Caring Yara Lopes Borges has been praised for her compassion and thoughtfulness after she sat with an elderly resident and held her hand as she passed away.
Yara, studying Health & Social Care at the Sixth Form, was undertaking her work placement at Barchester Park View Care Home in Dagenham when she was made aware that one of the terminally ill residents was close to passing, but that none of her family could get there in time.
The former Ilford Ursuline School pupil volunteered to sit with the elderly lady, made her as comfortable as possible and held her hand until she sadly passed away.
Yara, 18, said: “I felt because the lady’s family couldn’t be there that someone should be with her when she passed and I didn’t mind doing that. Some people find it traumatic but I didn’t, I found it a peaceful experience. I could feel her presence in the room and then I realised that it wasn’t there anymore.
“I checked for her pulse but there wasn’t one and I realised she had passed with me sitting there holding her hand. It was the weirdest feeling but I felt the family would have been comforted to know that someone was there for her and she didn’t pass away alone.”
Yara has been working at the care home every Friday since September as part of her BTEC course, and says she really enjoys it. She said: “I help out with the meals, read stories to the elderly people, play games like chess with them and speak to them about their lives. There is some personal care involved too, such as helping them wash and dress.”
She added: “I find it rewarding and it makes me feel like I have done something good. You do get emotionally involved sometimes, it’s hard not to. I did have a few tears when the elderly lady passed away because it is sad to see.”
The Sixth Form’s Vocational Faculty Leader, Teresa Gladwin, said: “Yara showed a great example of care and practice with maturity and demonstrated perfectly the values of what she has been learning.”
Yara is hoping to go to either Birmingham or Middlesex University to study Midwifery when she leaves college next year.