Sunday, February 26, 2012

A shout out to Family & Nursing Care

This post is a personal review of the exquisite personnel employed by the agency Family & Nursing Care. I hired a lot of home care aides over the last 5 years and had some genuinely horrible experiences with the same. One agency I worked with sent over a woman who ran from the kitchen when she cracked an egg with a double yolk. Evidently, a double yolked egg is an omen of the devil in some cultures (who the heck knew THAT?). It was this one time that cracked the camel's back - I quite my job to stay home with Mom knowing full well that, with no training at all, I could care for her better than a paid worker of this caliber.

That is, until I found the company Family & Nursing Care, operating in MD and DC. Unlike other agencies, Family & Nursing Care has a different pay scale which is much fairer. The workers actually pay the company a commission for finding the job so the home care aides retain more of the money. The result is an employee base which far exceeds any other in quality (other agencies I worked with paid the employees less than 1/3 of what Mom was paying for care - no wonder we weren't getting quality workers).

I had a few different home care workers through Family & Nursing Care. First, Rebecca spent the nights at Asbury while Mom was there in rehab. The aides are not allowed to sleep at night so poor Rebecca spent the nights sweltering in Mom's room in a chair which was wholly uncomfortable - I know of what I type as I spent the days in that same chair. But, with Rebecca on duty at night, I could rest assured that Mom's needs were tended to.

When we first came home after rehab, Carina and I resumed our regular duties. She was on during the day and I was on at night. That is, until the duties became more strenuous and then we had to "double team." This meant that I had to make sure there were 2 of us at the house at all times. So, I went back to Family & Nursing Care for help and help they did. They sent a worker over that very night (Grace) who was every bit as good and caring as Rebecca was. Grace was kind enough to thank me for giving Mom the level of care and love which I thought she so richly deserved. Grace said it was a pleasure to work with us - how sweet. But, Grace had another assignment, and I was leery of having to "break in" another home care aide as it's almost easier to do the work yourself rather than retrain anyone. Little did I realize that I was the one in training. Each home care aide patiently taught me some sort of new skill - I became efficient at changing the sheets of a bedridden Mom by myself (well, mostly - Mom was still able to roll to one side mostly on her own). I learned how to make sure Mom was in the right position at night for the most peaceful rest. I discovered ways to ensure her safety when I was out of the room for even a moment. I learned how to give a bed bath and change her with virtually no effort on her part. All of this is thanks to the home care aides excellent instruction.

The last home care worker I had from Family & Nursing Care became a part of our family - that was dear Elizabeth. With her South American accent, Elizabeth would teach me more than I thought possible. She showed me how to gently moisten Mom's mouth for comfort, how to prop pillows around Mom so that she's rest easier and not hit the bars in the hospital bed with her arms (causing painful bruises), and how to put on a happier face around Mom. The dying don't need to see a bunch of tears although that obviously can't always be helped.

Elizabeth went so far out of her way to help me learn these skills that it's impossible for me to thank her. I do though consider her a friend forever. She stayed late the morning Mom died to help Mike, Sharyn and me with the transition. She held our hands, she prayed with us, and she timed Mom's last breath and gave a quiet nod which said it all. I am so very grateful to have had her by our side.

If you need an agency, I can 100% vouch for Family & Nursing Care. Please use them instead of anyone else. They truly stand out from the crowd. And, when you're in the position that we were in, that's exactly what you need.


  1. It is unfortunate that so many agencies underpay their home health care workers. Not everyone can quit their job as you did so their loved ones are often at the mercy of substandard workers. Glad you found such a good agency and nice that you are giving them a shout out.

    1. Yes, Patricia - I was very lucky in that I could care for Mom 24/7. I promised my Dad I would do that and he made sure to leave me the resources to fulfill that promise. I had the best parents every and am so very thankful.

  2. you have an award at-

    1. Lisa, I'm so honored you selected my blog for the award. How very sweet. I love your "I feel so unnecessary" blog. I wish it had a different title are very necessary, dear!


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