25000 Country Club Blvd. Suite 255, North Olmsted, OH 44070

Meaningful Presence

From L to R: Sarah Pratt, Cindy Pratt, Bob Speelman, Janet Bresnahan

Feburary 23, 2018

Every week of my STNA Journey, I think that there is no way someone I meet at a facility will blow me away like the previous week, and each week I’m wrong. It happened again this week. I met another group of caregivers that blew my mind with the quality and character that they bring to their residents.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to visit The Residence at Kensington Place, our 109-bed skilled nursing facility in Middletown, Ohio. I had the awesome privilege of working with Sarah Pratt, a 9-year STNA veteran. Not only did I get to learn from Sarah, but I got to work with her mother, too. Cindy Pratt, Sarah’s mom, was the nurse on the unit and you will probably never meet two more professional and compassionate caregivers in your life. Sarah told me, “My mom is my best friend and my rock!” It was clear that their synergy was more than just a family connection; they worked together perfectly to take care of their residents!

Going throughout the unit with Sarah, answering call lights, and tending to her residents was an absolute pure joy. She knew each and every one of her residents intimately. She took time to get everything exactly how they wanted it and you could sense the love and compassion between her and her residents. I was particularly impressed with how she communicated with her residents that had difficulty verbally communicating. She knew exactly what they wanted through their mumbles and facial expressions. And without exception she left them with a smile on their face.

I asked Sarah what she enjoys doing for fun and her face lit up and she said, “Fishing! Every chance I get.” She could tell I was surprised by her answer, and she went on to tell me that her Dad passed away back in 2011, at the age of 48, after a difficult battle with cancer. Sarah was devastated as you can imagine. He was an avid fisherman, and she loved spending time with him and fishing together. I asked Cindy if she enjoyed fishing too, she said, “No! I would go and lay out and tan.” We both had a good laugh.

Sarah then went on to tell me that later the same year that her father passed, her brother Kyle was so depressed after his father’s death that he took his life. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I just wanted to hug Sarah and tell her I’m sorry. Sarah told me that Kyle was such a loving brother, son, and friend and she misses him a lot. I asked Sarah permission to tell this story because I want our Atlas family to realize you never know what our fellow staff member have gone through. We have all experienced some dark days. Somehow, through it all, Sarah and Cindy have come through shining like stars. They are some of the most beautiful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. They have two of the biggest most compassionate hearts, and I believe I will be a better person by the way they have inspired me.

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
-Henri Nouwen

I left Kensington with some new friends that have added to my life immensely. My hope for our company is that we will take the time to learn each other’s stories, and to be there for each other through the difficult times, not with answers or word; simply with our presence.

In Loving Memory of Kyle Pratt

Bob Speelman, STNA

P.S.- I gave both Sarah and Cindy a hug before I left. If you know them or meet them, I'd encourage you to do the same.They are truly wonderful people.

Kensington Place Website

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