Meet Ibrahim: Cultivating relationships, independence, and patience at work

September 2, 2022
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Being a caregiver requires patience, but can be extremely gratifying at the same time.

Ibrahim, recently recognized as an employee of the month at Azalea Homecare, knows this better than most. A CNA for nearly twelve years, Ibrahim joined the Azalea Home Care team earlier this year. 

Before coming to the United States from the UK in 2003, Ibrahim first began caregiving when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. His wife noticed that he was so well-suited for it thought he should be certfied and continue doing this professionally. However, before he became a caregiver full-time, he owned a restaurant until a particularly tough year when he was forced to shut his doors and start something new.

Ibrahim shared that the bonds he makes with people is something that helps get him through difficult times like this, and building relationships is especially important for caregiving. Currently, he works with a young man with cerebral palsy, and has worked with several clients that have ALS. 

We sat down with Ibrahim to learn a little bit more about how he builds lasting relationships and provides exceptional care to his clients—especially those with pervasive disabilities that may restrict mobility and independence. 

Be more than a caregiver, be a friend.

“It is important to show people with pervasive diseases, like cerebal palsy or ALS, that you’re caring for them and that you’re there not only as a professional CNA, but as a friend. I try to go way beyond the job description, to make them feel comfortable with me and build a good relationship. This creates a more relaxed and trusting environment and a lasting bond.

See beyond your client’s frustrations. 

“You will come across all kinds of people with all kinds of challenges,” shares Ibrahim. “Even the most difficult or uncooperative clients seem to come around over time as you build trust through dedication. They may even come to see you as part of their family.”

Care for the “whole person” and support even the tiniest strides toward independence.

When working with clients with pervasive diseases like ALS or cerebral palsy, it is important to understand that some of the most diffucult aspects of living with the disease can be the lack or loss of independence. “Cerebral palsy, for example, is an extremely challenging disease—often confining clients to a bed or wheelchair,” explains Ibrahim. “These clients often have had to endure several surgeries. It also is progressive and requires watchful care to detect issues as they arise.” 

At the same time, finding small wins and was to for the client can go along way to give them a boost. “I have one patient that didn’t realize he could, but with encouragement, he realized he can feed himself. This gives him a sense of independence, and also helped him to realize there are other things he can on his own that he thought weren’t possible.”

That sort of independence can go a long way toward improving the mood, happiness, and comfort of clients— as can small changes to environment. “Stretching limbs is important, but so is getting outside and getting some fresh air, or experiencing something different from the day before.”

To bring passion to your work, nourish your own passions. 

Ibrahim has built a sense of family with many of his clients, and also enjoys spending time on his own. Ibrahim has a wife and three daughters, his eldest daughter is also in a care-oriented profession, working as a nurse. Ibrahim also enjoys spending time in the sunshine, and loves to tend to his vegetable garden. “Gardening helps me to take things off of my mind and reduce stress. Tending to a garden is also much like caregiving. It requires patience, time, and a watchful eye, but in the end, it can be extremely rewarding when something blooms.”

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