employed by Griswold for the past two years and has never missed an assignment. In a serious situation, and without fail, she will rearrange her personal schedule at a moments notice to assist me in any way.

She is unique and an anomaly in that the word no is just not part of her vocabulary. She does not drive; however, that has not interfered with her unwavering commitment to her clients and to her job. Carla knows every public bus and train schedule in all the cities in her service areas, as well as Uber and Lyft, utilizing these services at her own expense. Given the recent Covid crisis, and not wanting to put her clients or herself at an increased risk, Carla elected to use Uber and Lyft exclusively.

Carla has an extensive background in caregiving ranging from formal training in a nursing program, working with children at Central Connecticut Medical Center, and in various mental health facilities. These experiences with both male and female patients on the spectrum of severity of mental health issues, many of whom were physically combative have made her an extremely valuable asset to Griswold. There has been a significant rise in our dementia and Alzheimer’s population, which requires a person to have a variety of strategies, in his/her bag of tricks.

Carla began as a fill-in for one particular family and remained with her client for a year and a half until her recent passing. What makes her unique is that she observes the client, asks questions of the family members regarding special interests, history and routines and capitalizes on the times when those qualities are still evident, fostering trust.

On those occasions when the combativeness occurred, Carla exhibited patience, compassion, and common sense often sitting on the floor with the client for extended periods of time, allowing her to work through these episodes and intuitively knowing when it was appropriate to cajole her to comply. In addition to this, and unlike several of her predecessors in that household, Carla never took the physical or verbal outbursts personally, because she understood they were a manifestation of the disease. Never demeaning her client, she always spoke to her with respect and treated her with the same kindness, compassion and dignity even as her condition deteriorated. Perhaps the highest compliment that can be given to a caretaker by all members of a family, including the husband who lived in the house, was that they trusted Carla implicitly, and breathed a sigh of relief every time she walked in the door.

Carla always spoke of herself as a member of a team. She worked with several nurses when her clients were on hospice. All of these nurses observed the same qualities in Carla that have been cited above. They trusted her input and her ability to follow their instructions and make informed decisions about their client’s care. These experiences made Carla’s guidance to her families invaluable in preparation for changes as they occurred throughout the diseases progression. Sadly, Carla lost two patients within a six-month period. Both families had had a number of caretakers for their loved ones, but cited Carla personally in their respective obituaries, and called me personally to thank me for choosing her to care for their parents and help them navigate through such a prolonged and difficult disease.

I have hired hundreds of caretakers, each of whom has his/her strengths and weaknesses, but none of whom have exhibited the complete package of outstanding skills and character traits demonstrated by Carla.

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