A patient came to the ICU under some sad circumstances. Adult Protective Services had opened an investigation and the patient had no listed next of kin. Her medical status was tenuous at best and the patient elected to move to comfort care. Because she was alone, everyone stepped up to support her. Palliative Care entered a consult for Spiritual Care.
I went in to speak with her to see how I might best support her. No, she did not want anyone to be called. No, she wasn’t a praying kind of person and did not want a prayer. She asked for ice. I could see the pleasure on her face each time I spooned ice into her mouth. After a few minutes, she looked at me and told me she “just wanted to sleep, and rest.”
Shortly after the patient spoke to me, Deb entered, and she began cares that went beyond expectation. Sometime earlier, Deb learned that the patient’s favorite drink was a Margarita. Deb obtained medical permission, called her husband, asked him to deliver a mixed Margarita, and brought it to the room. I can’t tell you how much care and concern I saw on Deb’s face and how much pleasure was on the patient’s face as Deb administered the elixir. I had the honor of helping when Deb was called away from the room. I am still touched by the act of kindness as I report to you this nurse’s behavior. Deb’s caring above and beyond the scope of her practice brought a dying patient pleasure at the end of her life. Deb understood how to care for the patient.