KUDOS From Kelly

By Kelly McNamara

Kudos From Kelly, Dawn Reed

Dawn Reed: This month’s choice was a simple one, yet very well deserved.

Laura M was a much-loved client, who was with us for only a few months. She was amazing, strong, determined, a caring wife, mother and friend. And sadly, diagnosed with late stage-cancer at a young age of 60. This type of diagnosis in someone so vital, so active, so involved in her community, her family, her home, her considerable culinary skills is a very difficult one to accept.

When we began the case, our focus was on her care needs at the time and which schedule was most effective to support her husband’s ability to continue his work while still insuring that Laura received the important care she required. When we first started the case, the beautiful house was eerily quiet. Any visitors and caregivers communicated in whispers. Laura was weak and bed bound, barely speaking.

We sent in our best caregivers, hoping the family would decide on both the schedule that fit her needs best as well as which caregivers they preferred.

Then Dawn entered the case. She worked the first weekend and nothing was ever the same. Dawn has many strengths, countless talents and special skills. But being quiet is not among them.

She adored Laura from the moment she met her but gently, carefully and earnestly encouraged her to try to walk. And refused to abide a quiet house. Suddenly there was laughter, conversation, dog play. Spectacular cooking by Laura, an accomplished chef. Lacey, Laura’s beloved maltipoo was a frequent center of attention.

Quickly the care changed from what hours were needed to “How often can Dawn come?” And the family wanted ONLY Dawn.

And Dawn, not usually a live-in caregiver, became available for this special lady and her family.

Laura’s husband Steve and daughter Samantha cared for her on the weekends while Dawn returned to her own home.

Their tough days included trips to the hospital for care, chemo, radiation. But it was the good days that contributed to real joy for Laura during her final months. Like two fun loving girlfriends, they went on shopping trips, out to lunch and simple drives on lovely weather days.

When Dawn needed a special gift for Tom for his upcoming birthday party, Laura and she traveled to wine store, gourmet shops and specialty chocolate shops, taking a break for lunch.

The result? A magnificent gift, a real hit at Tom’s party.

As Laura’s condition declined, Dawn brought in additional caregivers to add to the care team. In collaboration with Ridgefield VNAHospice (RVNAHealth), Dawn, her new hospice friends and our team of caregivers provided all the comfort, care, pain management, positioning, sometimes a difficult challenge. The care team, together with Ridgefield VNA hospice also provided much needed emotional and practical support to her family.

At Laura’s funeral, a few weeks later, a lovely celebration of her life, well attended with many young people, many attendees were very interested in meeting the by -now famous Dawn Reed.

To Dawn, many many thanks for devoting so much energy, caring, and support to this special client and her family. We appreciate your mentoring the other caregivers when more people were needed. You are amazing! And special Thanks to Ridgefield ( RVNA Health) for being such a great partner!

All caregivers mentioned in this column will receive a bonus and our sincere gratitude! Many many thanks to all of you for once again extending yourselves to ensure that we are of course Always There…!! ■