Darin Prescott of the Lower Sioux Community knows what it means to care for others.
After all, he has spent his career in the medical field doing that very thing. Initially in nursing and now as the CEO of the Lower Sioux Health Care Center, Prescott has dedicated his career to ensuring quality care for the people he has served.
His perspective on caregiving took on an entirely new dimension in more recent years, as he was involved in helping with his mom, Cheryl Prescott. It is for this role on top of his commitment in the medical field that Prescott is being recognized as the 2018 Redwood County Relay For Life Caregiver of the Year.
“Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 90s and it came back in 2003,” said Prescott, adding the cancer returned again in 2015 and had metastasized into her bones.
With recovery unlikely, Prescott joined with the rest of his family in helping make life as comfortable as possible for his mother.
“As time went on we all took on more and more of the role of her caregiver,” said Prescott. “Along our journey as a family there were a lot of caregivers. There were so many people along the way who contributed to her care.”
Whether it was doing the simple things like housekeeping or taking her to her cancer treatments, Prescott said there was such a team approach to the care his mom received.
As a career caregiver, Prescott brought plenty of experience and knowledge to the table, adding he felt his most important role was to serve as a patient advocate for his mom.
“It was so important for me to help my mom maintain her ability to make good decisions along the way,” said Prescott, adding he never wanted to give the impression he was making the decisions for her.
That helped his mom to retain her dignity and gave her the sense of empowerment as she continued along her cancer journey.
Prescott said he, his brother and the rest of the family spent lots of time taking her to appointments, adding while he may be the one being recognized there were so many who played a role in her care.
In his career, Prescott said he looks at cancer differently, as he talks about the importance of public health prevention efforts.
Serving in more of a navigator role with his mom has provided another level of understanding that Prescott said he can now utilize as he continues in his professional role.
Prescott’s mom passed away in July 2017, and Prescott continues to honor her through the level of care he offers to those who visit the Lower Sioux Health Care Center.
Relay For Life is a program Prescott said his family has supported over the years, adding he feels very honored to be recognized by those selected him.
“This is a wonderful award,” said Prescott, adding it means more to him because of the fact that he knows many of the people who are involved with Relay For Life on a personal and professional level.
When it comes to caring for a love one, Prescott said he would advise others to find out what their wishes are.
“Everyone looks at recovery as the primary goal,” he said.
He added along the way it is so important to understand what your loved one is experiencing.
“Keep your loved one in the center of the decision making,” he said.
There are many resources in the area that can help, said Prescott, adding at times one of the most valuable are the individuals who have already been on the journey.
Prescott said there were plenty of times when he was sitting in a hospital waiting room that he was able to have discussions with and get input from other caregivers that became very valuable for him.
Caregiving is an important role, said Prescott, and he is glad to know those who are taking on what is often a thankless job are being recognized.