My 20-year-old son recently experienced a serious illness from a MRSA infection of his leg that led to sepsis, 9 trips to the OR in an 11-day hospitalization, and the overwhelming threat of potential loss of his left leg. When he was discharged to Home Health he was on Vancomycin via PICC line t.i.d, three large wounds on wound vac, severe low protein, loss of muscle mass, and limited ability for any movement or activity.
Needless to say, for a previously very active 20-year-old, on his arrival home he was both physically and emotionally in an exceptionally poor state.
Then into our world walked his Home Health RN, Ashley Rich. My immediate response (as a nurse of 40+ years) was "Thank you God for sending us this angel!" Here are but a few brief examples of why I can say that with such confidence:
Ashley immediately and compassionately addressed for M "What's the matter" (physical problems) AND "What matters most to you" (psychosocial and personal concerns). Examples of Ashley's patient-centered, compassionate care include:
What's the Matter (Physical Problems):
Diagnosed the cause of significant pain with wound vac change, got orders to change supplies and skin protection appropriate for his complex wounds, skin sensitivity, and ultimately decreased both the physical and emotional pain and suffering from his wound vac changes. Arranged for a co-visit with nurse covering while she was on vacation to ensure covering nurses knew both expert approaches to wound vac dressing of 3 wounds and M's unique needs. Both orthopedic surgeon and rehab MD repeatedly told me Ashley's knowledge and expertise in wound care was driving M's rapid healing and they consulted her on all treatment updates and modifications.
What Matters Most (Personal and psychosocial concerns):
She always called pre-visit to allow ample time for premedication of anti-anxiety and pain meds. Provided distraction during painful procedures with engaging conversations based on M's interests in music, TV shows, events, and random "fun facts".
My son's description of Ashley's care is this: "Ashley came to our home when I was in a very poor physical and emotional condition. From the moment she introduced herself to me, as bad as I felt, I knew I had someone I could relate to, someone who cared about me, someone who cared about what she was doing to me and how it hurt me. Bottom line I just knew immediately she just cared and she is great at what she does!"
In conclusion, Ashley exemplifies extraordinary compassionate nursing practice! Her professionalism, clinical expertise, and awareness of M's physical and emotional suffering transformed a 2-month nightmare into a 2-month journey of progressive healing physically and emotionally. I can say without a doubt my son and my family was blessed and healed because of Ashley's extraordinary caring and compassion.