Daneen Breitenbach

Daneen Breitenbach

Daneen Breitenbach, BSN, RN

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Lancaster General Health
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
United States
The special needs patient had her best days when Daneen was spending time with her.

Compassionate, caring, gentle and friendly. These are just a few words to describe the way Daneen cared for L; L was a special patient. She was admitted for an elective surgery that was chosen for her. She was removed from the group home in which she resided for 20 years and the caregivers familiar to her and placed in the hospital with a painful incision and strange people.

L has Down's Syndrome and is non-verbal. Where others may think it is difficult to communicate with her, Daneen knew just what L needed. Daneen works at WBH in the NICU, so one can imagine she was a bit apprehensive one morning when she was asked to be pulled to 4 Lime as a sitter for a 12-hour shift. Daneen and L clicked right away. L could be difficult at times; refusing to eat and drink or pushing a helping hand away when offering to get her out of bed or bathe her. Daneen had a way about her that relaxed L. She spoke with L as if she were going to talk back to her. She considered L's feelings and attempted to give L control whenever she could. After a 12 hour day, the two of them had established a routine. Daneen offered to come back to sit with L the next day. L grew attached to Daneen and was visibly sad when she left for the day. It was refreshing to see L perk up in the morning when Daneen showed up for another 12-hour shift. Together, they watched movies; Frozen was L's favorite. L sat in a chair most of the day, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner and again, was sad to see Daneen leave. Daneen worked an 8-hour shift the next day and offered to come back to spend the day with L if the NICU census was low. L had her best days when Daneen was spending time with her. Daneen was not just a sitter or a cognitive coach, she was L's friend.