Margarete Clausnitzer has always lived life with love in her heart for everyone she meets. “My mother gives love and as soon as somebody does something for her, she thanks them from the bottom of her heart,” says her daughter, Rose Robertson. “She says, ‘it’s all because of love.’ ”
Rose says it was love that healed her mother after she suffered a fractured hip in early August, which led to surgery in hospital where an acquired wound became dangerous through its painful infection. “Love, encouragement, hope and prayer” were all part of her mother’s path to healing, Rose says, along with the dedication and combined efforts of the team at The Village of Tansley Woods Long-Term Care Home in Burlington, where Margarete lives.
When she returned to Tansley Woods after a few weeks in hospital, Margarete was a shadow of herself. She hadn’t eaten a solid meal and the wound was serious. Rose honestly believed her mother was palliative and finding hope beyond the pain was difficult; she didn’t want to live anymore, it seemed, but she continued to hold love in her heart for those around her. Twice a day, Rose would bring in her mother’s favourite soup – Campbell’s Tomato, thickened with heavy cream – and she would also bring encouragement from the many people praying for recovery.
The team consulted regularly with specialists, brought in a special mattress designed to help with wound care, and they never gave up, offering the same love to Margarete she always offered those around her.
“Everybody pulled together and it felt like my mother was the No. 1 patient there,” Rose says, noting that her sister-in-law Donna was also a key part of the team of caregivers. It truly does take a Village to care, and Rose saw her mother transform because of The Village she calls home.
Nurse Practitioner Gema Ruiz has been part of the Village team since 2017 and she says a collaborative approach to the care and support of residents is vitally important. The progress Margarete has made over the past months is a prime example.
“Here at Tansley Woods, we’re very fortunate,” Gema says. “We’re very close and we collaborate and communicate effectively, and I think that’s the key.”
Wound care can be quite complex, and the team regularly consulted with specialists from Joseph Brant hospital in order to offer the best quality of care for Margarete. The fact that Gema is there full-time and the assistant director of care, Chris Micheletti, also specializes in wound care meant there were always expert eyes on any measure of progress. Between them, director of care Andrea McTaggart, the PSWs on the neighbourhood, the dietary team and Margarete’s loving family, improvements were steady and hope for recovery grew ever stronger.
Gema says she always learns from the residents she serves and, when she looks at Margarete’s experience, she is reminded of how important a true team approach is. “Not only one person can provide the best quality of care,” she says. “It’s a group of people that are all healthcare professionals that have a different expertise, so we bring that all together and we come up with a plan of care.”
From Rose’s perspective, when this is done with love, great challenges can be overcome; she’s seen it in her mother’s care and her gratitude for the team is clear as she speaks of Tansley Woods.