Patients and families faced with the uncertainty and challenges of navigating end-of-life often express how fortunate and grateful they are to have Assumptah “Summie” Mwai, CHPNA, walk this road with them. As a senior hospice aide and certified hospice and palliative nursing assistant at Care Dimensions in Massachusetts, Summie is devoted to making a difference and enriching the quality of life of her patients and their families.
“Summie came into our home and lives when we were lost, scared and didn’t know how to care for my mother,” said a patient’s daughter. “She lovingly took care of my mother for almost three years. She came five days a week and ultimately became a member of our family.”
Summie exudes a calm presence and takes the time to listen to those she is working with so she can expertly adjust her approach to best meet their needs physically and emotionally. Along with her team, Summie provides care for patients from various walks of life—all different ages, nationalities, genders, race as well as religious affiliations. Described by her colleagues as respectful, gentle and kind, Summie provides exceptional care to those she works with while honoring their individual wishes and preferences.
“My role is to first and foremost create a trusting relationship with my patients and their families,” said Summie. “I love my job and I do it with a passion. I would never trade it for anything else because I found my true calling.”
As part of her role, Summie serves as a preceptor for newly hired Care Dimensions hospice aides. She agreed to take on this leadership position with the stipulation that she would still take her shifts and serve on the front line, continuing to care for patients and their families. Humble by nature, she doesn’t see herself as a leader, but rather as a mentor, as she wants her colleagues to feel comfortable coming to her for support.
“Assumptah is a selfless and empathetic caregiver and coworker. She will always offer help to those she works with without expecting anything in return,” said a colleague. “Her goal is to help and promote peace and comfort to those she interacts with.”
When one of Summie’s patients lost her memory, and ability to walk and take care of herself, Summie went above and beyond to make sure this patient was well taken care of. Each day Summie would start the morning with music and singing, and then carefully transport her patient from the bed to the wheelchair, and then the shower. Summie helped dress her in beautiful outfits the patient hadn’t worn for many years, accompanied by jewelry and hair accessories.
“Although my wife couldn’t express herself fully in words, her beautiful smile and beaming blue eyes expressed how special she felt all dressed up and ready for the day,” said the patient’s husband. “Summie’s halo is especially bright. She is an angel and true hero.”