This is a story of home-care givers employed with a family of brave hearts.
Parmindar Singh’s mother Gurjeet Kaur Kohli was suffering from a slew of problems and was bedridden for 5 years. Even as Gurjeet was battling illnesses, Meeta, Parmindar’s wife fell sick. A diagnosis revealed she had Stage II breast cancer. And even as Meeta was convalescing at home after surgery, Jagmohan Kohli, Parmindar’s father was fighting gradual loss of vision caused by a macular hole in one eye and later both the eyes.
Gurjeet Kaur Kohli’s case
Primary home care for Gurjeet
Around 2014, a medical check-up revealed Gurjeet had bipolar disorder. The illness is characterised by severe mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, and general behaviour. Gurjeet was diabetic, had hypertension and thyroid. She was undergoing treatment for the four illnesses. In 2014, she was hospitalised after a drastic change in her behaviour. She went into depression, refused food and medicine. Post-hospitalisation, she lay in bed and needed help with all activities of daily living. She would have food through Ryle’s tube. As she was quite heavy, Meeta, her primary caregiver, found moving her on a bed and off it very difficult.
The much-needed respite
Taking care of her mother-in-law round the clock started taking a toll on Meeta’s health. Her friends forwarded numbers of home-care providers who could give her the much-needed respite. One thing led to another and Meeta zeroed in on Life Circle, a leading home-care provider with operations in Hyderabad.
Professional home care for Gurjeet
Life Circle entrusted Haseena with the task of giving elderly care to Gurjeet. There were some teething problems as the senior was not comfortable with Haseena but thanks to Haseena’s friendly attitude and determination, both she and the senior developed a strong bond. “They were like mother and daughter,” says Meeta. While Haseena took over the mantle of looking after the senior, Meeta monitored the proceedings. Although Haseena was adept with her job, Meeta entrusted the job of handling the urinary catheter to a nurse from a clinic nearby as she deemed it safer.
Meeta is all praise for Haseena, “I am lucky to have had someone like her.” There were tense moments whenever Haseena took leave. This is because Gurjeet grew attached to her and Haseena had gained her trust completely. When Haseena had to leave in 2017 for medical reasons, there was sadness in the house as she had become like one of the family members. Gurjeet and Jagmohan whom Haseena also helped whenever he needed help moving around missed her most.
The Singhs were lucky because the home attendant who came in place of Haseena turned out to be as good as she was. Reshma took off from where Haseena left off. She soon bonded well with everyone in the house including the seniors. Meanwhile, Gurjeet would now and then get into fits of depression. As her disease progressed, she gradually lost her motivation to live. It was clear the disease was getting the better of her and it finally did. Gurjeet passed away in 2019.
Meeta was the primary caregiver for her mother-in-law when she took ill and was bed-ridden in 2014. Things were very hectic until Haseena, the home attendant from Life Circle took over. Just when Meeta got the much-needed respite from her hectic lifestyle, life surprised her. She fell ill and a diagnosis revealed that she had breast cancer. Meeta had to do rounds of the hospital, undergo surgery, and then chemotherapy. Haseena who was around at that time helped with her post-hospitalisation care as well. The family is indebted to Haseena for the immense help she has been to them.
Jagmohan Kohli’s case
Parmindar’s father Jagmohan had developed vision problems caused by a macular hole. A hole in the macula, which is located in the central part of the retina results in blurred vision. It is important that the macula is in good condition as it alone helps in providing a clear vision for reading and seeing intricate details. Because of problems in vision, Jagmohan sometimes required help in moving around. Things worsened when he developed a macular hole in the other eye as well. This left him with only 15% vision.
Continuity of care
Jagmohan had hearing problems as well. Whatever little help he required, Reshma was always around. The Singhs decided to continue with Life Circle services after Gurjeet Kaur passed away. They wanted Reshma around to help with Jagmohan’s home care. Around 12 March 2021, he fell ill. A medical examination at a clinic revealed that he had choked on food and he underwent treatment for that. A couple of weeks later, he was hospitalised after he suffered a brain stroke. He was in the hospital for four days.
Everything seemed fine and Jagmohan was carrying out his activities of daily living all by himself. Sadly, in April, he again fell sick. He was hospitalised for chest congestion. Post-hospitalisation, he was bed-ridden. He passed away after a week on 12 April 2021. All his family members were with him as well as Reshma.
Quality of home care
Reshma was with the Singhs till Jagmohan’s final rites and related functions were completed. “Like Haseena, Reshma was also like one of our own. Both the girls celebrated their birthdays in our house like any other family member,” reminisces Meeta.
Parmindar Singh and his family are thankful to home-care givers Haseena and Reshma, and Life Circle for their dedicated services to the family for seven years. Continuity of care is an important aspect of home care. Having single caregiver care for a person for a long period makes it easier to build a meaningful bond and relieves the family caregiver stress significantly.