Bonding with patients

Weyatta Golafaly with adult patient Amy Lambert.

Weyatta Golafaly came to the United States in 2006 through the USA Green Card’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery, also known as the “green-card lottery.” She was living with her in-laws in East Orange, NJ, when she heard about Matheny from a fellow countrywoman, Jebbeh Gunone, who was already employed at Matheny.

In April 2006, Golafaly began working as a personal care assistant (PCA) in Matheny’s red zone, home to adult residents. Matheny’s students and patients need a great deal of assistance in many areas, including eating, transferring, bathing, dressing, oral hygiene and toileting. This help is provided by PCAs.

“I had never seen people with cerebral palsy before,” Golfaly recalls.  But she quickly adapted. She enjoys interacting with Matheny’s students and patients. “My days at Matheny are awesome,” she says. “It’s like family here. You really bond with the patients.”

Golafaly was selected to participate in a series of management courses at Rutgers School of Continuing Education. Those courses, she says, taught her her about team building. “In team building,” she explains, “every job is counted and respected because every department is highly needed in a company.”  In addition, Golafaly has  received special training as a mentor to new PCAs through a comprehensive program that was introduced in 2013; and she has been named one of two lead PCAs on the red zone. According to Kathleen D’Urso, red zone unit nurse manager, Golafaly, “has been a great asset to the red zone and has performed at an exemplary level. She is a professional, well-respected member of the team.”