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Nurse recognized for service to longtime patient


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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — When Gerayne Yelkin was offered the opportunity to care for a 15-month-old quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent toddler, she wasn’t sure if she was prepared for the task ahead.

But after various training, Yelkin ultimately decided to take on Josie Moore as a patient, and it changed both of their lives for good.

“She’s been a blessing,” Yelkin said of Moore, whom she has provided care to for the past 28 years. “She’s an inspiration; she really is to a lot of people.”

Yelkin, a licensed practical nurse with Maxim Healthcare Group — a national organization that provides home health care, companion and behavioral care, health care staffing and workforce solutions — had experience working at hospitals and doctor’s offices, but hadn’t continuously worked with a patient until she worked with Moore.

A spinal injury during birth left Moore, 29, requiring 24/7 care. Yelkin became that constant caregiver and it led to their decadeslong friendship.

“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Yelkin said. “It’s because of the amount of time we’ve been together. I think it does feel oftentimes like a family member. But I’ve always said that she has a mother, so I’m not her mother, but more like an aunt. It’s just been good.”

When Yelkin and Moore are not shopping at Target and Kohl’s or taking walks outside, they’ve been known to go ziplining in Colorado or visit Micky Mouse in Disney World.

And recently Yelkin got to watch Moore and her fiancé move into their first house together.

“It’s been really fun for me in a lot of ways; you know there’s a lot of challenges,” Yelkin said. “But just watching her go from a toddler up until a grown woman who’s succeeded in a lot of ways, she’s a joy to be around. She’s got a positive personality; she’s smart and fun to be with.”

And Moore is happy to see Yelkin receiving recognition for her work. Earlier this month, Yelkin was named the John “Doc” Langley National Caregiver of the Year.

“It feels really good to see her get the award,” Moore said.

Moore said she is thankful to have Yelkin in her life because she provides the care she needs, but Yelkin has also become a part of the family.

“It’s nice having continuity because it really helps maintain the relationship,” she said. “You know that the person you care about is in good hands.”

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