Judy is a dedicated practitioner who provides loving care and routinely works 10- to 12-hour days to care for “my residents,’’ as she puts it. Judy’s knowledge of geriatric nursing is matched only by her skill in supporting families and marshaling resources to meet the broad range of her patients’ needs. Judy embodies the diversity of roles that today’s nurses play as caregivers.
We have been privileged to have Judy nurse our mothers—sisters who both celebrated their one-hundredth birthday while in Judy’s care. We watched Judy help our mothers settle into assisted living and smooth the difficult transition from independence. Judy helped them to find their own comfort level in the day-to-day life of the residence while being their caregiver, friend, and confidant. As the end neared, when one of our mothers elected to do in-home hospice, Judy came by after her long workday to check on us, advise on care needs, and listen to our frustrations and fears. When the second sister was with hospice at the VNA facility, Judy managed her care, coordinated additional resource needs, and supported us and the palliative care team.
Judy laughed with us as our mothers joked about “where they saw themselves in six months’’ (the cemetery!) and allowed us to cry as we watched them slowly fade away from us. Even more important than meeting our mothers’ physical health needs, was Judy’s care for their mental and emotional health as they each struggled, at different times, with end-of-life issues and challenges. And for us daughters, Judy held our hands and gently guided us as we took that last walk with our dear mothers.
—Nominated by Irene Bocella, Lorraine Maffei, and Claire Guerriero