Who is Mary Grace?
Mary Grace was hired originally as a Home Care Supervisor for Interim HealthCare, overseeing adult and pediatric ventilator-dependent clients. She loved all of her patients, but her passion was always pediatrics. Because of her leadership, problem-solving and clinical skills, she was promoted to Vice President of Pediatrics. During her 15 year career with Interim HealthCare of Pittsburgh Inc., she developed one of the largest home care pediatric programs in the country. It was her mission that if possible, people, especially children, want to be in their homes.
She had extraordinary clinical skills, but she taught us also to the value each patient as an individual. She showed us that our roles were not just addressing the physical needs of the patients, but also to support their needs, dreams and desires. For example, she was one of the first to assist technology-dependent children to be integrated into the school systems. She also worked tirelessly with the Make-A-Wish foundation on behalf of our patients.
She emphasized the importance of including and appreciating family members and other caregivers. She taught us the need to be non-judgmental when working with our patients and families— that it was not our place to judge how people lived, as long as they loved and provided safe care for the patient.
Mary Grace was a tremendous nurse and paraprofessional staff advocate. She insisted on outstanding orientation of new staff and ongoing education. Although she had very high standards, she was a coach, counselor and supportive listener to her staff.
At age 56, Mary Grace was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. During her two year battle, she still continued to share her joy and wisdom—that all people, whether one day old or over 100, have great worth and it is our privilege to support them in their times of need.
The Mary Grace Foundation was founded in honor of this amazing woman who made an impact not only on her patients, but on those around her.