Rarely are people, coping with a family tragedy, able to use the experience to create a positive life change for themselves and others. But that is just what Susan and Wendy Scott did after the death of their mother.
When her 75-year-old mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Susan believed that the public health care system and her family were enough of a support team to safely care for her.
But the stress created by the daily concerns around her mother’s care as her quality of life diminished was compounded by Susan’s 75-year-old father’s simultaneously deteriorating health.
For the elderly couple’s dedicated but busy adult children, it was clear that their efforts and the stretched public health care services were not enough.
“It was too much for our family despite our best efforts,” Susan recalls. “I couldn’t enjoy being with my mom in the precious short time she had left because there always seemed to be a crisis and us trying to arrange outside help.”
Recognizing that their family situation was not unique, Susan became determined to help other families avoid the same support challenges.
So, together with her sister-in-law Wendy Scott a longtime registered nurse, she decided to purchase the Nurse Next Door franchise in Burnaby in 2009.
Today the private-pay home care support service has manyclients ranging in age from 20 to 100 who live in Burnaby, New Westminster, and Port Moody. Health care and support can be provided 24 hours a day by staff ranging that includes everyone from care aides to nurses.
The goal of Nurse Next Door is to help people age in place for as long as it is safe. Nurse Next Door will support clients who live in their own homes, in assisted living, in long-term care or are in hospital.
“Like me, when my mom was ill, clients and their families or close friends are willing to pay for the peace of mind that comes when you do all you can to help your loved one have a more comfortable and supported life than is offered just by limited public health care,” Susan explains.
Nurse Next Door services can be as minimal as light housekeeping and meal preparation to around-the-clock care. The client can decide the number of hours, what time of day and the days of the week that suit them.
“They tell us when they want to start. So, if they want us to start that night, we can. Or if they want us to start in a month, they can,” says Wendy.
Susan adds, “Caregiving requires constant attention including personal care that is difficult for family members to provide to loved ones. That’s where Nurse Next Door support steps in.”
Wendy points out that Nurse Next Door’s complimentary support to public health care can make the difference for a client being able to stay in their own home in their community rather than having to move to a care facility.
She says the options available with public health care are mainly focused on medical rather than other things that facilitate overall wellbeing like housekeeping, grocery shopping and companionship.
Other Nurse Next Door services include meal planning and preparation, arranging transportation, laundry service, as well as staff assisting with tasks such as light gardening and social events by accompanying clients to car shows, hockey games or community centres.
And though the majority of clients are people coping with issues associated with aging, Nurse Next Door services support clients across the health spectrum including those in need of respite, palliative and end-of-life care. Nurses, though not counsellors, are all trained in bereavement support.
Nurse Next Door also provides a full range of medical care including post-op care, wound care, and IV Therapy.
New clients are evaluated through in-person assessments as to what supports they need or could benefit from, and what can be provided to help clients do things they enjoy. As clients’ needs change over time, so can the types of support provided.
Happier Aging is the mandate of Nurse Next Door.