Drumroll please: Our ‘Best in Care’ finalists

An older man laughs with patient at Boston Children's Hospital
Best in Care nominee, Lucilo Puello, receives a valentine from Ellie [PHOTOS: MICHAEL GODERRE/BOSTON CHILDREN’S]

This spring, one staff member or volunteer from Boston Children’s Hospital will be honored with a Patient and Family Best in Care Award. Founded by the Boston Children’s Family Partnerships Program, the Best in Care Award is a way for families to recognize staff members and volunteers who have gone above and beyond in providing exceptional care.

Patients and families can complete the nomination form online. Once received, each nominee receives a congratulatory letter acknowledging their nomination and are also eligible for the Best in Care Award given each spring, which includes a special awards ceremony and generous recognition award.

We are proud to announce the five finalists, chosen from a total of more than 150 nominations in 2018. The winner of the 2018 Best in Care Award will be announced during our annual Patient Experience Week Celebrations, April 1-5. We extend our deep gratitude to all of the 2018 nominees, for making a difference in our patients’ and families’ experiences here at Boston Children’s. We are incredibly proud of your hard work and devotion. (Please note: Nominations have been edited for space.)

Janis Arnold, social worker, poses in her office.

Nominee: Janis Arnold (Social work)

Patient: Timmy

“My son has multiple chronic illnesses and has grown up with Boston Children’s as his second home. He has been treated here by several specialties since he was 4 months old, and he is now 14. He has required multiple major surgeries and procedures, 200 “sleep-overs,” and is under the care of a fantastic team of doctors and nurses. What sets Timmy’s experience apart is the care, coordination and facilitation Janis Arnold has provided our son and family. I truly could write a novel about how Janis has helped our son cope, manage and navigate living with multiple chronic illnesses with resilience, humor and love. Our son and our family would not be where we are today without the help of Janis Arnold. She has made the impossible possible, and the unbearable bearable for our family.”


Amanda McDonald, nurse and Best in Care nominee, poses in the hospital

Nominee: Amanda McDonald (Nurse: 8 East)

Patient: Hanna

“Amanda was there for our daughter Hanna and our family right from the start. She made the scary moments easier on us and helped us each step of the way. When we were down about our daughter not getting discharged, she reminded us she will get there. Amanda did everything should could to make sure our daughter got the right care and also made sure we had everything we needed. She was the one our daughter would snuggle with at night when my husband and I went home for sleep. Amanda got to watch our daughter go from being extremely sick to being one of the healthiest patients on the floor. She watched her grow over her first two months of life and we are forever grateful for her care. The day of surgery she was right there to hug us as we went down with our daughter and she was right there when we returned to the floor from the CICU. She made the day so much more bearable and reminded us we were only going to the CICU for a little bit and we would be right back with her when Hanna was ready. I am so glad Amanda got to be a part of my daughter’s first two months of life. The impact she left on Hanna and our family will never go unnoticed.”

Patient: Layla

“When my granddaughter was inpatient at Boston Children’s for several weeks in the fall, Amanda was one of her nurses on one of the weekends. Layla instantly took to Amanda, and Amanda cared for Layla like she was one of her own children. I would call every morning around 9 to see how Layla’s night went and to see who her day nurse was, but for some reason the weekend Amanda was working I felt no need to call. I just felt so relaxed and at ease knowing she was Layla’s nurse and wished she could have been Layla’s nurse the entire five weeks. When I would visit Layla and try to do certain things Amanda would tell me, ‘No you relax, let me take care of it.’”


Nominee: Lucilo Puello (Environmental services)

Patient: Ellie

“We have been on the 6th floor for the past six months, with 13 hospital admissions and have gotten to know the staff very well. Everyone is so kind, but there is one individual who has warmed our hearts and made Ellie’s days so happy. Lucilo is on the floor every day with a huge, loud floor sweeper. At first, our little girl was terrified of the machine. She would run away from it because of the noise. But Lucilo is a caring, loving and happy person who whistles to the children while he works. Ellie was drawn to him (but still terrified of the machine), so it turned into a happy game of hide-and-seek. She waited for him every morning and their games of hide-and-seek filled the hallways with giggles and laughter. As Ellie got sicker and was on precautions, he would come check on her through the window. His compassion and love for her is heartwarming.  One day, after he left the room, Ellie said to me quietly, “I love him, Mama.” We are so thankful for you, Lucilo. Thank you for making our days here happy and bright.”


Dr. Paul Rufo poses in the hospital

Nominee: Dr. Paul Rufo (Gastroenterologist)

Patient: Halle

“Dr. Rufo has been the most important support we’ve had through Halle’s diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and the management of her care. Dr. Rufo is respectful of Halle as a young patient and he balances that with respect for my husband and me as her parents; he includes all of us in his decisions. Dr. Rufo shares test results personally when we are worried and he gets back to my calls or emails quickly and kindly. I have never felt as though he is irritated by my many questions or concerns; I often feel as though Halle is his only, or most important, patient. He is kind, he goes out of his way to make conversation with her and to make us feel comfortable with the tests and procedures and medication changes she has endured. He considers all of our input and considers what we need and what we want, and helps us accept what is best for Halle. Her health and well-being has dramatically changed for the better since we have started seeing Dr. Rufo and we all believe that he has her best interests 100 percent in mind. Halle’s biggest concern went from worrying about dying to worrying about how old she can be and still continue to see Dr. Rufo. He is professional and like a family member at the same time; our lives wouldn’t be the same without him.”


Nominee: Jill Twomey-McLaughlin (Child life specialist)

Patient: Catherine

“My daughter was diagnosed two years ago with a chronic illness. With that, we needed to begin IV infusions in the CAT/CR. When my daughter was first told she had to go to the CAT/CR for weekly IV infusions, she was very scared and upset. We went to visit the CAT/CR to see what it was like, and Jill Twomey-McLaughlin was the first person she met. Jill gave my daughter a tour of the department, told her how everything works, where the games were, the snacks available and went over all the other activities. On our first visit, she had my daughter’s room set up for her with activities. She sat with my daughter while the IV was being placed, helped calm her and taught her breathing techniques to make the process easier. For every visit my daughter had in the CAT/CR, Jill made sure that there was always an activity waiting for her on the tray, along with the daily Seacrest schedule, food menu and any other activities. She was always there for my daughter, and for all the other children that visit the CAT/CR.  Jill is not just a caregiver in the CAT/CR, she became a friend and someone my daughter looked forward to seeing.”

Patient: Emma

“Jill has been my daughter’s child life specialist for many years. Walking into the CAT/CR every four weeks and knowing that Jill will have a welcoming smile, a hug and a craft for her waiting makes infusions fun. Jill has a way with kids that not many people have, she remembers the little things and wants to hear from them. Jill has been able to reach out to other areas of the hospital to help plan for another child life specialist to be waiting when we have a “big” appointment that is scary, but checks back in to make sure everything went OK. We cannot thank Jill enough or write about all the times she has been a rock when we needed her by our side.”

Learn more about the Family Partnerships Program.