A mother with her toddler son, a husband with his young wife, a daughter with her frail father – they sit in the emergency room waiting with fear of the unknown. Once ushered back to a room, multiple doctors, nurses and technicians come in to ask questions, take them for tests and administer medications. Waiting for the answer can take hours. Waiting for the pain to subside is difficult. Having a family member or friend with you makes all of this a little easier.
At Springmoor, we are all family. If a resident needs to go to the Emergency Room for a fall, for shortness of breath or any other need, we will go too! A family member is always called first. However, often the family lives out of town or even out of state. Perhaps they are traveling on business or even tied up in a meeting. If they can’t go with their family member, we will.
There are ten administrative staff members that rotate a pager through the business week. A Stewart Health Center employee carries it during the evening hours and the Springmoor Senior Staff carries the pager on the weekends. There is always an extended family member here for our residents.
An administrative staff member writes, “Our primary goal is to make sure our residents feel connected to us and do not feel alone. One of the best feelings I have when accompanying them is the gratitude they show and the feeling that I am able to help during a time of distress. One of my most recent experiences is with a resident who had no family locally or even in the state. When I arrived at the Emergency Room, I introduced myself. The resident smiled and said thank you for coming. I then asked her if she needed me to stay or if she felt okay by herself. She asked that I stay a little while until she knew what was happening. While she was being assisted, she periodically looked at me and smiled. Once, when I stepped out of the room, I heard her ask, “Where did my lady go?” She seemed relieved when they told her I was still there but standing outside the door, waiting to come back in. When I returned, she looked at me again and smiled. The look of relief and peace on her face was priceless. Although she never really said anything to me while she was there, her expression and smile was all I needed.”
From another staff member: “I have been many times to the ER with residents. The first question asked of me is usually from a nurse, ‘Are you a family member?’ When I reply, ‘No, I’m just a friend. I am from Springmoor.’ Their response is always one of surprise and appreciation.
While waiting for doctors and tests results, the resident often wants to call their family. I have offered my phone or even taken notes from the nurse to ask the family. I have been there to fluff a pillow, raise the bed, get water or call for a bedpan. Laying on stretcher in the ER can be a stressful experience for anyone. Being in pain makes this even more difficult. Having a friend eases the burden. I have heard numerous stories about resident’s children, their family, their travels, their childhood homes and so much more. These stories warm my heart. We may not have even known each other when I arrive but afterwards, I feel like I have a new parent, a new friend. This time together has always felt like we both were given a special gift.
Our Chaplains visit residents in the hospital on a daily basis. Robin says of this unique service, “One of the many remarkable things that makes Springmoor stand out from other retirement communities is its staff. Not only is the staff dedicated to their unified mission of making each day special and valuable for each resident, Springmoor employees have put in place extra steps to ensure resident satisfaction on every level. The emergency pager policy is one of these steps.
This seemingly small task is a huge gift. The staff person, carrying the pager, has to stop what they are doing and perhaps have others cover for them while they go to one of the several area hospitals. I have seen first hand, as a chaplain, how very important this service is for the resident who finds themselves unexpectedly in the Emergency Department. Sometimes they have only a short visit with a staff person, as a family member arrives quickly, or sometimes it can be a long day. We all know how slow time moves in the ER. This small gesture, of not being alone in the time when you feel the most vulnerable, is so appreciated by the residents, their families and the chaplains. These busy Springmoor employees help lend that comforting hand for your loved ones, when an emergency arises.”
This gift of presence cannot ever be overestimated. It is truly another way we, as Springmoor employees, care for our friends who allow us to work among them and share their homes. It also another way that Springmoor shows it is not just another retirement community!