Home Instead® of Louisville, Colorado, was looking for an innovative Care Professional to honor as its award-winning employee for August. Fatou Doumbia, with an unlimited number of ideas accumulated during 25-plus years of professional caregiving and medical care, was an easy choice, Home Instead Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator Brenda Munro said.
“The Home Instead corporate office gave our franchise network the parameters for choosing a Care Pro for its monthly #StandingOvation feature: ‘He or she is someone who has bright ideas, is solution-focused and a forward thinker.’ That is Fatou,” Brenda said.
One example of Fatou’s out-of-the-box thinking was devising a simple way to entice her dementia client to shower. “Fatou put the towels in the dryer so the client would have warm towels after a shower. Shift notes indicate the client always showers when Fatou is there. Those warm towels, the client tells Fatou, make her life so much better. To think of warming a towel to get her to shower made Fatou the perfect award recipient,” said Brenda, who announced Fatou’s Care Pro of the Month honor on behalf of owner Michael Lammers’ award-winning Home Instead franchise that serves Boulder, Broomfield and northwest Adams Counties.
Brenda added: “One day after a shower, Fatou wrapped the client in hot towels, and the client refused to remove the hot towels to get dressed. Finally, the client allowed Fatou to dress her after she had rotated hot towels. Fatou works full time, four overnight shifts per week, all with the same client, who adores Fatou even though the client can never remember Fatou’s name.”
Sometimes Fatou’s compassionate ability to empathetically talk through a challenge helps her client and settles her anxiety. “My client recently awoke from a nap to use the bathroom and was extremely depressed. She wanted to request a prescription that would stop a chronic medical problem that is quite common among seniors,” Fatou said. The client said, “I am bothered by this problem. Everything is so hard that I just don’t want to continue doing it day after day.”
Fatou replied: “Well, if you go to the doctors, they’ll promote solutions, but they also know they will face the same problem when they reach your age. At that point, I had already given her a shower, and the ‘the hot-towel treatment’ was in progress. Then she said, ‘I am getting treated like a queen.’ I replied, ‘And without the worries of the queen. And, by the way, she too may be dealing with the same challenge you and many other seniors face.’ ”
That set off an empathetic exchange between Fatou and her client.
The client said, “The queen can afford the care she needs.”
Fatou replied: “The queen cannot afford me because I would not take care of her for any amount of money.”
The client said, “But people line up to watch her!”
Fatou replied, “Well, those who line up to watch the queen are a bunch of dummies.”
The client laughed hard and said, “OK, you cheered me up.”
Fatou’s highly decorated career humbly began as a family caregiver in her homeland of Mali in West Africa. “I raised every one of my brothers and sisters, even the ones older than I am,” said Fatou, who is tri-lingual, speaking English, French and Bambara. Bambara is not an official language in any country, but it is spoken as mother tongue in nine countries by a minor part of the population. With a share of around 46 percent, it is most widespread in Mali.
Fatou has never forgotten where she grew up, and true to her compassionate nature, she continues to try to help those in West Africa. She authored a plan of action called “An Innovative Approach to Building Empowered Women in Mali and Across Africa” and is the founder of Agile International, a 501(c)(3) based in Boulder, Colorado, that works to secure land, water and energy availability for rural Western Africa women farmers. Agile International also provides access to markets for authentically African-made products.
“We have successfully focused on land rights for women as a critical component of local sustainable development and self-determination. Our unique program and innovative approach attracts nationwide interns and academia,” said Fatou, one of the 2022 winners of the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award in Colorado for embracing the four pillars of community, advocacy, resources and education.
Fatou spoke at the Women’s Empowerment Principles Conference at the United Nations in March 2016. Since then, she has been featured at many other conferences and symposiums, including the University of Colorado Engineering for Developing Communities WASH Symposium. “We have been working with area universities – including the University of Colorado and Denver University – to implement our pilot project,” she said.
In America, Fatou also has made her mark. She helped create an assisted living community, as well as hiring, training and supervising Primary Care Providers in Boulder Colorado. Fatou has worked in many hospitals, nursing homes, home-health companies and assisted living communities. As her Home Instead clients know, her strength is her ability to connect with patients and anticipate their needs as a creative solution provider.
Fatou earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Regis University in 2000. After working for IBM for eight years, she journeyed into the medical and caregiving field. Fatou was hospice- and palliative-care certified as a CNA, and she also was a crisis prevention and intervention/behavioral health technician. She has experience in regular CNA psychiatry while working in acute care with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, and at psychiatric hospitals. She has worked with quadriplegic and bedridden patients.
Fatou loves being a part of the Care Pro team for the Front Range franchise, a member of a network comprised of Home Instead, Inc. and its parent company, Honor. With the world’s largest home-care network and the most advanced care platform, Honor and Home Instead are revolutionizing care for older adults, their families and Care Pros. Combined, the network has more than 100,000 Care Pros across 13 countries, meeting the growing needs of millions of older adults and their families worldwide.
“What I like most about my job as a Care Pro is that Home Instead listens to its employees and works intentionally to make them happy. That’s my experience,” Fatou said.
All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (720) 890-0184 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.