Editors note: The nurse who relayed this story declined permission to disclose her name. She did not want recognition for something that was a “collaborative effort” and that “any nurse would have done.”
THA Group is a family of companies that provides a continuum of health care needs, enabling people to live comfortably at home wherever they are along their wellness journey. Because of this organizational dynamic, our services lines often overlap. We are not simply home health care nurses or hospice nurses, personal caregivers, therapists or social workers. We are health care professionals collectively caring for all patients in our charge, as the following story attests.
Mr. C is a paraplegic; his disability results from a diabetic coma he suffered years ago. Over time, he has developed decubitus ulcers (pressure sores) that require wound VAC therapy. Mr. C receives skilled nursing from THA Group at home, and he regularly travels to the Wound Care Center at Beaufort Memorial Hospital (Beaufort, SC) for advanced therapy. On these occasions, an ambulance transports him.
Since his coma, Mr. C has continued to live independently with his wife as his primary caregiver. Last year, he needed to make a routine ambulance trip to the Wound Care Center. Normally, additional passengers are not permitted to ride in an ambulance unless they sign a waiver, indemnifying the ambulance company of liability. On this particular day, Mr. C’s wife decided to sign the waiver and accompany her husband to the hospital. On its return from the Wound Care Center, the ambulance crashed. In a terrible twist of fate, Mr. C’s wife was the sole fatality in the accident.
Mr. C physically recovered from the crash, but the emotional pain of losing his beloved wife and sole caregiver remained. He continued to live alone, but was homebound and depressed. Mr. C’s frail elderly mother and his sister came to care for him, but they did not live at the same residence. The THA Group clinicians caring for Mrs. C man knew that his poor emotional state was taking a toll on his physical well-being. They also knew that if they could just provide him with some mobility and stimulation, they could allay some of his depression.
By chance, a former THA Group Island Hospice patient’s daughter was trying to dispense of nearly new medical equipment purchased during the patient’s final days of life. She found it emotionally draining to keep the items in the house, and she wanted to reclaim the space that they were occupying. The Island Hospice nurse made it known to other THA Group staff that this family had items available for donation. The Island Health Care nurse seized the opportunity to secure the equipment for Mr. C; a hover round chair that would give him easy and extended mobility caught her attention. She knew that he had a Hoyer lift and someone who could get him from bed to chair. On a weekend after hours she beseeched a colleague, whose husband she knew had a truck and trailer, to assist with moving the equipment. These three, on their personal time, loaded a wheelchair, bedside commode and hover round chair into the trailer and delivered it to Mr. C’s home.
Mr. C was so grateful for the generous donation from a family that didn’t even know him or his situation. On this most recent Fourth of July evening, thanks to the generosity of strangers and the kindness of others he was able use his new hover round chair to move out to his front porch and watch a glittering fireworks display against the backdrop of the summer night sky.