Star carer watches over residents

Rita, an older woman with short black hair, sits and chats with one of the residents.

Star carer watches over residents

Rita Fahy is no stranger to grief after losing two young sons and more recently her father to cancer.

And it was people’s behaviour around her after these events that prompted her into her incredibly successful career as a palliative carer with Uniting.

“Some people crossed over the road after I lost my month old son because they simply didn’t know what to say to me,” explains Assistant in Nursing Rita.

“But the truth is they didn’t need to say anything. They just had to be there. A cuddle can say so much more than words.”

Rita, who has a history in retail, retrained six years ago because she wanted to put her heart into her passion – truly caring for people through tough times.

“I often make my residents giggle. I tell them once they’ve washed their faces with a washer at night that they’ve washed off all their wrinkles. Sometimes I’ll pretend we’re all going to have a giant pillow fight like we’re teenagers,” says Rita, 61, who works at Uniting Narla Village in Belmont North.

“One time a family member was sitting by her mother’s bedside. She was sad that her mother hadn’t woken all day to see her. I started singing Louis Armstrong’s song ‘Hello Dolly’, which I knew the resident loved, and sure enough she gained consciousness and started singing. We then moved on to ‘We’ll Meet Again.’ It was truly magical.”

Rita is so highly thought of at Uniting Narla Village that she’s even been asked to give a eulogy at one of the resident’s funerals.

“I got a phone call the day after my resident died. It was his daughter and she said ‘Dad loved you. You were so good to him and us, will you give a eulogy?’ I told her it would be an honour.”

On another occasion, Rita noticed the breathing of one of her residents had become laboured, and asked her manager if she could take an early break, which she spent by the lady’s bedside, holding her hand.

“I could tell she was scared and I knew there wasn’t enough time to call her family and get them to come. Instead I held her hand, prayed and sang to her until she passed. Her family thanked me for being with her and making her at ease when the time came. I’m so proud to have done it for her.”

Get in touch

Uniting provides a range of aged care services across NSW and the ACT including residential aged care, home and community aged care and retirement living. To find out more about the retirement and aged care options that Uniting can offer call us on 1 800 864 846 or email us.

This story originally appeared in the Newcastle Herald.

  • Kim Langford
    Posted at 12:26h, 17 November Reply

    I enjoyed reading this as a colleague and Pastoral Practitioner at Narla. Good to know that our hearts take us to where we need to be in particular circumstances.

    • Paul Hemsworth
      Posted at 14:37h, 17 November Reply

      Thanks Kim,
      Doing things ‘with heart’ is what we’re all about.
      The Uniting team

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