SOUTH OGDEN -- Carrie Reed, a nurse at Applegate HomeCare and Hospice, remembers when she strained her back so much she dislocated some of her ribs carrying her heavy bags into a home to care for a patient.
The injury made it painful for her to do her job.
But Gloria Goff, the company's therapeutic massage therapist, came to her rescue, treating her muscles and helping her become stronger.
"I have fewer back issues," Reed said. "It makes coming to work fun, and therefore you are more relaxed with the patient."
Applegate officials have a policy of finding ways to care for those who give care to the terminally ill in their program.
Although it's not covered by insurance, the company hired Goff two years ago to provide massages on a rotating basis to its nurses and once a month to a family member or in-home caregiver of each of its patients.
"What makes Applegate unique is they wanted me to work with the caregiver," Goff said.
"The caregiver is a very demanding role. Sometimes they just burn out. They get tired and frustrated."
But she said the once-a-month break and tender loving care often make all the difference.
"While hospice services are provided by Medicare to alleviate the patient's pain and discomfort, it does not provide 24-hour care in the home," said Debbie Robertson, a company spokeswoman. "That is left to the family members."
Applegate recognizes that this role is often a difficult one, she said.
"(Goff) provides massage for the caregivers of our patients, either in their homes or at Platinum Image Salon in South Ogden," Robertson said. "By allowing the caregiver to come to the salon, they are able to temporarily escape not only their duties as a caregiver but also the environment where they provide care 24/7."
And Reed said when the family members of her patients are happier, it makes her job all the more enjoyable.
"It makes my job pretty hard if they burn out," she said.
Speaking of herself and her patients' full-time caregivers, she said, "If you are stress-free, you are a lot more patient."
Both Goff and Reed said they respect the caregivers' service to those who have only a few months left to live and their families.
"You are one of the last people that care for someone," Reed said. "It's kind of an honor. You make a difference."
Goff said she's also seen caregivers feel honorable as they receive her services.
"I believe there is more to us than the physical," she said. "There's emotional, mental and spiritual. As a caregiver, all of these are put to the limit."