In the News

In the News

May 6, 2018

Salute to Nurses
Boston Globe

Erin Barker, Care Dimensions 

Our CEO shared this letter from a patient’s family:On behalf of the entire family I would like to compliment your agency on the employment of your hospice RN, Erin. We recently had the honor and pleasure of meeting Erin in a situation which you know only too well can be anything but pleasurable.

“It took Erin only 10 minutes after having met everyone to realize, as we all know and also accept, that home care with hospice is not for everyone. The stress and tension that Erin was welcomed into would have been intolerable for a less experienced RN. Yet her gentle, insightful and patient manner brought down the level of anxiety, quieting the scene with her understanding. She immediately recognized physical needs that had to be confronted first. As she quietly assessed faulty equipment and the whole situation she did not hesitate to suggest that Junior’s care needs were beyond a home situation. She suggested the option of the Kaplan Home, a thought that Junior did not readily accept. Quiet conversation with agreeable family members, including the philosophy of miracles that had happened in the past, gave Junior hope, and he agreed to a move.

“I, too, am a RN, and having been involved in a hospice program in the 1980s and ’90s, I cannot applaud Erin’s behavior, demeanor, and total presence to excess. She has the personality, training, and nursing practice that are necessary for an ideal hospice nurse. You can be very proud of having Erin in your employ.” —Nominated by Robert Hagopian

Katheryne Swenbeck, Care Dimensions

I have worked as a hospice aide for more than 20 years and I have worked with a lot of nurses. Katie’s compassion, clinical skill, trustworthiness, and dedication make her stand out as one of the best.

First, she operates like a true professional, thorough and regimented in her tasks without losing a compassionate touch. I recently worked with her on a complex case involving a large bed-bound male with multiple peripherally inserted central catheter (picc) lines. The family was so impressed with her expertise that they asked if she was in the military. She never was, but they affectionately started calling her “Sarge.”

Second, Katie always speaks openly with her patients and their families. Although terminal disease progression can be a very sensitive topic, Katie uses clear, concise, specific language to prepare patients and families for what’s next. In the case of the same patient previously mentioned, Katie was forthcoming about what it might look like when his seizure medication stopped working. Armed with this knowledge, the family was not caught off guard or unduly worried when seizure activity did increase.

Finally, Katie truly cares about her patients as individuals. She effortlessly puts them at ease by sharing some anecdote. The family of the picc patient had rambunctious dogs. Katie is a dog person who recently adopted a kitten, allowing her to share pet stories that helped the family feel connected and understood.

—Nominated by Dale Lemure

Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.