WVMC Staff Goes Above & Beyond to Advocate for Patient
“You Matter” Affirmation Impacts a Patient’s Outlook at WVMC
A patient presented to the Willamette Valley Medical Center Emergency Room (ER) via police, for concern of inability to care for herself after her boyfriend was arrested. Previous encounters with this patient lead staff to believe that she was choosing to be homeless, as it was reported that she walked out and refused to go back to a placement that was secured for her during a prior hospitalization.
One staff member, Jason, in the ER did not feel right about sending this person back to the streets with no support and asked for a mental health evaluation, as well as requested her to be screened by Senior Behavioral Health Unit (SBHU), asking them to “just talk to her.”
Although the phone call to screen came on a Friday night, Erica, SBHU Intake staff, pleasantly agreed to go down to screen along with Jason. After talking with the patient for a few minutes, it was apparent she had no way to care for herself, no one to care for her, and was a bit hopeless about her future. When they told her that there were several people that cared about her and wanted to offer her support, her eyes filled with tears and she stated, “You care about me,” giving a big full-hearted hug.
When her case was presented to the on-call psychiatrist, he stopped and stated, “Alicia, human to human, what is the right thing to do?” to which I responded, “admit her” and he agreed. Erica stayed at least three hours over on a Friday night to make sure our lady was settled in and comfortable. Sarah Espinoza spent an hour of her Friday night staffing the case with us, including vital information that was known from a previous admit. Once admitted, Linda Prudhomme made several phone calls and discovered she had been recently treated for breast cancer, and was slated for surgery in Salem. Dr. Anderson facilitated a surgical consult with Dr. Giss, who was also very responsive to providing treatment to this woman, who days prior, believed she had no one in the world that cared about her.
Finally, Linda Prudhomme advocated and secured a court-appointed guardian (which is difficult), which allowed for her to be placed in a memory care, as she was not able to care for herself.
The WVMC team had a homeless, sad, scared lady come to the ER, who left with her emotional and medical needs addressed, a court-appointed guardian (which she welcomed) and a safe, secure place to live for the remainder of her life. She also left with a smile and a heart that was filled from the genuine love and care that she received from so many who treated her with the dignity and respect that she deserved.
This story tells a sequence of people doing what is best for the patient:
Jason, who did not let hearsay influence his actions, and recognized a human being in need, going above and beyond to advocate for her.
Erica, who selflessly gave up her Friday night to facilitate a late-night admit into SBHU
Sarah, who spent her night on the phone staffing the case and hours in the weeks to come helping with case planning.
Dr. Anderson, who facilitated consults, assuring her medical needs were addressed.
Dr. Giss, who was immediately responsive to evaluating this patient,
Linda, who advocated and secured a publicly-funded guardianship and memory care placement.
Everyone knows the starfish story, that there are tens of thousands of starfish on the beach and throwing a few back in the ocean will not really make much of a difference, but the boy says, “It made a difference to that one?”, as he tosses it back in the ocean. The WVMC team made a difference in this person’s life and that difference started the moment she realized that they really cared about her.
The patient felt this from the staff at WVMC.