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Published By Barb Madison on June 13, 2018

Right at Home of St. Louis Caregivers Win Local Hospice Caregiver Awards

Marletta Payne and Belinda Spencer, caregivers with Right at Home of St. Louis, were honored recently by locally-owned Baue Funeral Homes, Crematory & Cemetery. Each caregiver won a monthly Hospice Caregiver Award for going above and beyond the call of duty to provide compassion care for their clients.

Caregivers are nominated by clients or others in the community who witness their extraordinary efforts to be a shining light of comfort for patients and their families. Winners receive a beautiful crystal plaque, a $250 Visa Gift Card to spend on themselves, and an invitation to the Baue Annual Award Luncheon where they have the opportunity to win a weekend getaway trip.

Marletta Payne earned the award for January 2018 and Belinda Spencer was the winner for February 2018. You can read all about their remarkable, caring ways in the nominations submitted by their client below.

Marletta Payne, Baue Hospice Caregiver Award Winner, January 2018

Caregiver Marletta

"My family would like to nominate Marletta Payne with Right at Home of St. Louis for the Baue Caregiver Award.

Marletta is currently caring for my mom who has dementia and is on hospice. Marletta truly has a calling for working with people with dementia. Her expertise in caring for my mom reflects in my mom’s behavior. Mom is happy and content when she is with Marletta. Mom smiles more when Marletta is around.

Marletta uses mom’s daily routine to engage her. She and mom read the newspaper together. Then they spend time discussing what they read. As they talk about different topics, Marletta gently asks my mom questions to see if it jogs her memory about her past. Their conversations are funny, touching and relaxed.

When Marletta provides personal care to my mom, she is gentle and moves at mom’s pace. My mom trusts Marletta because she does not rush or intimidate her. When my mom needs to be transferred from her wheelchair, recliner, or bed Marletta asks before transferring. If mom isn’t ready, Marletta will wait. Since mom has dementia, this one task can be challenging.

Marletta is a self-starter who needs little direction. I regularly watch her assess a situation and then put a plan into action. When she discovered mom was a gardener, Marletta had mom surprise me by repotting one of our plants. When I returned home and saw the joy on mom’s face, it was priceless. Participating in this project clearly left my mom feeling pride and happiness. You can see how much fun she is having in her smile and in her eyes in the photos.

Marletta’s positive contribution to the success of caring for my mom has made a huge difference for mom and my family. We look forward to her visits, knowing my mom is being cared for by someone who is both highly skilled and loving. She has set the bar for other caregivers and taught us ways to help make mom's last days full of joy and love.

My family would like to recognize Marletta for her outstanding care provided to our mom."

Belinda Spencer, Baue Hospice Caregiver Award Winner, February 2018

Caregiver Belinda"My family would like to nominate Belinda Spencer with Right at Home of St. Louis for the Baue Caregiver Award. Belinda is currently caring for my mom who has dementia and is under the care of Mercy Hospice.

The first day Belinda arrived to take care of mom I had to leave for a meeting. While I was gone, mom’s hospice nurse came for a visit. After the visit the nurse called me with an update on mom. The first words she said to me were, “you have a great caregiver. I don’t know where you got her. She’s amazing. She’s helpful and sweet to your mom.” Hearing that on the first day from the nurse left me feeling relieved.

Belinda knows what needs to be done. She took the lead in overseeing everything having to do with the daily care of my mom. She runs a tight ship. She makes sure mom’s been taken care of just like she would take care of her own mother. Belinda has the energy, capability and the drive to take action. She transfers, toilets and grooms mom. She monitors mom’s health and will assist the hospice nurse when necessary. She will provide a supply list to the nurse for items mom may need.

Belinda is a team player and will make sure chores are done. I don’t have to ask or remind her to do things. She will dust and sweep when necessary. She makes sure the bedding has been changed. She attends to the laundry with washing, folding and putting items away. Belinda will think ahead for when she has days off to make sure mom has what she needs such as ironed linen, clean clothes and medical supplies. This is a relief for me because then I don’t have to do it or monitor that it gets done.

Now that mom is on hospice she will sleep from 12-15 hours at night. The comfort of her bed has always been important to her. She loves her Pottery Barn bed linen. Before her dementia she would iron her pillow cases and every night when she climbed into bed she would always comment about her “soft comfortable bed and how much she enjoyed it.”

I asked Belinda if she would mind ironing mom’s pillow cases and just the top of the flat sheet. Belinda said sure she would do it. Before I knew it, Belinda ironed the whole flat sheet. I told her she just needed to iron the top of the sheet. But she told me if she was going to iron the sheet she was going to iron the whole thing. At least three times a week, Belinda irons and mom watches. After each piece Belinda irons she always asks my mom, “how does it look?” and mom will tell her. It’s funny to listen to their ironing conversations. Even though mom has dementia I know she feels the soft comfort of lying on ironed pillowcases and sheets. I am forever grateful to Belinda to be willing to do all this ironing for my mom’s comfort especially at this stage of mom’s life. I know this means the world to my mom and to me too!

Besides being task-oriented Belinda provides great companionship for my mom. She is enthusiastic and funny. She listens to my mom and at times I catch mom smiling at her. Sometimes mom will just grab Belinda’s hand and hold it. Belinda is patient and shows empathy towards my mom.

One thing they do together is reading the front page of the newspaper after breakfast. They talk about what they read and sometimes my mom signals to Belinda she wants an ink pen. Mom’s signaling could be tapping on the table or just putting her hand out. Belinda will give the pen to mom and mom will scribble all over the front of the paper. We have coloring books and they will color together. Sometimes my mom will empty the colors on the table and she and Belinda will put them back in the box. They make cards and do other crafts together.

Belinda makes my mom feel safe and secure. Having a reliable and trustworthy caregiver helps relieve the stress in my life. When Belinda is with my mom, I know I can focus on what I need to do. We are blessed to have her."


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