Joyce Grayson, Visiting Nurse Killed During Home Visit

Violence against Health Care Workers has been a growing concern, with a 2019 ANA Survey reporting that 1 in 4 nurses report being physically assaulted at work. If you talk to a healthcare worker, they almost always have a story of a physical or verbal assault or threat they have experienced in their career. Most times, multiple stories of these events.

The healthcare community is heartbroken and demanding protection after losing yet another one of our own. Joyce Grayson was a nurse with 26 years experience, the last 10 years working for Elara Caring (Home Care) as a visiting nurse. She was a wife, mother and grandmother. She also was a foster parent for over 20 years, making every child in her care feel like family. She enjoyed trips to Florida in the winter and baking to contribute to local bake sales.

On October 28, 2023 Joyce set out for a normal day of work with her first visit being at 8am. When she missed multiple subsequent visits with her patients through out the day, her family contacted the police. Around 2pm GPS on her phone lead them to her first patient’s home- a transition/half way house. Police found Grayson dead in the basement of that home. Suspect and Grayson’s Patient- 38 year old Michael Reese, fled the area shortly after he was found. Reese is a convicted sex offender and was detained on the scene. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny, and probation violation.  No one has been charged with Grayson’s murder yet, but Reese is a suspect. Details of Grayson’s death have not been released.

Grayson’s family has retained an attorney. Attorney Kelly Reardon released a statement, “They [family] feel strong that there likely were a lot of balls dropped, leading up to the death of their mother and wife.”

State Senator Martha Marx, also a nurse, said “None of us are surprised. I want everyone to realize that. None of us are surprised.” This is a chilling statement, and unfortunately, a true statement. Nurses and other health care workers are heartbroken. Angry. Fearful. But not surprised. Because we all have seen the violence and danger that working in healthcare brings. We have all seen the lack of protocol and care for our safety.

Healthcare workers need protection. Patients need to be responsible and held accountable for their actions. Safeguard and protocol need to be in place. Working as a home care nurse myself, this is a scary reminder that while this is an amazing and rewarding job, it can be dangerous. Many times, we are out all day seeing patients, and the office has no idea where we are and when. This is a painful remind to be mindful to protect ourselves, no matter where we work. If you don’t feel safe with a patient- wherever you work- don’t go in alone. Always have a clear exit path to the door. Be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re out in the field, have someone who can track your location. Please do all you can to stay safe. But as we know, sometimes, even doing all we can, is not enough.

I am sending love and prayers to Joyce Grayson’s family, friends, and coworkers.