As a nurse with Hospice of Lubbock (HOL) for five years, Carol can always be counted on for being skilled in her role as Triage Nurse and compassionate with her patients. She recently received a referral for admission of a young man in his late 30's who was dying of cancer. The patient's wife was anxious to get him home so he could spend his last moments with his children and family. Carol arrived at UMC to find him rapidly deteriorating and extremely fragile. Although she immediately began the process of arranging for transport, she realized she would probably not be able to get the patient home and needed to develop a plan to meet the needs of the family. She counseled the wife about her concerns and the wife could not make a decision. "What if our children do not get to say goodbye?" "What happens if he dies during transport?" "What am I supposed to do?" she questioned Carol.
Carol called Charles Lindsey, HOL bereavement supervisor and told him she needed help. Together they decided to guide the wife on a plan to connect the dying young man and his children, allowing Charles to help the wife talk with the children about their father and his impending death. Carol explained to the wife that transport home might not be in the patient's best interest, as they had just increased his pain medication. She then went to find the physician, hoping to agree on a plan of care. As she met the physician, she immediately realized they had a special connection, as she had been with him during the death of his 5 month old son the month before. He was grateful for her presence and in agreement that the young man was too ill to go home. He attempted to process an order for GIP services without success. As he left the family that night, he assured them "they were in great hands with Carol, a wonderful, caring nurse during difficult times."
Within the next few hours, the patient would die as Carol worked with the nursing staff to care for him. She and Charles stayed with the family, providing assurance, comfort, and care for 5 hours.
The next morning, Carol reported to her supervisors that she had not officially admitted the patient, although this would have been the correct protocol. She had focused her time on caring for the patient and family rather than completing paperwork for the assessment and admission. Further, she did not want to disturb the grieving family with questions. Although Carol volunteered to return to UMC and work with the physician to admit, obtain orders, and complete paperwork, the HOL team agreed the process would not be beneficial for any involved. Carol went on to share her story at the morning staff meeting, expressing gratitude for Charles, the bereavement program, other HOL team members, and the staff at UMC. Carol said to the staff that morning, "we gave good care because we cared for the patient as a team."
Carol exhibits the best in our mission, our values and the best in nursing daily. She created, supported and lived sacred moments with two families during this time and has left them with a sense that others are there for them and care about them.
She is truly a mission-focused nurse and person.