Visiting Angels caregiver uses training to save Las Vegas man

All of Visiting Angels’ caregivers are trained in CPR, fall prevention, more

HENDERSON, Nev.  – Every morning, Tony May arrives at the Belew home to help Tony Belew get ready for the day. As a caregiver with Visiting Angels, May assists the 51-year-old with everything from a shower to breakfast.

Because Belew is approximately 6 feet tall and 300 pounds, it’s physically impossible for Linda Belew to help her husband with these tasks. Last year, while taking a shower, Belew suffered a stroke and lost consciousness. Although Belew outweighs May by 100 pounds, he was able to gently lower Belew to the floor and begin CPR while Linda Belew called paramedics.

A professional caregiver for five years, this was the first time May had to use his training to save a life.

“I was always afraid if something happened I’d be scared, but my instincts kicked in and I knew what to do,” May said. “I’m really happy what I learned saved his life.”

Linda Belew, shaken and distraught, was amazed May was able to take such gentle care of her husband during a delicate, and slippery, situation.

“That was a super human feat,” she said. “The reason I thought it was so heroic is my husband is a big man. Tony was so calm under pressure. I was pretty much panicking,” she added. “I shudder to think what would’ve happened if he went into that type of seizure and Tony wasn’t here. We were very appreciative of his skills that day.”

Michael DiAsio, co-owner of Visiting Angels in Henderson and Summerlin, said feats like this aren’t common but illustrates the level of skill caregivers possess.

Along with CPR, caregivers undergo additional training when they join the Visiting Angels team, no matter what their medical background may be. Some of the topics covered during the two-day training are household safety, body mechanics and transfer techniques, elder abuse signs, nutrition and hydration, Alzheimer’s disease communication, and fall prevention. Caregivers also learn how to care for themselves as to prevent injury on the job.

“There have been other incidents where the training caregivers received saved lives. They are there to help care for people who need assistance caring for themselves or, like in Mrs. Belew’s case, where family members can’t either,” DiAsio said. “Caregivers are there to make sure their clients are safe and have their activities of daily living met. It allows them to stay at home instead of going to a specialty care facility, as Visiting Angels’ care is typically more affordable and ‘one-on-one.’”

After a stroke in May 2008, Tony Belew spent 13 months in specialty care centers and a nursing home before he was able to come home in April 2009. Tony May started assisting the family the day after Tony Belew’s 49th birthday. Since then, May has become almost like an extended member of the Belew family.

“His father calls me their other son,” May said. “I’m very close to the family as well.”

There was a time when Linda Belew thought she wouldn’t be able to bring her husband home. Now, with the help of Visiting Angels, she has the help the family needs to stay together.

“I love Visiting Angels. They are so wonderful. We wanted him home, but we weren’t able to afford it at the beginning,” Linda Belew said. “I would never be able to care for my husband if it wasn’t for them.”

Visiting Angels is senior home care with more than 400 franchises across the United States. With two franchises in Southern Nevada, the Green Valley Parkway office – located at1701 N. Green Valley Pkwy.– is owned by the DiAsios and is the largest in Southern Nevada. It serves Henderson, the south, southwest, west and northwest regions ofLas Vegas. Due to an increase in need, the DiAsios have opened a satellite office in Summerlin off Lake Mead Boulevard and Rampart Road. Between its Henderson and Summerlin locations, Visiting Angels now employs more than 225 caregivers like Tony May who assist roughly 400 clients every day.

For more information on Visiting Angels or to apply for a position as a caregiver for the company, visit www.visitingangels.com or call 800-365-4189.

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