How We Can Make the Difference
A friends mother, who I loved very much, recently lost a hard battle with cancer and the healthcare team made a large impact to the family and friends. I never knew the impact I could have on the families' as an aide, student, or nurse. I would like to thank everyone who does this every day, and try to teach those that do not, how they can.
I remember laying on the couch watching TV when I got the call. "It's back." was all he said.
I felt ice shooting through my veins as it sunk in. My very dear friend's mother had been in remission from ovarian cancer for almost 2 years and on a scheduled PET scan they found more tumors. She decided to begin chemotherapy immediately, we knew how agonizing it was to her to have to lose her hair again. But, she couldn't imagine leaving her only child and husband behind.
Being in nursing school, every new bit of information was like a knife in my heart. However, the doctor and family had a lot of hope for recovery. We all still had hope.
The next information to come was that she was not responding to the chemotherapy, they would have to try something else. Eventually it came that she had to be hospitalized. She was in constant pain all the time. She had the most wonderful nurses, always came quickly with her scheduled medications, always came to answer the call light immediately and returned with her extra doses of pain medication.
Her PCTs were fabulous, always being as delicate as possible when turning her and handling her needs. One, in particular, was very personable to us and we throughly enjoyed when we saw her name on the board. She would sit with her whenever we needed to leave the room for a few minutes, she would stroke her arm and constantly used a swab to clean out her mouth and wet her lips. Basically, the healthcare team made themselves available whenever we needed them, but allowed us time alone when they weren't immediately needed. It seemed that they knew how very much we appreciated the privacy to talk with her and even sometimes just sit in silence.
I have had my fair share of dying patients in clinical and in my job, but it just wasn't the same, being someone I have known my entire life, someone I have had many conversations with over the years. Yet, those people treated her as if she was their loved one. They continuously tried to sooth our grief at the situation, and often asked about fond memories we had.
It has made a huge difference on how I will interact with my patient's families in the future. I never realized how important our role is in the families' life at this point. I always felt awkward and intruding when I came in to check on their family member. Now I realize how much healing I can do for everyone, not just the patient. Eventually, she was allowed to come home and have home health for awhile until she finally passed away peacefully, and free of pain. Every single Nurse and multiple PCTs came to visit, called, or sent cards and food to the family. It was nice to know that even at her worst, she could make people love her.
I sincerely would like to thank every Doctor, NP, Nurse, Aide, Student and any other healthcare provider that has assisted families in time of heart ache. I would also like to remind people that most of these Nurses were not specifically Hospice and still had a lot of comfort to offer to us. Her son has decided to pursue nursing as a result of these meaningful interactions. Although it was still a horrible thing to deal with, these people made the difference in how we handled her passing.Last edit by Joe V on Jun 3, '13
Jun 3, '13It is really a devastating thing to happen. No one is prepared for it despite reading about facts about it.Jun 4, '13I remember losing my mother to lung cancer and the hospice nurses were just wonderful people.Jun 5, '13What an insightful post
I think that in times of need, even "just medical" there is a significant part of the emotional experience that is overlooked due to intimidation, lack of time, or the lack of personal connection that we sometimes have to have to get through the day. Patient care can be so much more than the physical, and can definitely extend to family, friends and loved ones. In fact, caring for the loved ones of someone facing their own personal health tragedies can go a long way to comforting that person, as well.Jun 6, '13You are right. The ICU nurses made all the difference to me when my father was dying. We can make these tough times better. I'm sorry for your loss.Jun 6, '13Quote from LindaBrightWhat an insightful post
I think that in times of need, even "just medical" there is a significant part of the emotional experience that is overlooked due to intimidation, lack of time, or the lack of personal connection that we sometimes have to have to get through the day. Patient care can be so much more than the physical, and can definitely extend to family, friends and loved ones. In fact, caring for the loved ones of someone facing their own personal health tragedies can go a long way to comforting that person, as well.
Thank you. I agree. I hope that someone who read this post might, perhaps say something kind to the family that they wouldn't have before. Maybe a Nurse or CNA finding themselves with an extra 3 minutes might go in and spend it with the family.Jun 6, '13Quote from xoemmylouoxThank you for your condolences. She was like a mother to me and this was a very painful experience as it is to most. Actually, I was nervous to even to write this article but I hoped that it might help others in their standard of care. It was very therapeutic actually.You are right. The ICU nurses made all the difference to me when my father was dying. We can make these tough times better. I'm sorry for your loss.Jun 16, '13Such a wonderful piece right here. I work in a very fast pace department. Where I'm constantly on the move. I'm not a RN or PCT/CNA but I transport patients around the hospital. And I try my best to interact with the family. You would be surprise to see how just that one minute of your time interacting can do not only to the vistor but also to the patient. I see it daily. It just makes the patient feel so much better, and eases the pain which takes the focus off the one area that brought them into the hospital to begin with.