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Nomination Letters – Partners HealthCare at Home

Pat Defina

I am fortunate to have had Pat care for me at home several times in the past, including five years ago following a successful heart transplant. Pat recently cared for me following my discharge from the hospital with surgical complications. Arriving home from the hospital with the responsibility of administering intravenous antibiotics four times a day for six-to-eight weeks was initially overwhelming for my wife and me. In addition, we had an abdominal drain to be irrigated several times a day. There was no greater joy than seeing Pat on our doorstep the day after I arrived home. Pat patiently and repeatedly walked us through the many steps of the care that needed to be provided. Her clinical assessment skills are excellent, and several times she was in contact with the hospital surgical team to inform them of needed changes in my treatment or to recommend intervention that would assist in my recovery. She is always a strong patient advocate and persistent in ensuring that her patients needs are met.

In addition to Pat’s clinical expertise, there no words that are adequate to describe the compassion, care, and understanding she has given to my wife and me on a daily basis. Many days, we were overwhelmed and discouraged by the long road to recovery.

Pat never left us without offering some encouragement, humor, or hope. It has been an honor and a privilege to be cared for by a nurse as clinically skilled and as caring as Pat.

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—Nominated by James J. Hardiman

Deb Dickey

We are in our late 70s, having moved here from NJ. My husband is in a wheelchair. He recently had surgery that required a large skin graft. Deb was our visiting nurse who came to change his dressing. No matter when I called her (in a panic), she always managed to come even if it wasn’t on her schedule. Her calm reassuring manner always put us at ease. Her thoughtfulness in bringing little treats for my husband made him feel special.

—Nominated by Michael and Marie Flood

Lynn May

I had a bad car accident on September 24, 2013, and I needed a visiting nurse. I was so lucky to have Lynn, who treated me from October of 2013 to January of 2014. She was always on time and so caring.

After the first few weeks home, my toe got infected and I had a fever of 100 degrees. Right away Lynn called Mass General in Danvers, and the doctor who I saw there said she’d done the right thing to call and bring me in so quickly. He operated on it the next day and said the toe was so bad they might have to amputate it, but he didn’t end up amputating it. I stayed for five days in the Salem Hospital and when I was released, I went home with the portable section drain attached to toe and leg.

Lynn came every other day to change the dressing and apply the cream, and she made a foam bridge on the toe and foot. It had to be sealed perfectly with tape so it wouldn’t leak. The portable section drain was attached to my left foot for three weeks. Each time she changed it, it was painful but with her expert technique it wasn’t so bad. I finally got better thanks to my great nurse, Lynn May.

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—Nominated by Loretta Loomos

Michelle Shattuck

I was at the lowest point in my life, both physically and emotionally, fresh off a post op colostomy with a wound vac. I had had an accident with my colostomy bag. Michelle arrived, assessed the situation, and in a firm voice instructed me to “Get out of bed.’’ My reply was “No, I just want to die.’’ In that same firm but very kind voice, she said, “S–t happens to all of us. I will help you.’’ I was mesmerized by her and allowed her to take care of me. Michelle instructed my sisters to feed me and keep me up.

She brought me back to life that day. So began my relationship with the kindest, most compassionate and knowledgeable nurse I have ever known in 31 years of hospitalizations. Michelle’s visits continued for almost two years. Those daily visits were like a ray of sunshine. Michelle was adept in wound care, but I always felt that she quickly knew the total me, reaching out to other team members when called for. Michelle would seek information from other professionals to obtain answers to the many problems that arose with my abdominal wound and renal failure. She always included my husband in my care, sharing the information that she obtained and teaching him to care for my wound.

With patience and kindness, Michelle taught me to manage my life with a wound vac and, more importantly, to go on living. She helped me regain my health and my spirit. I do not have enough words to express my extreme gratitude to Michelle. She will remain forever in my heart.

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—Nominated by Janice Delorio

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