Devorah* was receiving home care services from VNSNY to help with a variety of medical conditions, but her home care nurse realized her deepest pain required additional care. Devorah had a contentious relationship with her husband, her family lived out of the country, and she was homebound, except for going to the doctor. Shoshana A., a VNSNY social worker, was brought in to help Devorah deal with psychological pain and anguish.
“When I met Devorah, she felt stuck, lonely, and helpless about changing her unhappy state,” recalls Shoshana. “Devorah was intelligent and proud, but she needed to be reminded of her of her own strength and abilities.” In addition to reminding her client of these inner resources she could draw on, Shoshana provided her with perspective and encouragement—resources that reminded her that there were people in her life who could help her.
Shoshana encouraged Devorah to explore options for reconnecting with her community to add pleasure to her life. At one visit, Devorah told her that she had gone out to get her eyebrows done. “She felt happier and prettier as a woman, and I complimented her efforts as well as her appearance. Taking pride in her looks, making herself feel better, and taking the initiative to get out of the house—they were all big steps!”
She went on to say, “I believe that the personal connection we had added to the therapeutic value of my visits. Devorah was born in Israel and enjoyed speaking Hebrew with me. We shared cultural and religious similarities. Devorah needed someone to talk to, but she also needed to know someone was in her corner, and to feel like she had an advocate who understood her.”
Devorah herself wrote to VNSNY to say, “I have no words to express my heartfelt thanks for the extraordinary care, attention, compassion, and unimaginable devotion from Ms. A during my period of failing health. She helped me to rise up from the depth of despair, fear, and vulnerability. She helped me regain the confidence to walk outside with hope for the future; because of her consistent aid and determination. Thank you, Ms. Shoshana. Thank you, VNSNY.”
Says Shoshana, “At a team staff meeting, we were discussing our mission as social workers at VNSNY. I came up with the slogan, ‘We help you cope with life.’ That’s what I did with Devorah.”
* The patient’s name has been changed for privacy.