For the past four years, Judy Rickert has been an indispensable member of the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care (RHPC) team. After personal experience with Regional Hospice when her mother was ill and the bereavement services that her dad received, when she retired in 2014, Judy was compelled to “give back.”
Having worked in medical offices, Judy brought her strong office skills to RHPC as an administrative volunteer. She was subsequently assigned a new and unique role – to help make “trunk kits” for the nurses. These “trunk kits” assure that our community-based nurses have the supplies they need to care for our home hospice patients. These kits are invaluable resources for our field staff, providing them with care supplies always at their fingertips. This saves them the time of having to special order them or make a return trip to the office to pick up the supplies.
After observing Judy’s attention to detail and commitment to helping the nurses in any way she could, this small task evolved into a much bigger role. When the Center for Comfort Care & Healing opened in 2015, Judy also started helping to organize medical supplies for the in-patient clinical team. Each week, Judy spends hours taking inventory of all medical supplies and refills anything that is running low. In short, she makes sure that the clinical teams – both in the field and in the Center – are fully stocked with the supplies they need to best care for our hospice patients. The staff rely on her tremendously and are able to do their jobs confidently, knowing that whenever they need a supply, it will be at their ready, thanks to Judy’s untiring efforts on their behalf.
In 2016, Judy’s Dad was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain cancer. When he was given a matter of weeks to live, Judy and her family again called on Regional Hospice. Having gotten to know so many staff and volunteers and witnessing the care they provide to our patients, Judy assured her family that Dad would be best cared for at the Center for Comfort Care and Healing, and that’s where he spent his last three weeks of life. Per Judy, her family was “so impressed to see how wonderful the care that they received was – not only for her father – but for her entire family.”
Judy continues to volunteer weekly and her smiling presence is a welcome addition to the Center. She is kind and dedicated and funny and takes great pride in what she does. Judy works so quietly and unobtrusively, as she wants her work to go unnoticed, but it’s hard not to notice her amazing work ethic and commitment to helping our staff and patients. Director of Nursing Services, Robin Viklund, says that “Judy is a wonderful volunteer and her behind-the-scenes work is instrumental in keeping the supplies at the ready so that the everyday flow of patient care is seamless.” Judy is so much more than a volunteer – she is a true team member, patient advocate and treasured friend.
The Regional Hospice and Palliative Care team thanks Judy for her hard work, kindness and dedication to our mission. We are honored to recognize Judy’s impact by awarding her the 2018 Volunteer of the Year!