I was one of the social workers involved in a case with a mentally ill patient that the whole ED agreed was the worst case of poor hygiene and self-neglect that had ever been encountered. In order to be considered for psychiatric hospitalization, which he greatly needed, this Patient required a deep cleaning and makeover.
I was profoundly impressed and moved by the kind, respectful and dignified care that this mentally ill, horrifically malodorous and dirty patient received from Paula and many other staff members. Paula worked gently and gracefully to gain the trust of this man who was delusional, paranoid and believed that he could not use his arms or survive a bath. The patient was completely transformed following an extensive bed bath, haircut, beard trim and shower and evidently it was the first bathing he has had in nearly 2 years.
The patient's improved hygiene is the reason he was accepted for psych hospitalization at midnight rather than rejected and held for unknown time in ED as was anticipated. I regularly see wonderful care provided by ED staff, but this case and the care provided by Paula was extraordinary and above and beyond.