Faces of Caregiving

Sue Hartwich with Companions for Living

Toolbox of Care


Sue Hartwich has a personal mission to deliver the best care possible to each of her clients. To do this, she has developed a toolbox of client-specific care activities, works closely with other team members, and builds on more than 40 years of experience as a caregiver.


Sue goes beyond typical care routines to develop unique engagement activities that are designed for each client. Using language-based and picture-based activities from the toolbox that she created, Sue ensures that each person enjoys these care activities, benefits from them, and feels a sense of purpose. Sue also trains other caregivers to use her toolbox, giving them specific directions about how to engage with a client, checking their understanding, and incorporating their feedback. With this extra effort, Sue’s clients receive care specialized for their individual needs and preferences.

Sue builds these care strategies based on her experience as a caregiver and advanced care training from her employer. She thoroughly impressed the experts that conduct this training, who said “when we work to train staff, we hope to transform care, but rarely do we see people embrace what we teach as fully as Sue did. She immediately related what I was teaching to what her client would need or be able to do…Sue is the kind of staff member who makes a great preceptor for others and who enjoys bringing out the best in her clients.”

With this skill and focus, Sue is an integral member of the client's overall care team. She modifies her own schedule to help her teammates or accommodate a client’s needs, arriving early or staying late to coordinate with other caregivers and her office. When she observes a change in a client, she takes action to alert family members and other staff and then coordinate medical appointments. For example, when Sue noticed that one of her clients was experiencing weakness, she informed the office and the client’s son, before she arranged a doctor’s visit and additional physical therapy to restore the client’s strength.

This close attention makes a difference to families, who praise Sue for her consistent, expert care. One client’s family member says, “Sue has provided invaluable support for all of our family! She has, through heart, mind, and skill, helped my mother live life as she can, how best she can, and in a way that facilitates the highest quality of life possible…She knows my mother, anticipates her needs, and takes unequivocal initiative to do anything for her – efforts that have always proved to be invaluable.”