By: Kesley Bruce
When I was paired with Mr. James as his Lena Health Assistant, it was immediately evident to me that he was facing a daunting cancer diagnosis while dealing with the loss of people dear to him. Even a strong-willed person would quiver under the stress of the responsibility of managing a care plan for a deadly condition. But Mr. James was a socially isolated senior already dealing with loss.
After being referred to Lena by his primary care doctor, I onboarded Mr. James through a phone call where I introduced Lena Health, introduced myself as his Health Assistant, and conversed with him about his life and his health. I find that these first conversations are so critical to understanding the individual and their life’s journey. It gets us in tandem with each other as partners on a mission together.
Over the course of 5 months, I took care of over 20 health tasks for Mr. James. My goal was to make it so simple and easy, that his chemotherapy was as effortless as simply showing up. But for Mr. James, support meant doing more than making sure his care plan was in motion. Mr. James needed help finding and scheduling transportation to and from his chemotherapy appointments. For him, it also meant finding a way to acquire a shower chair for his home so he could continue to care for himself independently.
Through Lena, he found more than a Concierge Health Assistant, Mr. James found a confidant. We would have nearly daily interactions through SMS-text and the weekly phone call. I’d be his outlet through conversation and a type of moral support through his emotional journey. Mr. James grew to trust me as his support system for his care and emotional needs.
About the Author
Kesley is a Health Advocate at Lena Health, with half a decade of experience in helping individuals navigate complex systems and challenges to improve their lives. Previously, as a case manager for child protective services, she helped parents facing the potential loss of their children find ways to find the stability and to meet the requirements to responsibly keep their family together. Over the years, she has since dedicated her time to helping patients navigate the complexities of their care plans and the health system so that they can focus on getting and staying healthy. She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Middle Georgia State University.