The MFA Difference

A Goodnight Lullaby

"Mrs. Escondera is an amazing lady who has led an equally amazing life. As her dementia progressed, her CNA, Cindy, wanted to help her feel more comfortable and found a unique way to help her feel more at home."

Mrs. Escondera, a long-term care patient at one of our centers, is an amazing woman who has led an equally amazing life. She was born in Puerto Rico and immigrated to America in 1945 where she had a long and successful career working in public health in Miami. She has always been a vibrant, outgoing person and despite suffering from dementia her personality continues to shine through. She’s happiest meeting new people, singing songs, and bringing hugs and smiles to everyone she meets at the center.

As her dementia has progressed, her family constructed a memory book to help her recall important things about herself, her family, and the important events of her life. She carries it with her everywhere. In the process of spending time with Mrs. Escondera and getting to know her, one of our CNAs, Cindy, became interested in her memory book and wanted to learn more. As part of our Bridge Builder program, Cindy called Mrs. Escondera’s family to ask about what each item in the book means to Mrs. Escondera. As their relationship grew, the family confided that they were worried about Mrs. Escondera’s continued memory loss and felt that she was becoming more and more frightened.

Cindy took it upon herself to learn how she could help ease her patient’s mind and make her more comfortable.  As it turns out, there was an old Spanish lullaby that Mrs. Escondera used to sing to her daughter every night to help her sleep. Despite not knowing a word of Spanish, Cindy took it upon herself to learn the song by heart, and now sits beside Mrs. Escondera’s bed each night she’s working and sings it to her. It’s a ritual that has brought them closer together while making Mrs. Escondera feel at home and among family.

A Valentine’s Day Surprise

"As a patient, his favorite part of each day was sharing meals with his wife. He and his dietician, Ellen, concocted a very special plan to give his wife a Valentine’s day dinner she’ll never forget."

After suffering two strokes, our patient Mr. James came to Beaufont Health and Rehabilitation Center for long-term care. His wife comes to visit him almost every day and enjoys sharing a meal with her husband.

In February Mrs. James noticed her husband losing some weight and came to the center dietician, Ellen, to discuss his diet. Together they agreed that he just didn’t seem to eat well when Mrs. James wasn’t there to dine with him. Mrs. James has a flower delivery business, and with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching (her busiest time of year) she was worried that she wasn’t going to be able to visit as often.

That’s when Ellen sprang into action. She began eating with Mr. James and made a point of spending more time with him. As they talked and grew closer, they came up with a plan to surprise Mrs. James on Valentine’s Day. As they worked on their plan, Ellen noticed that Mr. James started eating better and gaining weight. He was also getting happier and laughing more. He had a new sparkle in his eyes and was energized by their project. They made a card for Mrs. James and decided to surprise her with a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at the center.

When Valentine’s Day arrived, Mr. James was very excited and couldn’t wait for Mrs. James to arrive. When she came through the doors, he was in the lobby waiting for her and the two were escorted to a private, specially prepared candlelight dinner. When Mr. James gave her his card and a necklace he’d bought, she was moved to tears. Thanks to Ellen’s caring attitude and initiative, the Jameses were able to enjoy a special Valentine’s Day dinner that they’ll never forget.
 

Helping her get back to work helped her get back home, too.

"When Ms. Esposito was having acute memory problems, her care team helped recreate the work environment she knew and loved to spark her memory and accelerate her recovery."

Ms. Esposito came to one of MFA’s LifeWorks Rehab and Skilled Nursing Centers from a local hospital. She was at our center for short-term rehabilitation care in the LifeWorks Rehab program. Her primary goals were to regain strength and mobility in order to return home safely and independently, as well as to address acute memory problems she was experiencing.

Ms. Esposito’s son drove her to our center after leaving the hospital and, to say the least, she was apprehensive. Upon her arrival she refused to get out of the car. She had lived at her own home completely independently before her arrival and, like many people, felt frightened by the prospect of skilled nursing care.

With the help and encouragement of the center’s nursing and administration team, she finally agreed to come into the building. She particularly trusted our business officer manager, Charles, who seemed to make the most headway in getting her to leave her car. Over the coming weeks, Charles took care to spend extra time with her and make sure she was comfortable and happy.

When the care staff learned that she had been a nurse, they decided to recreate her work environment to help her adjust to being at the center and help her participate.  Mrs. Esposito would assist in “rounds” with Charles and helped escort patients to the dining rooms and activity rooms. As a result, her activity level increased and she became more comfortable at the center. She enjoyed the feeling of contributing and helping others, and felt very at home to be back in familiar work surroundings. Most importantly, she became happier and more optimistic. Thanks to the ability of Charles and the other care team members to really get to know her while caring for her, Ms. Esposito was able to return home in a month’s time.
 

LifeWorks Rehab helped keep his recovery on course…and get him back on the golf course.

"Mr. Tomlinson came to us after a bad fall. By getting to know him and what he’s most passionate about, his LifeWorks Rehab therapists helped him stay motivated and get back home sooner than ever, healthy and fully recovered. "

After sustaining two falls (one at his home and one while exiting a golf cart) Mr. Tomlinson needed a lot of help to get back to his very active and independent life. With golf, grandkids, gardening, a wife, and a two-story home, he had a lot to get back to. But you just can’t keep some people down, even at 81 years old!

To get back home and back to enjoying his life, Mr. Tomlinson entered the LifeWorks Rehab program. The intensive program of physical and occupational therapy, which included sessions 6 times per week for approximately 2.5 hours a day, was exactly what he needed. The LifeWorks Rehab therapists, nurses, and staff quickly learned that golf was a major passion for Mr. Tomlinson, and they used that passion to help keep him motivated in his therapy sessions. His therapists organized custom “Back to Golf” sessions specifically devoted to helping him get back to his favorite sport while regaining strength, mobility, and coordination.

Now that he’s back home, Mr. Tomlinson has regained his independence and is fully able to get back to his life and hobbies and, of course, to golf. To help celebrate his success, the employees at the center arranged for him to throw out the first pitch at a local professional baseball game. Mr. Tomlinson was honored to participate and was escorted by numerous family members and friends. He was proud to showcase his abilities to the people closest to him and many other members of his community.  

The team that worked with Mr. Tomlinson at the center has developed a lasting relationship with him based upon their shared positive experience.  The type of personal attention that he received is an example of the ways in which MFA employees go out of their way to get to know their patients.