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Make Your Mark: Abbey Linville’s compassion, a momentary oasis during COVID-19

Abbey LinvilleThe mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In doing so, they “make their mark” upon those we serve. In our continuing series, “Make Your Mark,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values.
Abbey Linville, Physical Therapist, makes her mark by practicing the PHS value of Christian Ministry. More than restoring physical wellness, Abbey strives to reflect the love of God.
Her strong, compassionate faith stands out to leaders at Interlude Restorative Suites in Fridley, Minnesota. Since April, Interlude – Fridley has been providing care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Kirsten Skjolsvik, Rehab Supervisor, said that Abbey’s compassion is like “a bright light that guides and motivates guests … through a challenging time in their lives.” With her skillful knowledge of physical therapy, Abbey encourages them to “work hard to reach their full potential.”
Nate Dahle, Clinical Administrator, said, “Abbey is an extremely caring, thoughtful and responsible person (even beyond her role as a therapist). She is willing to step in wherever needed to support our guests at Interlude.”
Showing up day after day to do whatever it takes is not easy. Abbey and her coworkers at Interlude – Fridley go through rigorous processes to ensure safety. From initial screening to donning PPE — including N95 masks — to showering and changing into clean clothes before going home, staff members do everything they can to mitigate risks.
COVID dab“These brave, compassionate individuals wear their gear up to 4 hours at a time,” explains Deanna Hughes, Rehab Manager. “Some of the Nursing Assistants are wet from sweating so much and drink Pedialyte on their breaks. They are truly living out our mission and values with such positivity.”
Kirsten sees the love of God expressed through Abbey’s gift of listening. “She gets to know her guests on a personal basis, meets them where they are at and involves them in establishing their goals and expectations to make their therapy successful and meaningful.”
Deanna shared an example, saying, “It brought tears to my eyes.” Deanna explains, “I hear stories all day long as I am one to keep my door wide open. There have been stories of frustration, fatigue, anxiousness, sadness, despair and shock but also ones that fill my heart with love and warmth. Today I received the following email from Abbey:”
Today I went in to see a guest today who I hadn’t met yet. I learned from staff that she has been refusing therapy consistently and is being discharged tomorrow. She has severe dementia.
She refused therapy and assistance from nursing staff again. But I noticed as she was lying in bed that she was repeating the same thing over and over while she was agitated, saying, “10 times 10...until we meet again.” This got my wheels spinning, as I wanted to understand what that might be to try and connect with her. It finally occurred to me these were lyrics from a gospel song titled ‘May the Good Lord bless and keep you.’ I found it on YouTube and it was the most timeless and heartwarming version.

She immediately started singing every word to the song and sat up with me for a bit at one point. You know me, I’m a sap... it definitely got the waterworks going as I saw her relax a little. She still didn’t really participate in physical therapy her last day, but it sure meant a lot to see the healing power of music in calming her mood and reducing her agitation. There is my WHY for the day. 😊 
Bible verse on lockerDuring this incredibly stretching time, Abbey says her faith has grown. She credits her relationships with colleagues at Interlude – Fridley, saying, “I have learned the power of daily prayer together: it provides encouragement and comfort as we acknowledge each other's joys and concerns, and for those we serve.” She adds, “The Christian culture of PHS has helped me to find a stronger meaning and purpose in my work. I view my role through our mission of honoring God by enriching the lives of older adults.” 
We at PHS are humbled by small, but significant acts of compassion as demonstrated by Abbey and all PHS employees who make their mark and reflect the love of God.
Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at

More reading:
Kind Regards: Caring well for Mom

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