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Heartland Hospice Patient Goes Home for the Holidays

Heartland Hospice serving Raleigh-Durham was recently reminded of why we do what we do because of a particular patient story.

Nikki, Manager of Business Development for Heartland Hospice, received a direct call from a palliative care physician at a local hospital. The first thing the physician said was, “I have a very difficult and heart-breaking case involving a 44 year-old mother of three who wants nothing more than to go home for the holiday. The transition home will be difficult due to unmanaged symptoms and the need for IV medications.”

Nikki and Jessica, an Account Liaison, headed right over to the hospital where they were greeted by the patient’s mother, father and husband. After a brief introduction, Nikki and Jessica immediately asked the family what was most important to them.  They responded that they wanted her to come home to the farm house where she would be more comfortable. You could feel their pain. They didn’t know what they needed, but knew they needed help.

The family started sharing photos of their three beautiful children explaining their personality types and who each looked like. Originally, the mother didn’t want her children to see her so sick, so they were out-of-town with another family member. However, that day, she decided she wanted to see them, so the family called and asked them to come back home.

Nikki assured the family with confidence that Heartland would help them bring their loved one home that same day so she could be surrounded by her children and family. When asked if there was anything else Heartland could do, the patient’s mom asked if a hospital gown could be provided that was soft and comfortable for home.

The Heartland team started working on getting medical equipment and IV medications ordered. They collaborated with the palliative care team, hospitalists and the case manager to help with the transition to home. The palliative care physician inquired when the patient would be going home and Nikki responded “We are all set – she’s going home today.” The physician was shocked at how quickly Heartland was able to arrange her transition home.

The Heartland team was honored to go back to the room to let the family know the ambulance had been arranged by the social worker and would be arriving soon. You could see the relief in their eyes. When Nikki mentioned that several, soft hospital gowns were going home, too, the husband smiled so big and thanked her. Who would think a hospital gown could bring a smile to someone’s face? Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.  And for Nikki and Jessica, helping this patient get home for the holiday to be with her family is what made a big difference in their lives.

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