We had an 18-year-old patient that was admitted to the NICU in December for seizures. He also had an extensive history of physical abuse which left him severely cognitively impaired and functioning at about a 3-year-old level. He was being cared for in a pediatric facility until he turned 18 and was transferred to a new facility where they were unable to handle his behavior and refused to take him back.
During his admission, he had demonstrated behaviors that had been very challenging to the staff such as biting, yelling, getting to the floor, rolling around, kicking and fighting. He required IV sedation and restraints in order to keep him and the staff safe.
As his stay progressed, the staff worked very closely with him to try new ways to comfort him and de-escalate his outbursts.
They recognized that he de-escalated easier with only a few staff members in the room. They also explored other activities and items to keep him calm and interactive such as coloring activities, music, making masks, and taking walks around the floor. They purchased in crayons and coloring books and stuffed animals to try to keep him occupied. Someone realized that he was able to sign a little and requested an interpreter to help. We had an ALS interpreter at the bedside as often as possible. They realized that he loved music (Michael Jackson) and brought in a Walkman and the “Thriller” soundtrack for him. The music therapist would visit and play his guitar and the patient would sing and dance. They decorated his room with pictures, a Christmas tree and even brought him Christmas pajama pants. They learned how to collaborate with him to accommodate his needs while providing the required care and completion of ADLs. The staff became attached, very empathetic and caring toward him, and kept someone in the room at all times, for his comfort. They really made a huge difference to him and his recovery while recognizing the negative impact to him should he be transferred out of our unit and wanted to keep him in the unit until placement could be found for him.
I can’t express enough how proud I am of each and every staff member who impacted this young man's life. This is only one example of how this team goes above and beyond in providing compassionate and empathic care for our patients.