Inspirations in Long Term Care

Who inspired you in your career as a long term care professional? Whom do you inspire?

Jana Stanfield asked these questions at WAHSA's 1998 All Staff Seminars held throughout Wisconsin. What resulted were numerous letters to and from a myriad of people who play instrumental roles in the long term care industry. These letters reflect the heart behind the quality of care which we strive to uphold in the not-for-profit long term care industry.

WAHSA is proud to share these letters here in honor of the many special people who inspire this industry of quality care.

New letters as of January 4, 1999

Thank you, Diana,

For answering our lights when other people walk by. For giving us a smile or a pat on the back as you are rushing around to get things done. For remembering that I always go to the bathroom right after lunch even if I can't ask you. For taking the time to help me walk a few feet -- I know it's not very far, but it makes me feel so good! For holding my hand and checking on me if I can't get out of bed. For telling the nurse I hurt when I tell you even if I didn't ask you to. For reminding us when there are activities so I can get out of my room. For sneaking me the extra dessert when my stomach just can't handle the lunch.

(written by Diana R. Garthwait, Oak Ridge Care Center, Union Grove from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Co-Workers,

I wish to thank those ladies who were working at Lakeland when I started. My attitude was "keep a professional distance." Then I saw my co-workers doing just the opposite. They (you) became friends with the residents. You became family to them. You listened. You shared feelings. You talked of your family. You were there for them. You got involved. Thank you for teaching me how to care!

(written by A CNA from Lakeland Nursing Home, Elkhorn)

Dear Care Provider,

Thank you for listening when no one will. For time that no one else has. For visiting. Thank you for the hug, the kiss, and more. Thank you for letting me kiss you. Thank you for peace, for making my death easier. I want to thank you for letting me be angry, or frustrated, sad, and depressed. Finally, thank you for being with me, when many won't.

(written by Arie Smouter, Maplewood of Sauk City, from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Lord,

I can already think of a thousand people who have encouraged me. From the administrator who let me wash walls, to Ted who helped me see that the soul needs caring as well. From the man who died while I was holding his hand in a pig pen, to Gail who shows me every day that, even if a situation is terrible, we can still care. All of these people and more have brought me here. Thank you for each one and all that will encourage me tomorrow.

Thank you,

(written by Diana R. Garthwait, Oak Ridge Care Center, Union Grove)

End of new entries added on January 4, 1999

Thank you, Marilyn,

Marilyn, you always have a smile on your face. You joke and make me forget my pain. You always keep me informed about what I have to look forward to today. I am always glad to see you come through the door. It makes my night complete. God bless.

(written by an employee from the viewpoint of a resident)
(Author's note: She always wants to know what nights I am working. She always gives me a good night hug as she thanks me.)

Grandma Goldie,

I want to take a little time to thank you very much for teaching me the loving ways in life. Even though I cannot see you or touch you, I want to let you know that you were my inspiration in leading me into what I do today. I will never forget you and, one day, I will be able to see you again, and thank you in person.

With all my love, your granddaughter,

(written by Ginger Newlun, Pleasant Acres, New Lisbon)

Dear Annette,

Thank you for making my tea at 8:00 p.m. even though you are so busy. Thank you for stopping by my room to smile and say hello even though you know when you ask how I'm feeling I'll say "No comment at this time." Thank you for saying "good night" and giving me a hug as you help me into bed. Thank you for saying "How can I help you?" instead of "What do you want?" each time I use my call light. Thank you.

(written by Annette Onderisin, St. Francis Home, Fond du Lac, from the viewpoint of a resident

Dear Mrs. Voscamp,

You always believed in me and you gave me the chance I needed to feel needed. Many days after school we sat and talked and we sang songs and you inspired me with your voice -- a voice that I have not heard since the last time you sang for me. I may not be the singing teacher you were or have the voice you had, but I do have your memory. Your voice will forever sing in my head. Thank you for giving me the courage to face my fears.

Your little girl,

(written by Stephanie, Good Shepherd Home, Seymour)

Dear Lynn,

I want to thank you Lynn, for calling me one spring day and asking me to go through the CAN course with you so many years ago. I am still in nursing, but you are not. I just want to thank you for being there with me every step of the way. Getting started is always the hardest and we were there for each other.

(written by Kim Grambsch, Juliette Manor, Berlin, Wisconsin)

Dear Care Provider,

Thank you for answering my light as soon as possible. Thank you for keeping me clean and looking the best I can. Thank you f or handling me gently. Thank you for ignoring my rudeness. Thank you for visiting with me. Thank you for praying with me. Thank you for respecting my privacy. Thank you for keeping our personal talks private.

(written by Pat Young, from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for making me for who I am today. I looked up to you and wanted to be so much like you. Everyone loved you for who you were and what you were. If only we could share each other's company today and reminisce.

Love your favorite (and only) niece,

(written by Terry, Orchard Manor, Lancaster, Wisconsin)

(Editor's Note: Sharon was Terry's aunt and she died of cancer 10 years ago. Sharon also was a CNA.)

Dear Care Provider,

I want to thank you for the smile I see when you come down the hall, the wave and the "good morning." Thank you for the times we talked when you gave me my bath. Thank you for the good times we had when you sneaked into my room and you and I talked. Those times are few and far between now because you took a different job and I was moved onto a different unit. But I know you still remember. You have made a difference in my life.

(written by Kim Grambsch, Juliette Manor, Berlin, from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Care Provider:

Thank you for singing to me. Thank you for singing from your heart. Thank you for including my family as a prayer in "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." I usually cry during that song -- out of sadness that I'm going away from them soon, out of gladness that I have them, out of the joy I found in them for so many years together, out of the hope that they will continue to find joy in my memory after I'm gone, and out of my wish for new happinesses in their lives.

I so miss my ability to talk, to move -- so many things are gone. But I can listen and clap and you see the smile in my eyes.

(written by Nancy Bartelt, Attic Angel Health Care Center, Madison, from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Janet:

Thank you for showing me what it's like to care -- What it means to show compassion and understanding. What it means to see things from other perspectives. What it means to experience loss and how a little kindness can make all the difference. Thank you for teaching me what love is all about. Thank you for being my sister.

(written by Dawn Dalaska, Bethany-Riverside, La Crosse)

Dear Care Provider:

I want to thank you for all that you do for me and for everyone that you take care of during your work day. You always greet us with a smile and a cheery "good morning" to start our day.

Thank you...For being our shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or that great hug we need every now and then.

Thank you...For the extra mile you go and for the little things you do that might not seem like much to anyone else but mean the world to us.

God bless you and thank you for making our last days meaningful to us.

(written by Annamarie Roever, Luther Manor, Milwaukee, from the viewpoint of a resident)

Dear Cindy:

This letter is to thank you for all you have taught me. I came to work here after having been very ill myself. I wanted to give back to others all that had been given to me when I was down. I did not know if I could stay, but after working with you I knew I was doing something that felt wonderful. Thank you for your patience, for your humor and, most of all, for your friendship.

Love, Donna

Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
204 South Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608)255-7060 FAX:(608)255-7064