VA nurse helps Veterans’ families, in her free time


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VA has an exceptionally talented team of outstanding employees. We would like you to meet them, continuing with our regular feature on VA’s Top Nurses, especially appropriate this week: National Nurses Week.

We are proud to salute Deb Lamberton, LPN, Nurse in Occupational Health at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, MI.

Deb approached the Palliative Care Nurse Manager several months ago and offered to provide massages to family members of Palliative Care Veterans.  She is a certified massage therapist and wanted to do this after work on her own time.

Deb went through the process of becoming a volunteer with our Voluntary Service and helped to create a process that family members could use to request a massage.  She created a brief health summary form for families to complete.  She makes herself available every week for families and follows up with me regularly to see if we have anyone who could benefit from a massage.

When a family member is terminally ill, the caregivers in the family forgo any self-care to be there around the clock for their loved one.  They are under an enormous amount of stress and are faced with difficult decisions and emotional turmoil that sometimes lasts for months.

Remarkable Results of Massage

The first person given a massage was an elderly wife of a Veteran.  She had been at the Veteran’s side 24/7 for several months.  She had a tremor in her arm that was present on her husband’s admission, but had worsened over the course of her husband’s illness.

During her massage, she fell asleep, so deeply she began to snore.  Her tremor also ceased during the massage.  It was an amazing success.

Deb Lamberton, LPN

Deb Lamberton, LPN

Deb Lamberton embodies the true selfless caring of the nursing profession.  She gives of herself and her own time to provide a service that offers comfort to families of terminally ill Veterans, allowing them to continue to be the stable support for the Veteran in their final days. Deb was also our Employee of the Year for 2015.

May 7-13 is National Nurses Week

VA nurses are a dynamic, diverse group of honored, respected, and compassionate professionals. VA is the leader in the creation of an organizational culture where excellence in nursing is valued as essential for the delivery of quality healthcare to those who served America.

Visit the VA Nursing web site to learn about the recipients of the VA Secretary’s Awards in Nursing Excellence program. Their contributions to the care of patients in any VA health care setting demonstrate such excellence as to merit recognition from their peers.

Thanks to Carrie Seward, Public Affairs Officer, for her assistance with this story.


About the author: Dawn Bass is a Palliative Care Nurse Manager at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, Saginaw, Michigan

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