There were two patients on our unit; a husband & wife married for 59 years. The wife has end-stage cancer with multiple areas of metastasis & was admitted with related complications. She does not have treatment options left at this time. The husband underwent abdominal surgery, where they found abdominal cancer with limited treatment. He has not recovered as intended & remains on a ventilator due to pulmonary issues. Both patients are debilitated & require a significant amount of ADL's in addition to complex nursing care & interventions. The wife is able to sit in a patient chair using a transfer device.
Jennifer Daigle & Deanna Salas, both ICU RNs, were caring for these patients today. Early this am, I overheard Jennifer saying the wife wanted to see her husband. I came back from a meeting & the next thing I know, the wife is in the husband’s room in a patient chair holding her husband's hand and softly speaking to him. He is looking at her nodding. Their daughter was outside the curtain silently crying.
Jennifer and Deana explained to me they felt strongly as the patients’ nurses that both patients needed to see each other one last time. They arranged with the interdisciplinary team members such as MD's and RT to make this happen. The rest of the staff on the floor assisted, transferring the wife into a patient chair & bringing her to his room. Jennifer and Deanna both describe the wife & husband’s initial reaction upon seeing each other with tears in their eyes. When the wife was pushed into the room she held out her arm as much as she could to indicate she wanted to touch her husband, the husband did the same. The wife sat next to her husband holding his hand talking to him. The family was around and emotions were high as the family understood the prognosis of each was not good. When I came around the corner to witness this, I overheard a family member say “I wish we had a picture.” We arranged for C T to come & assist us with that task. Dr. P told me what my staff did was an incredible display of compassion and he was proud to work here.
What Jennifer and Deana did today was beyond their role as nurses. It's their extra level of compassion that made me extra proud to have them as my employees today. I applaud them for thinking outside of the patient-needs box and for making this happen.
I feel strongly the idea, action, intent, and outcome of today's events are a true display of what the DAISY Award is about, and they each deserve recognition.
- Submitted by Francesca Damiano Hammond, BSN RN, ICU Clinical Manager