Debbie Graham

Debbie Graham

Debbie Graham, RN

Hospice
Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center
Oregon City, Oregon
United States

Debbie Graham is a gentle, compassionate, kind and highly skilled hospice nurse. The story I am sharing in a lot of ways is a story of obstacles and overcoming them. Mrs. M had End Stage Dementia. This particular type of dementia made it difficult for the patient to have a roommate, as so she was alone a lot. Mrs. M was definitely going to die the way she had lived, “her way”. Her daughter was very involved and even though she was in a facility, the daughter visited her everyday and took her out for rides whenever feasible. The daughter wanted what was best for her mother and was consistently seeking out the support of Debbie. Simply put the daughter trusted her and it gave her peace knowing she could call on Debbie whenever needed. Debbie taught her how to gently let her go, in her own way and in her own time. This wasn’t easy for the daughter, yet with Debbie’s support it slowly happened.
The patient developed some difficult symptoms to manage. Debbie was an excellent advocate for the patient and eased the way of the patient, the daughter and the facility. Debbie saw this patient almost daily and sometimes twice a day for weeks. She tirelessly, compassionately and kindly supported her in her last days. Debbie was an outstanding liaison between the providers and ensured the patient’s wishes were fulfilled. Debbie helped arrange volunteers to sit vigil so the daughter could rest at night. The next day the daughter was with Mrs. M as she took her last breath.
The challenges Debbie was able to overcome included:
• Helping a demented patient find ease with dying
• Teaching the daughter the example of letting go in spite of the pain
• Being a bridge from life to death
Debbie’s excellent clinical skills in pain and symptom management, her compassionate presence and ability to meet her patients and families where they are in the dying process makes her worthy of the DAISY Award.