Ms. Stella Lebrun RN and her co-worker Nkiruka Ozokwelu, RN received a telephone call from an elderly veteran diagnosed with schizophrenia. He said he was asked to leave the home of his family and had no place to go. The veteran did not have a cell phone and was calling from a landline. He told the nurses that he only had two dollars and he was cold and felt that his only option was to sleep on the street that night. The nurses contacted the MHC social worker who provided the names of local shelters however the nurses did not immediately feel fully comfortable with this plan and the veteran asked if they could help him call the shelters – when the nurses found there was no other way to quickly provide him with transportation- they utilized their own funds to pay for Uber transportation to DCVAMC. The veteran arrived at MHC - he was alert and calm but complained of medical symptoms and was taken to the emergency room. The veteran had a pre-scheduled appointment in MHC the following day but he was a no-show. The nurses sprang into action again – they found out the veteran was discharged to a shelter after he was medically cleared from the emergency room the prior day. They called the shelter hotline, local shelters, nearby hospitals, emergency rooms, police departments, and the morgue. He was not located. One of the nurses went to a local shelter herself to look for him. The nurses engaged many team members including social work services and the homeless outreach team to attempt to locate the veteran – they were concerned for his safety and went above and beyond to prevent him from harm. A plan was developed for social work services continued outreach to the family, DCVAMC homeless team, local shelters and the bus driver who transported veteran the night before. The attempts were successful - the veteran was located at a shelter. This was true advocacy! This is true service to a veteran that went above and beyond expectations. I am so thankful to have nurses working in the Mental Health Clinic who truly care. Ms. Lebrun exhibited the ICARE principals of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect advocacy.
Stella Lebrun, RN
Mental Health Clinic
Washington, District Of Columbia
Washington DC VA Medical Center
The nurses engaged many team members including social work services and the homeless outreach team to attempt to locate the veteran – they were concerned for his safety and went above and beyond to prevent him from harm.