Laura Maldonado is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have all been heartened by stories of how home care workers have stepped up to care for infected patients under extremely difficult conditions. At VNS Westchester, Wound and Ostomy Care Nurse (WOCN) Laura Maldonado “has stepped up on a variety of fronts from the earliest days of the pandemic, earning the respect and admiration of her patients, her peers and the leadership of our agency,” says Director of Patient Services Joann Parliament.
Laura was one of the first of VNSW's clinical staff to volunteer to visit COVID-positive patients at home, especially high-risk patients with complex wounds. She did so with calm assurance that helped to soothe anxieties, not only among her patients and their families but also among other members of the home care team.
She quickly emerged as a role model and a mentor. She even volunteered to accompany other clinicians on COVID-related cases, if needed, as the pandemic raged on in the VNSW region — one of the state’s hardest-hit areas in the early days of the crisis.
As a frontline nurse and staff mentor, Laura already had her hands full. However, that did not stop her from volunteering her time to address other urgent needs at the agency. She was a tremendous asset to VNSW’s leadership by helping to prepare policies and procedures related to patient care in the pandemic. She played an essential role in reinforcing rigorous guidelines among staff for proper hand-washing, procedures for donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and droplet precautions — critical knowledge needed to protect their patients and themselves from the spread of infection.
With facemasks serving as a vital barrier in preventing infection, Laura volunteered to learn how to use a fit-test machine to fit-test N95 masks for over 100 field staff, a means of preventing air leakage and ensuring the integrity of the mask. She also volunteered to learn how to conduct COVID-19 tests, offering herself as a test subject to promote learning among the rest of the team.
“Through strength of character and selfless dedication, Laura is an extraordinary individual stepping up to perform multiple roles with equal doses of passion, determination and effectiveness,” Parliament adds.