VHA PSW Delores Layne has a special bond with her 19-year-old client Rahul. “He has even given her a nickname,” says Loveleen, Rahul’s mother. We chatted with her to learn more about the special bond that has formed between her son and his PSW Delores over the years.
What makes Delores such a special caregiver for Rahul?
Whether there is rain, snow or ice storm, Delores is here at 7AM sharp, every single morning. It’s not an easy commitment. I know her back hurts sometimes, but she says, “I just come for Rahul.” I am an elementary school teacher and I need to leave for work at 8AM. Delores and I work together each morning to shower Rahul and to get him ready for school. I don’t know what I would do if she didn’t come on time in the morning. I wouldn’t be able to get Rahul ready, and I would be late to work.
Even though Delores and I don’t get much time to chat with each other, whatever time she spends with my son is so good, you wouldn’t believe it. She is such a sweetheart!
Tell us about Delores’ nickname.
Rahul has low muscle tone, minimal speech and some behavioural challenges. We use sign language to communicate with him. He is very social, but since he has difficulty communicating, he sometimes reacts with an outburst. Delores is very kind and patient with him. Usually when someone says no to Rahul, he reacts negatively, but Delores knows how to tackle him. She always says, “Ok Rahul, go gently. Be good Rahul, be good.” Because of this, Rahul gave her the nickname ‘Be Good.’
What makes you such a good team?
Delores has built a great relationship with my family. She has established solid communication. It makes me feel very comfortable when she comes to my home. She also discusses Rahul’s medication with my husband. She works with all of us as a team to make sure Rahul has a smooth move to the school each morning. Rahul loves his school, so we need to make sure that he is ready to leave on time.
She makes jokes with him. We sing songs together when we bathe him. Not every PSW is able to pick up on subtleties, but when Delores is here I don’t get exhausted. Delores comes not just for work but for a relationship. She has made such a solid connection with Rahul—she truly comes for him. I tell Delores, “If you leave, I don’t know what will happen to our family.”
What do you want Delores to know about how her amazing care has affected your life?
Whenever Delores visits, I give her a warm welcome. We all respect and appreciate her a lot. PSW work is not easy. It’s working with a person who is alive, so they have to look into emotions and feelings. Delores reads Rahul’s expressions and reactions, and she knows how to handle them.
It’s amazing how people make connections with each other when they have limitations. Now that Delores is on vacation, I realize how much she has given to Rahul; it’s unbelievable. As a PSW, you’re not just helping the client, you’re helping the whole family. This is why I want to give so much appreciation to Delores.