When Natalie Met Bill's Family

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Bill was in the final months of his life, living in a nursing home, and his twin brother and sister-in-law were worried about his care and well-being. After he moved into VNSNY’s Shirley Goodman and Himan Brown Residence and met nurses like Natalie Sutherland, Bill’s loved ones quickly noticed that he had regained his spirit, always quick to reveal his passion for good conversation, baseball and song.

Suffering from congestive heart failure and the after effects of several strokes, Bill had been deteriorating in a nursing home. “We’d visit at 1:30 in the afternoon, and he still wouldn’t be dressed,” recalls his sister-in-law, Margot. “We just couldn’t recognize the Bill we knew.”

When VNSNY's residence for those at the end of life opened, the family knew they’d found the right place for Bill. “Two days after he moved in,” says Margot, “he was holding court for the staff and other patients.”

Natalie can attest to that: “Bill wanted to be as active as he possibly could,” adding that he was always engaging visitors, staff and volunteers in a friendly chat or song. “He had that magic. You felt like you’d known him your whole life.”

“Every time I saw Bill, we would end up singing a couple of duets,” says hospice volunteer Bebe Broadwater, who visits the residence once a week. “It always brought a lot of joy to him. Even toward the very end, when he was feeling so tired, he would brighten up when we were singing.”

Homey and comfortable, with a terrace overlooking the East River and eight cheerfully decorated private rooms, the residence provides expert end-of-life care in an uplifting atmosphere for patients nearing their final days. “It was like he was home,” says Bill’s brother Harry. “He was so comfortable. We were so happy about that.”

“I can’t say enough good things about the care he received,” says Margot. She remembers one visit when Bill was not particularly well. “Natalie and I sat with him,” she says. “I stroked one arm, she stroked the other.”

Adds Natalie, “Our main goals are to make our residents feel at home and to enrich their lives for as long as they are with us.”


For more information on end-of-life care from VNSNY, please call us at 1-212-609-1900 or click here.