September 6, 2011
In recent months I have spent a lot of time in hospitals with my two elderly parents, both with health issues. Sadly, my dad passed away recently at the age of 85 in a Veteran’s long-term care dementia unit. He had been cared for lovingly at home by my mother, 83, until March of this year. As I write this article in mid July, my mother is recovering in a geriatric “restorative care” unit after having her artificial, but septic knee joint removed in emergency surgery in June, on the very day and hour that my father died. She will face further surgery to replace the joint in the fall when she is infection-free, so I know that I will be spending more time in hospitals in the months ahead, as I assist her. I have met many health care professionals and providers in this time, and I have been left with a lot of impressions that I think are important to appreciate about how the family “sees” us, as nurses, when we work with them. What
we say and do are noticed and can make a positive difference for our patients and their families in ways that we may not realize and may never know.