Shannon Richardson and Ian McCall

Bayshore Home Health

By Scott Leslie

Ian McCall knew something wasn’t quite right. Six years ago, the Foothill resident noticed he was having difficulty walking. His legs were beginning to deteriorate and his usual strength wasn’t there. After a battery of tests, Ian got the news he didn’t want to hear. He was developing multiple sclerosis (MS) – an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and disrupts nerve impulses to the body. The results can be debilitating and unpredictable.
A financial planner at RBC’s Fonthill location, Ian tried battling the disease on his own by using a wheelchair. But as the MS slowly progressed, Ian realized he had to take that next step.
“I approached my manager a few years ago about getting a personal attendant at work,” Ian says. “I learned that another one of my colleagues at RBC was receiving a similar service and management looked into it for me.” The result? In 2014, Bayshore Home Health officially entered Ian’s life. Bayshore Home Health is an innovative firm that provides a wide range of professional home care services to its clientele. That includes everything from home support, nursing and personal care to light housekeeping, cleaning and meal preparation. Bayshore’s team of personal support workers and registered nurses are available for short or long term contracts, ranging everywhere from one or three hour visits to 24/7 live-in care.
Due to the progression of his MS, Ian had limited mobility in his legs so he arranged to get care at work from Monday to Friday. Ian currently receives help from two or three different Bayshore care givers during the week depending on their various schedules.
“Initially, I only needed help in the winter,” Ian explains, “but there was a lot more deterioration. I just didn’t have the strength to put my wheelchair into my car on my own anymore.”
Shannon Richardson has been working with Ian for two years now and become one of his guardian angels. A personal support worker with Bayshore, Shannon has been in the personal home care sector for many years now, having completed her training as a health care aide and later upgrading her education to become a personal support worker.
Since joining the Bayshore team full-time two years ago, Shannon has helped dozens of people across Niagara like Ian to live safer, more independent lives.
“Every client is different,” she says. “They might need help with showers or medications or just need a little companionship.”
In Ian’s case, Shannon acts as an attendant whenever he needs help. On a typical work day, she or one of her co-workers will guide Ian in and out of the building using RBC’s wheelchair accessible ramp. She also helps Ian travel to occasional offsite meetings in St. Catharines, and gets Ian home again in the evenings.
During Ian’s work day, much of Shannon’s time is spent on site at RBC, checking in on Ian from time to time. “I make sure Ian’s safe,” Shannon says of her role. “I’m basically there to offer a sense of security in case something goes wrong.”
One of Shannon’s key responsibilities is helping Ian carry out a series of daily leg stretching exercises.
“It’s very important to exercise,” Ian explains, “because sometimes I can be in my wheelchair for 13 hours or more – and your legs can really stiffen up. Shannon helps to minimize the discomfort. She makes things more bearable for me.”
Established in 1966, Bayshore Home Health is a subsidiary of Bayshore HealthCare – one of Canada’s leading providers of home and community health care services. With over 100 locations across Canada, Bayshore has more than 12,000 employees who provide care to over 200,000 clients.
Here in the Niagara Region, Bayshore has taken on cases in every community over the years – from Fort Erie, Grimsby and West Lincoln to Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and St.Catharines to Wainfleet, Welland and Thorold. And the sense of reassurance they provide their clients can’t be overstated – particularly with someone like Ian.
Ian says he appreciates the care and professionalism he receives from the Bayshore Home Health team – and would recommend their services to others in a heartbeat. Over the years, he’s helped many influential clients manage their financial well-being. But having the Bayshore team help him manage his MS has made a world of difference.
“I really appreciate the consistency having them around,” he says. “With Bayshore, I’ve been able to maintain my type of work and still explore life’s opportunities.”