“Caring Beyond the Patients”

Several years ago, I recall waiting—what seemed like forever—in the family lounge of the local hospital near where my family lived.  My grandmother had just had surgery, and I was anxiously awaiting an update.  Minutes later, the door to the consultation room opened, and I saw my mother thanking the surgeon and then exiting the room with tears streaming down her face.

While my waiting period at that moment was short, many families and visitors literally “camp out” in the Trauma ICU family lounge for days at a time, wrestling with questions and concerns about their loved ones’ plans of care.  They develop connections with each other, especially during lengthy hospitalizations.  They sometimes rejoice together when patients reach milestones, but they also offer support and encouragement through the difficult days.  They share memories about their loved ones as well as dreams that may never be fulfilled.  Even though some of the trauma patients are not even aware nor recall our services to them, there is one group that does—their families.

Therefore, as we care for our trauma patients, let us also remember that there is another group of people needing additional support and care and for whom we can make a further difference.  The families are an extension of our patients—a part of our St. Vincent community residing right beyond the doors of the critical care unit.

Lord, as we gather today to unite as one team with the mission to enhance our care to our trauma patients and their loved ones, we ask that You guide us and bless our efforts in doing so.  I pray this in Your name, Amen.

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