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Vanita Bowick Nembhard, the owner of Love and Kindness Disabled and Elderly Care, has been assisting in the care-taking of others since she was very young.
As a child, Nembhard would accompany her older sister throughout the neighborhood in which they grew up, making house calls on elderly neighbors during the day to make sure they were taken care of and assist in household chores.
“I started out as a kid,” said Nembhard. “It became something that I started when I was around 12 years old – just being interested in the elderly and listening to them tell [their] history. I used to love just listening to them talk about what they experienced and I learned a lot from them.”
From a young age, Nembhard had wanted to go into a legal profession as an attorney, but the years spent helping care for the elderly influenced her, and at age 18, Nembhard enrolled at Lively Vocational Tech School in order to receive her CNA.
After graduating, Nembhard (who would also receive her LPN and later a Bachelor's in Social Work from Thomas University) would continue working in the medical field while caring for the elderly, first at an assisted living center, then a nursing home.
Nembhard learned how to provide care and comfort to patients while employed at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's Outpatient Surgery Center, and continued her profession while working in a home-health field alongside hospice.
But for Nembhard, who had found her interest in caring for the elderly and disabled while visiting homes, she yearned to provide a service where her clients could stay in the comfort of their home while receiving the services they needed to continue to live full, happy lives.
So, three years ago, Love and Kindness Disabled and Elderly Care was created.
As a personal care provider, Love and Kindness values the individuals who make up their client base.
Nembhard strives to make sure that every client feels at home in their surroundings and with the care provider that has been assigned to them.
“In my experience in working in hospital settings and nursing home settings, it wasn't always a great experience...you have so many people you have to care for, it's just impossible to give everybody enough care,” said Nembhard, adding that she witnessed breakdowns in the quality of care provided to patients, or she saw caregivers become worn out from trying to stretch themselves over multiple patients.
The services offered by Love and Kindness are home-based and include one-on-one interaction between the client and the assigned caregiver from Nembhard's staff.
Personal care can vary, depending greatly on the individual's needs and requests.
For some of Nembhard's clients, personal care may be running errands, housekeeping, offering transportation to appointments, grocery shopping or providing companionship for the home-bound.
For other clients, a more personal touch might be required through overnight care, grooming aid, or bathing and bathroom assistance.
In whatever her caregivers provide, Nembhard expects the highest level of professionalism and courtesy, and Nembhard regularly involves the family of her clients to ensure that all expectations are being met.
“We're very family-oriented. We like to have insight from the families,” said Nembhard. “The families really like that. They like to see that we are actually concerned about the individual getting better or trying to promote wellness for that individual.”
In addition to the at-home care that is provided, the caregivers at Love and Kindness will attempt to take their clients out into the community at least once a week for planned outings, events and community functions.
“We want them to be active in the community and not always be so home-based,” said Nembhard.
When a client is assigned a caregiver, Nembhard ensures that the personalities of both parties are well matched for perfect interaction and a perfect level of care and communication.
“If I have a person that is more laid back, I will put them with someone who can't go outside their house,” said Nembhard. “If I have someone who is bubbly, I'll match them up with a client who likes to be on the go.”
All staff caregivers are trained for two weeks through a course that includes med-certification, documentation training, care techniques, HIPPA laws, zero tolerance training and they are instructed on how to interact with people with various needs and impairments.
After their initial training, new caregivers are paired with an in-home trainer who assists them through the process before allowing them to take lead alone.
Even after finishing their training, the caregivers are monitored closely by Nembhard through regular home-visits with the caregiver, the client and the client's family.
“I've always been the type of person who likes to make a difference,” said Nembhard. “I got into this to make a difference.”
Love and Kindness Elderly and Disabled Care is licensed through 18 counties in North and West Florida.
To learn more about the care and companionship offered, visit them online at their Facebook page or website at vanita62735.wixsite.com/mysite.
Got questions? Contact Vanita Bowick Nembhard at (850) 997-2457 Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. And 5 p.m.