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Patient’s grandson shares gratitude for caregivers

Posted on Feb. 28, 2019 ( comments)
JP Avila grandmother hands

The following letter was sent to MultiCare from the grandson of a patient treated at MultiCare Allenmore Hospital and MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. Published with permission.

Dear MultiCare Health System,

As a recent visitor to both of your Allenmore and Tacoma General hospitals, I wanted to comment on a most peculiar experience I've had at both facilities.

I was not a patient; instead, I am a grandson of a patient. I have visited both facilities several times, but each visit I noticed that the quality of care, compassion and love never wavered. I got to know your staff and employees more and would now consider them part of my small family. I saw different buildings, floors and wings and each carried the same commitment to care.

The matriarch of our family, the woman who helped raise me and who helped instill a strong moral compass and open hand for compassion, was recently in your Allenmore facility. I don't think she really understood where she was or what was happening, but she was always assured by the countless visitors to her room. And we, her family, were looked after. Most of the time, we tried to stay out of the way to not be a burden, but we were always reminded how important our role was in her healing.

JP Avila grandmother

"She's lucky to have you all," a nurse would say, but in reality, she was lucky to have them.

While my family could certainly comfort her at home, we could not care for her the way the ER staff did. We could not make her smile during painful (but necessary) procedures the way the second-floor east nursing staff could. We could not watch her 24 hours a day like the ICU people could. We could not be there in the last moments before surgery to comfort her the way the OR staff could. We could not trim with amazing precision and heal with amazing speed the way the doctors could. We could not lift her the way the physical therapists could. We could not navigate the admission and discharging processes like the way your patient support staff could.

She's lucky to have you ... all of you! But luck is not part of good medicine. People are what give this place the illusion of luck. And when those people believe in a system, they work to support that system.

I've seen housekeepers that smile and do the extra steps in order to make a room more comfortable. I've found doctors that understand that they are not treating a chart or a condition, but rather a family who is worried and a woman who is in pain. Most of all, I've seen staff introduce themselves and treat their patients like beautiful humans and not sick citizens.

On the first night of her stay, I was asked the standard list of questions to admit her to the hospital. These questions are personal and procedural. I was not expecting an overnight stay and was a little shaken by it. The nursing staff made her comfortable while I provided the answers.

I told the nurse, "We'll do what's needed. She's my world, she's everything to me."

The nurse said, "She's everything to us, too."

That was when I knew we were lucky to have quality health care provided by your facility and your staff. It was true for that one nurse at 12:58am and it was true three days later in ICU when they said, "She is like everyone's grandma."

JP Avila family photo

And it was true four days later, when two nurses, off shift, came down to say hi, give us hugs and tell us they were thinking of her.

Thank you, to all of you.

Jp Avila

Learn more about how you can support patient-centered care for families like the Avilas

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