In speaking to one of our new nurses, still being oriented, I must say I was moved by her story and I wanted to share her story! Holly Hovis definitely went over and beyond in helping a patient’s wife who had dementia, but no one had been aware before the patient went to surgery.
Recently we had a patient, Mr. P, who cared for his wife with dementia, but one night he became very ill and called EMS, without any ID the patient (and his wife) was admitted. Dr. J came early in AM to explain the procedure to patient who had consented to the procedure. The wife was sleeping at this time since they were admitted in the middle of the night all staff was unaware wife had dementia because the patient never mentioned it. Mr. P was taken to surgery, unable to be weaned off the vent, transferred from surgery to ICU, and then later transferred to Ruby.
While the patient was in surgery, Holly found the lady with dementia roaming the halls, and asked if her husband was coming back to the floor and the dear lady with dementia said: “he is going to be mad at me, I should have called someone!” Mr. P was being transferred to ICU (later determined Ruby) and no one knew that he had surgery nor that the wife was here with nowhere to go, and she could not be alone. Holly took the lady aside and asked who she could contact as there were no contact numbers in the chart and demographics had the wife as emergency and no other information, patient’s wife had no ID, no wallet nothing to identify her.
The lady with dementia said that she had a daughter, but did not know her last name! She told Holly that she had a dog sitter from Heathers Helpers and after Holly called them she found out that that this was ten years prior. The dear lady then said that she was the treasurer of the Spring Mills Women’s Club and this number was called, not violating any patient information, if they knew Mrs. P and her daughter? The lady that Holly spoke to said she did know her but she was no longer treasurer but that she was many years prior. The lady informed Holly that Mrs. P attended Saint Marks in Hagerstown.
Holly called Saint Marks, but the office had closed for the day. Who could she contact? Holly’s plan was to go by Saint Marks on her way home from work, though she may not find anyone, what about this dear lady, who did not even know who she was, or who to call? Holly thought that she would call and ask for the Chaplain on duty and maybe he could direct her to a contact person at Saint Marks. Holly left a message and the Chaplain called Holly back. Without breaking any HIPPA violations, she said that she needs to contact someone from Saint Marks. The Pastor’s sister-in-law is presently the Treasurer for Saint Marks and he would have her contact Holly.
The Pastor’s sister-in-law called Holly and she knew Mrs. P, she had been a member there for over 25 years. She did know her children, she had read about them on Facebook, and knew they lived far away, but did not have any contact information. So the treasurer of Saint Marks knew Mrs. P’s daughter a long time and sent her a private message on Facebook and all it contained was “Please call 304-596-6850” to not break any privacy acts.
Six hours into thinking that all efforts to contact someone was in vain, Mrs. P’s daughter called and asked for Holly. She lives in Montgomery County and her sister lives in Southern WV. Holly cried when she heard the daughter’s voice. She said: “Dad never wants to bother us, and he is the sole provider of my mother who has dementia. Dad always makes us think he doesn’t need our help!” The daughter could not convey enough how grateful she was for Holly who went above and beyond to reach a family member for her mother and father! She was in tears!
The daughters came to BMC to get their mother and were going to meet their dad at Ruby (he was being transferred there that evening from ICU for ERCP) they were very grateful and very happy with our care and that Holly was able to find them. They explained that their dad was independent and didn’t want to worry them.