Watching Thato Rammala, Nolitha Njokozela, Jacky Kamwanga and their colleagues taking care of their residents at the long-term care facility Prim Villa, located in the Johannesburg area of South Africa, is a humbling lesson in kindness, compassion and dedication to empowering movement even for the frailest residents.
“I am determined to be the first athlete in Mexico who uses prosthetics to do an ironman, and then I want to be the only one in the world to do an ultramarathon.”
However, Emmanuel’s first goal after the accident was much more modest than running races of 50-100 kilometers – or competing in an Ironman that includes 3.8 kilometers of swimming, a 180-kilometer bike ride and finally 42.2 kilometers of running.
He progressed step-by-step, from the initial wheelchair to a walker before it was time to put on the prosthetic for the first time. That day he raised his arms and said: “You can do it!” And now, every day when he wakes up, he raises his hands just like that first time.
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“Movement is important, so we try to encourage those who are not walking to move.”
“The movement is very important for them, so we make them comfortable and try to encourage those who are not walking to move, from the chair to the wheelchair, helping them to get out,” says Jacky Kamwanga, another member of the caregiving team at Prim Villa.
“Empowering movement to me is when I can help people that can’t help themselves. I encourage those who can’t walk, telling them ‘you can do this’, as we help them to get up,” says caregiver Nolitha Njokozela.
Having access to the right equipment, such as standing aids, ceiling lifts, slings, bathtubs, shower trolleys and -chairs enables the caregivers to handle the residents in a gentle way that is also safe for themselves.
“Equipment like Sara Steady makes work easier for us. I can help a resident get up without exhausting my own back. I just position it by the bed and then the resident can pull himself or herself up,” Nolitha explains.
When getting the question about why she became a nurse, Jacky smiles and gives the same answer as when her mother asked the same thing years ago.
“It has always been my dream to care about people, helping them.”
“The answer was easy already then. I love to help people. When I feel that we have done that together working as a team, it has been a great day,” Jacky says.