My father was admitted to another hospital on 12/08 with a heart attack. 3 days later he had a major stroke (while hospitalized). He sustained right sided paralysis along with aphasia. After struggles with his care we had him transferred to VCUHS on 12/26, to the Cardiac ICU (10th floor critical care), where he stayed only - 1 day. When transferred to 7th floor step-down, we experienced several very attentive and competent staff. One clearly stood out. Katiuscia(Katie) was assigned to my dad for 4 or 5 12 hour shifts. Even with my dad's severe aphasia, she was able to gain a connection and ability to communicate with my father like no other staff. She clearly had care and compassion for him even when he was agitated or irritated. She understood that the stress of his very rapid change in condition (going from an independently functioning elderly man living alone, driving, fully cognitively intact to a fully dependent very sick man), was very difficult on him and our family. She put meeting his personal/comfort needs on the same level with caring for his medical condition. When his condition deteriorated, and it looked like it might be his last few hours, she was so attentive to his comfort as well as to our family's need for quiet and time to say "goodbye".
When he pulled through that crisis and the determination was made to move him to the palliative service, she continued to support him and our whole (large) family in so many small ways that are difficult to articulate, but made our transition to a push for healing and rehabilitation, to comfort care in his last days so much easier. Katie is intuitive, caring, and balances seriousness with lightness perfectly. She truly made a difference in my dad's last days, as well as making a difference in all his children and grand-children's experience surrounding this devastating experience, I will remember this always.
As both the family member of a patient, and an employee of VCUHS, I can not think of a more deserving team member to receive this award.
My father passed quietly in his sleep on 1/3 while in the palliative care unit. While this was a very difficult time, my family was very impressed with the level of quality care along with caring service we all received during his 8 days at VCUHS. Katie was a very integral part of this care.