When a Geriatric Nurse Becomes Her Parents’ Caregiver:  A Q&A with Hildy Sheinbaum, RN

When a Geriatric Nurse Becomes Her Parents’ Caregiver: A Q&A with Hildy Sheinbaum, RN

At some point, many adult children find themselves caring for their parents just as their parents once cared for them. While this new role can be rewarding—a chance to build even stronger bonds—it can also very challenging.

Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Hildy Sheinbaum, RN, a geriatric nurse care manager, about the time when her professional and personal life merged. Hildy’s aging parents, Gerry and Shirley Ruckhaus, both suffered illnesses that required short-term rehabilitation. As their caregiver, she needed to act quickly to support her parents. As a geriatric nurse with knowledge of all the options in the tri-state area, Hildy chose The Nathaniel Witherell.

Q: Why did you choose The Witherell for your parents’ short-term rehab?

As a nurse care manager who has referred my clients to The Nathaniel Witherell for many years, I always observed the utmost professionalism among the staff, the cleanliness of the facility, and was impressed overall with the environment. Then, I got to see the Witherell from the perspective of a family member because for six weeks, beginning in September, 2019, both of my parents were hospitalized, at the very same time, with major health issues. Following that hospitalization, both were in need of rehabilitation. I knew the Witherell would be the right choice.

Q: What services did your parents require at The Witherell?

Initially, it was just my stepfather who fell ill. He needed intensive IV therapy to recover from sepsis. He also had complications, like post-hospitalization psychosis, and the staff were wonderful with him. But, then my mother broke her leg at home and required progressive therapy. She ended up needing short-term rehabilitation at the Witherell, on three separate occasions, for injuries due to falls. Each time the care she received was stellar.

Q: What were your impressions of the short-term rehab program as both a caregiver and a geriatric nurse?

Each and every staff member treated my parents with skill, kindness, dignity, and compassion.  The physical therapy and occupational therapy staff could not have been any more skilled or motivating.  We also worked with an amazing physiatrist who was so helpful, especially in supporting my mother’s needs. And yes, it was one of the most difficult times of my life, but the Witherell staff helped my parents and me and my siblings to get through.

Q: Are your parents Greenwich residents?

No, they both lived in New York State, and I live Westport. They were hospitalized at White Plains Hospital. My mother even had spinal surgery in New York City, and after six weeks of therapy at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, but we brought her back to the Witherell for continued rehabilitation.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

As an emotional and anxious daughter, and with a skillful eye as a geriatric nurse who has ‘seen it all,’ I thank the Witherell’s staff from the bottom of my heart for the stellar care they deliver.  My parents are both home now, doing quite well, thanks to the groundwork laid by the Witherell.  I remain grateful to all of those involved in my parents’ care.

For more information on skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, or Memory Care at the Witherell, call George Cossifos, director of admissions at (203) 618-4232.


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