Family Centered Care Through Stormy Weather
Hurricane Sandy killed nearly 200 people in the U.S, in Haiti, and in the Bahamas. It touched the lives of everyone, including the families and staff who reside in the communities we serve and live. Following are just two stories from families during this time.
Adam and Liam are six and a half week old twins who were admitted to the general pediatric floor when they both developed fevers. Like most parents, The Vydro’s are adjusting to being new parents and the feeding, sleeping and eating schedules of their two newborns. This is usually a very exciting time for new parents. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Sandy, the Vydro’s are now also dealing with the loss of their home and all their belongings. Meeting the twin’s mom Marina, you would never believe what tragedy had just occurred to her family. Previously residing in the Oakwood section of Staten Island which scenically lies right on the water, the Vydro’s house has been destroyed. Marina remains bright and positive, expressing how happy she is to have her family alive and that the twin boys are recovering here at Maimonides from their brief illness. When their home was destroyed by the storm, the Vydro’s family was fortunate to have relatives to move in with. Pretty soon that 3-family home was also flooded and fifteen adults plus a hand full of children piled into one floor of the residence. It was then in the close quarters that the twins became ill. The proud parents became filled with anxiety over loss and illness. Marina states coming to the hospital has been a wonderful shelter for their family. The staff has been warm and friendly, accommodating and supportive. The Vydro twins recovered physically and were discharged. The Vydro family will also continue to recover as they find a new place to live and replace belongings.
Little 13 month old Jayden Ruiz is a much beloved “frequent flyer” here at MICH. You may remember him posing with The Brooklyn Nets during their visit last month. Jayden was born prematurely, spent months in the NICU, and has had multiple hospitalizations on the general pediatric and Intensive care units for everything from respiratory issues, to feeding issues, to hernia surgery. Sandra, his mom, depends heavily on the use of his nebulizer to keep him out of the hospital. Living in Brighton Beach, Jayden and his older sister and parents were forced out of their home when they lost power. Luckily, the Ruiz family was able to move in with Sandra’s mother until they are able to move back into their own home. Sandra’s mother was already helping another displaced family of four as well. Even though the apartment has electricity, it unfortunately did not have heat. With so many people in the tight quarters and the chilly weather, Sandra was worried about Jayden. Having a child with medical complications in this type of an environment Sandra knows all too well what can happen. Jayden did have some respiratory problems and he was brought to the Emergency room.
When a family coping with many stressors simultaneously is here in the hospital, a Family Centered Care approach seems all the more necessary. When a natural disaster occurs, the staff at the hospital in many cases has also experienced stress and loss. How do we as providers cope with our stressors while caring for others who are hospitalized? In this case-Very well!! Throughout this disaster nurses, doctors and other staff members have been even more compassionate to the patients. They have been reliable-coming to work regardless of personal loss of their homes or barriers such as travel and gas limitations. Staff have been empathetic, offering an ear to listen to others express their hardships. Families have been greatly appreciative because despite the stress that the staff has been experiencing, their compassion and concern has not been compromised.