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The joy of community nursing

Elderly Group

The joy of community nursing

Caption: Josephine believes in seizing every teachable moment to impart useful knowledge and skills to her seniors and caregivers.

Josephine does more than wound dressing. Sometimes, she would gently rub and massage the side of her senior’s gut, feeling for motion. Other times, she is a mediator, helping family members resolve issues and restore relationships.

With more than 25 years of nursing experience under her belt, the 49-year-old nursing manager of TOUCH Home Care (THC) always puts the interest of her seniors first. Helming a team of 12 nurses, Josephine is responsible for maintaining THC’s quality of nursing care, in helping seniors age well at home and in the community. Her team also works with other community partners to provide psychosocial support to frail seniors and their caregivers.

“Community nursing is so rewarding! I always encourage my team to observe and empower seniors so they can take care of their own health. This is important in building self-esteem and confidence. I prefer to do things with them – and not for them. If seniors are able to perform a simple task, I will let them learn and show them how to do it,” said Josephine.

nurses group
Caption: Josephine (second row: 1st from left) with her team of nurses

Josephine feels nurses must learn to strike a balance between ensuring compliance, and restoring seniors their autonomy and dignity. The role of nurses has evolved as social needs become more complex.

She recalled an incident involving an elderly caregiver in his 80s who had a fall and suffered from brain haemorrhage. His frail wife, a wheelchair user, uses the aid of supplemental oxygen at home. Josephine went above and beyond to arrange with other service providers to provide assistance to the couple. She visited the elderly caregiver when he was in ICU after work hours and updated his wife regularly about his condition. Eventually, all care arrangements were settled and the outcome was pleasant.

When asked what keeps her going, Josephine said, “Words of encouragement, a hug, a bright smile and home-cooked food from her seniors make my day!”

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Caption: Josephine (left) receiving the Healthcare Humanity Award from Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong (right).

In recognition of her outstanding efforts in providing quality care to her seniors, Josephine received the Healthcare Humanity Award 2018 (Intermediate And Long-Term Care category) on 26 April 2018 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, officiated by President Halimah Yacob. Since 2007, 10 THC staff have received the Healthcare Humanity Award given to outstanding and inspirational healthcare workers who go the extra mile to care for the sick and infirmed.