Welcome to Extraordinary Stories of Empath Health. In this space we highlight our fantastic colleagues and the extraordinary work they do to make Empath Health’s Full Life Care a daily reality for the patients and families we serve. Join us as we demonstrate the ways in which our colleagues exemplify Empath’s core values: Eternally Hopeful, Profoundly Helpful, Lovingly Truthful, Confidently Skillful and Courageously Impactful.
At Tidewell Hospice, sometimes it takes an entire team to improve the quality of life for a struggling patient and make their last days more pleasant.
An 86-year-old assisted-living patient joined Tidewell this past spring. She had a diagnosis of cerebral atherosclerosis and vascular dementia and was suffering from delusions and loneliness. She was not taking good care of herself.
During a session with Tidewell Music Therapist Jasmine Ridge, the patient confided that she had entertained suicidal thoughts. The team jumped into action, getting permission to remove from the room anything the patient could use to harm herself. Social Worker Liberty Veedon, Community Resource Physician Dr. Richard Deibert, Clinical Director Penny Billings and RN Leokadia Sarason met and made changes to the patient’s medication. CNA Nikki Dawes began making daily visits.
Slowly, the patient’s condition improved. The suicidal thoughts disappeared, and she allowed Nikki to provide sponge baths and help her take a shower. The patient’s beloved son visited and gave her a large TV and an electronic album featuring photos of her grandchildren. The patient proudly showed the photos to her care team.
Unfortunately, the patient’s medical condition deteriorated quickly after her mental state stabilized. But her delusions did not return, and she was able to communicate. Liberty visited and compassionately explained to the patient that her journey was coming to an end. The patient’s son, his wife and their two children came to say goodbye. She passed away peacefully with her loved ones nearby.
Later, Liaison Lisa Wright found some love notes the patient wrote to her team during that interval of recovery. Her central note: “You all have been so good to me.”
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