For immediate Release: May 24, 2012
St. Francis Home Care Services: Nicole Peluse (845) 431-8291
HCA: Roger Noyes (518) 810-0665
For countless reasons, St. Francis Home Care Services home health aide Patricia Scully is an ideal caregiver.
Her compassion and outstanding dedication to patients are among the many traits that earned her the “Caring Award” from the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) during a special ceremony on May 9. This award recognizes a caregiver in the home care field who “has exhibited the compassion, skills and service that sets their contribution apart or whose actions on a particular day or over a period of time exemplify caring in home care.”
“Pat is an inspiration to our entire home care team,” says Cathy Regan, RN manager at St. Francis Home Care Services. “She provides excellent care in a professional manner with compassion, respect, love and humor. She is much admired by everyone she meets. Pat is truly an asset to our agency.”
But at age 80, Ms. Scully is also a great example — as well as an inspiration for — an important effort being led by Poughkeepsie-based St. Francis Home Care Services to provide vital education in the community, assisting family members in the basics of caring for an elderly loved one at home.
Ms. Scully started her career as a home health aide in the late 1990s after caring for her husband who was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating degenerative disorder that affects an individual’s motor functions. This personal life experience as an informal caregiver, which eventually drew Ms. Scully to a career in home care, is an increasingly common one for many families, especially as more and more elderly Americans seek care at home and rely on loved ones or organizations like St. Francis Home Care Services — or both — for critical in-home supports. As part of its community outreach activities, St. Francis Home Care Services has responded to the increasing public demand for informal caregiver education programming to assist spouses, adult children, and others about the basics of assisting an elderly relative at home and to help a loved one avoid institutionalization.
St. Francis Home Care Services now offers free monthly caregiver support groups and workshops in Dutchess County, open to the public. The support groups are overseen by an RN with a background in mental health care services and social-work and the workshops are overseen by community liaison staff, with sessions that teach about such matters as safe transferring and mobility, chronic disease management, nutrition, and other issues. The organization received a grant from Dutchess County to fund the programs and is seeking additional grant funding to expand the sessions to other areas in St. Francis Home Care Services’ eight county service region.
Healthy and active caregivers (Ms. Scully, in her spare time, jumps out of airplanes and rides a motorcycle) increasingly seek information to help family members “age in place,” at home; yet Ms. Scully decided several years ago to take things a step further and undergo formal training to become a home health aide, expanding upon and more widely applying the skills she learned as an informal caregiver when she provided support for her late husband. This life experience has given her additional, highly-valued insight that she brings to her role as a formally trained caregiver, where family education and outreach is key, especially in home care.
Now, Ms. Scully is a full time home health aide who carries a full caseload at St. Francis Home Care Services, frequently working 12-hour days, and she still has found time to provide care for loved ones, taking time off from work to fly to California to care for a sick relative and spending many weekends caring for a sick companion, in another county, until he passed away.
“Every morning is a challenge for my clients,” Ms. Scully says. “I thank God for my good health, my family and my co-workers.”
In nominating her for HCA’s “Caring Award,” the staff at St. Francis Home Care Services noted how much Ms. Scully is loved by her clients, for whom she provides excellent care in a compassionate, respectful and loving manner. She rarely turns down even the hardest task and has filled in on many cases on an emergency basis. As one family member of a St. Francis Home Care Services patient stated about Ms. Scully: “We appreciate the excellent care you took of my Dad. You are one of a kind and we will miss you. I will be forever grateful for your kindness.”
Although her work as a home health aide is an inspiration to colleagues and a vital source of support for patients of St. Francis Home Care Services, just as inspiring is the example she sets for families who, like her, have confronted the many challenges of caring for a loved one in need.
Click here for a photo of Ms. Scully receiving the Caring Award from HCA President Joanne Cunningham.