Kristin Cox

Kristin Cox

Kristin Cox, RN

Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, Illinois
United States

Kristin came on duty at 7am and was assigned to take care of a patient who was a LET. After report, the family called. Kristin gave them an update which was the patient was stable with no significant changes overnight. However, a short time after that the patient did die. She tried to call them back with this news, but the son was not picking up the phone. Kristin felt bad because she had just talked with the son and knew he was coming in to visit. She did not want him to walk in the room and find out his mom had died. So, she positioned herself with her computer right outside the room so she could intercept the family. This was all done at the busiest time of the morning between 8-9am. The family did call back, so it ended up they did find out about the death before coming. Then, the best part occurred.

In talking with the family, who she was just meeting, she found out that their dad had died of Alzheimer's disease and the mom who just died had it, too. Their wish was to donate her brain to research. She told them she would try to find out what to do. I came upon Kristin looking on the internet for sites to accept brain donation. She made multiple phone calls around the country and was connected with multiple voice mails in an attempt to honor this family's last wish for their mom. Believe it or not, it is not that easy to set this up after death. Some centers want it to be pre-arranged because the life history of the patient is so important. After a few hours, we still did not have final answers and were waiting for the final center to call back. There was one site that would accept whole body donations, but the family declined. We found out if the donation was going to occur it could be while the body was at the funeral home. They called as soon as she heard from the last center. At this point, the family said to forget it.

The significant thing about this event and why I think Kristin deserves the DAISY Award is because she could have very easily just gone through the motions and done the physical post mortem care and let the chaplain talk with the family. She did not know them for prior days. She made it a point to make the last few moments of their mom's hospital stay as good as it could be. She made sure the son was not going to get a terrible surprise by walking in and finding his mom had passed away by "standing guard at the door". She then went out of her way to get information on brain donation and developed a relationship with the family. On the floor we do not get involved with Gift of Hope, so this was the first time Kristin had ever done anything like this. She did her best to exhaust every possibility to honor this family's wishes.

This is just one example of holistic care Kristin provides every day to her patients. She is regularly mentioned in discharge call backs and in leader rounding, and is an example of how, in a few moments, a nurse can make an impact on a patient/family that makes a difference.