Guelph, ON – October 7th, 2015 – Today, the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre (WWCCAC) recognized more than 70 community heroes from Guelph and the surrounding area at their 2nd annual Heroes in the Home Caregiver Recognition Event.
The event honoured the family members, friends, volunteers and health care professionals in our community who go above and beyond in helping those living with illness, injury or disability.
"I'm honoured to have the opportunity to recognize these unsung heroes in our community," says Dale Clement, CEO, WWCCAC. "We appreciate the kindness of all of our community caregivers and their commitment to supporting those in need."
Palliative care nurse Karen DiFrancesco was nominated by three different people. Writes one of her nominators, Jo Marie Powers:
"A palliative nurse is special and Karen is one of the best nurses we had during my husband, Tom's, long four-year battle with cancer. Tom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 and assigned to palliative care. Professionally, Karen understood his medications, his therapies and all that goes with caring for a terminally ill patient. But she also went beyond her responsibilities as a nurse. She always listened to Tom's cares no matter how minor or trivial; she stayed with him when she knew he was concerned about his life and inevitable death; she was spiritually attuned to him in his final journey; and, she genuinely cared about him. I know that Tom lived a better quality of life because of her excellent care and kindness."
Karen began her career as a personal support worker in long-term care, and found that she had a special connection with palliative patients. She is now a nurse, working exclusively on a palliative care team. "I think I have a different approach to care because of my son," says Karen. "I try and give my patients a dignified end-of-life, and ensure that they are comfortable on their own terms. For me, it's really an honour and a privilege to be let into someone's life at this stage."
In addition to her work as a palliative care nurse, Karen cares for her medically fragile son, Adam. It was her role as his caregiver that inspired her to help others. On her triple nomination for a Heroes in the Home award, Karen says she feels honoured and blessed.
"Congratulations to all the caregivers being honoured today. On behalf of the City of Guelph, it's my privilege to say "thank you" – thank you for making a difference for individuals and families, and thank you for making Guelph a more caring, welcoming, and inclusive place to live," says Mayor Cam Guthrie, City of Guelph.
About the Waterloo Wellington CCAC
The Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) connects people with services, helps them get home from hospital and stay home safely, helps them find a place in a long-term care home, and much more. The CCAC works in partnership with hospitals, family doctors, community agencies and others to help patients get the right care at the right time and place. Every day the CCAC helps some 17,000 people in our community.