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“Finding my calling”

My name is Helene and I am very proud to say I am a Personal Support Worker (PSW). It’s my second career and my first “calling,” and I didn’t embark on this new path until after I had turned (insert cough) 50.

In 2013 my mother-in-law was residing in a long-term care home. I was extremely impressed with the care she received from the attending PSW, whose compassion, empathy and genuine concern for my mother-in-law’s health and comfort was beyond beautiful. It was inspiring, so much so that after my mother-in-law passed away, I enrolled in classes and became a PSW. I had found my calling, and I have been rewarded and very much fulfilled ever since.

Upon graduation I began working in a hospice providing end-of-life care. This was followed by a couple of years working in the community, after which I became one of the very first PSWs hired to work at the newly constructed Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth. I am proud to say I very much appreciate the opportunity to help care for our residents and their families, making the end-of-life process as comfortable and as easy as possible for everyone involved. Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth provides a beautiful, “home-like” setting for our residents and is full of dedicated care teams, volunteers and (I have to say) really good soup.

The arrival of COVID-19 presented unique challenges for the care teams, as well as for the families of our residents. I do try to stay positive, and although it is sometimes not easy in the current situation, I do my best and try to infect my coworkers with a hopeful optimism. Thankfully, we are now almost at the end of it.

As I write this, I am happy to report that I have just made an appointment to get vaccinated. The last year has been a learning experience, but I’m looking forward to getting back to normal.

Helene Byrnes, PSW is part of a care team comprised of an RN, RPN (Registered Practical Nurse), and PSW. Rotary Hospice operates 24/7 with teams working 12-hour rotating shifts to ensure around the clock care for residents and their loved ones.

For information on joining the clinical care team, please contact Kate Wiens, Director of Residential Care, at kate@rotaryhospice.ca