Recently, the Medical Intensive Care Unit census included four quadriplegic patients. MICU nurse Holly Franklin used her vast knowledge and experience with quadriplegic care to provide exceptional care to two of these patients. An ALS patient and her husband were thinking about future decisions regarding support for her pulmonary function. Holly was able to share with them the details of her experience with a diaphragmatic stimulating device which opened up a new possibility for this patient's ongoing care and support. The patient and her husband expressed their deep gratitude for Holly's empathetic and tender care for the patient, for her willingness to share her experience, for her deep understanding of the patient's needs and goals, and for the extra time that she spent in discussions with them which gave them new ideas and renewed optimism.
At the same time, Holly cared for a quadriplegic patient in the adjacent room. This patient was newly a quadriplegic due to unfortunate events. As the patient was very active prior to her injury, she wished to pass comfortably. However, much of her time in the ICU, her family wished to keep her on life support. While the care was superb, the patient became depressed as her wishes were not completely meet. Holly engaged the patient on multiple occasions get her more involved with her care and to get the patient to smile and later laugh. Holly's tender care had a profound impact on the patient as the patient began to mouth more of her wishes. With the assistance of Holly, this patient chose to move from aggressive treatment to comfort care, including a compassionate extubation with her family at her bedside. Holly gave the patient and her family superb compassionate care as she talked with them about the process and ensured that the patient was ready and comfortable. Holly continued to clarify with the patient and the family through each step of the process so that they felt included and cared for. Holly noticed that the patient was Catholic and she coordinated a Catholic service at 1 pm that day. While the patient had limitations with eating, Holly asked what the patient would like as a final meal. The patient requested orange sherbet and Holly searched until she found some so that the patient could enjoy one last pleasure on this earth. Holly's attentiveness, compassion, and clinical expertise ensured that the patient was comfortable and peaceful. Her empathy and tenderness provided great solace to the patient's family in a time of terrible loss while her clinical expertise ensured that the patient was comfortable and at peace in her last moments. Holly has clearly gone above and beyond to preserve the patient's dignity in death and honor a family's memory of the patient.
Holly's care for both of these patients modeled Brookwood Baptist Health's commitment to service as she treated both patients and their family members with the greatest compassion dignity, and respect for their individual choices. Holly provided the highest quality care to both patients and families and truly made a difference for them.