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Pediatric Clients Inspire Classic LifeCare

By March 4, 2014June 30th, 2016Moments


Henrietta VanderZwaag is a Classic LifeCare LPN working with pediatric clients in Calgary.

By Lissa Miles

Henrietta spends three days per week with Lindsay, 18, at Bishop Carroll High School. Lindsay is enrolled in the Education Support class led by teacher Sean Collins.

Collins says Henrietta is unbelievable at her job and goes above and beyond for her clients.

“You can just tell that she loves her work and the kids love her. We all respect her so much. If she says, ‘jump,’ I say, ‘how high?’ I hope she’s here until I retire.”

Lindsay’s mother, Naomi, says school would be very difficult for Lindsay without having trust in place with Henrietta.

“Trust is essential when someone is caring for your special needs. We have established a trust with Henrietta and so has Lindsay,” says Naomi. “Thank you Classic LifeCare.”

Quinn Mcleod, a Classic LifeCare Nursing Supervisor who works from the Calgary office, says Henrietta and Lindsay are a great example of the relationships that form in caring for Classic’s pediatric clients.

“My job is to make sure families are happy. I stop in and say hi, check in with the health care worker, occasionally fill in if someone can’t make their shift. I ensure the client is receiving the best care possible.

Classic’s pediatric clients may include children who require tube feeds at school, trach care, children with health concerns who need monitoring. The health care worker will often spend the whole day at school with their client. Client ages range from a few months to 18 years.

“With peds, the caregiver really becomes a part of the family or part of the classroom. There is a great deal of trust that needs to be there for a family to feel comfortable leaving their child with this person.”

Quinn says Classic does a good job for its peds clients, keeping health care workers consistent so parents know their children are in capable hands.

“Big pat on the back to Client Care Coordinator Kelsey who does such a good job scheduling. And we always arrange a meeting before we staff a case to make sure the match is right.”

Lindsay was Henrietta’s first peds client as an LPN. Henrietta works for seven hours at the school each time she is with Lindsay and, while she is hired to monitor Lindsay’s health, they spend much of their time together playing games, doing puzzles, walking the halls with Lindsay’s walker, and interacting.

“Lindsay is just so sweet. How can you not love her?” says Henrietta, during an interview at Bishop Carroll. “It’s very gratifying when I get a smile from her because she has had a hard life. She has been through so much and has really beat the odds.

“Quinn has been great and Classic is very supportive. I really love my job.”

Henrietta, a mother of three, says it’s very important to maintain communication with Lindsay’s family, to ensure the family is happy with the care she provides and aware of what goes on during their time together.

She says it can be challenging working with children with special needs, particularly when they are non-verbal.

“You find ways to communicate. As you get to know them better, you can start to read their facial expressions, their body language. Lindsay has been stable for a long time, which is great, because her health has been fragile in the past.”

Henrietta says she wishes more people could see what she sees in the children she cares for.

“Some people might look at them and see disability, but these kids have a lot to give.”

Quinn says working with peds has been an eye-opening experience.

“At first it seems so overwhelming and sad to see what families go through. But it’s incredible how positive the parents are and how happy and joyful the kids are, despite huge obstacles. It has definitely changed my outlook and made me a more positive person working with these families.”

For more information about Classic LifeCare’s services, click here: www.classiclifecare.com/services-and-approach