My Story Helps Humanize Patients
Details about a patient's life can help speed recovery.
The patient was so much more than the “stroke in 4A.” He’s a
husband, father and grandfather, a long-time businessman who loved gardening
and hiking, who spent his free weekends volunteering with the homeless.
The staff at Providence
Holy Cross Medical
Center didn’t know any of that
until a volunteer named Tim Page took the time to learn about the man, simple
things like what he prefers to be called to deeper subjects like his career,
his interests and what makes him happy.
resurrected the My Story project at Providence Holy Cross, a program that
encourages patients to talk about themselves so when the endless stream of
doctors, nurses, therapists and others enters his hospital room, each might ask
about his grandchild or if he caught the latest episode of his favorite TV show,
“Law & Order.” The goal is to comfort patients and help them heal.
Colleen Settles, OP, chief mission integration officer for Providence Health
& Services, California, brought
My Story to Holy Cross and to Providence Saint
Joseph Medical Center
in Burbank about a year ago. With
the help of volunteers, patients fill out a shimmering pastel-colored poster
with little pieces of biographical information, details that when shared with
the hospital staff helps transform them from patient status to person. Patients
and their families are encouraged to add pictures, giving caretakers still more
of a glimpse into the lives of their patients as they work with them toward
completed My Story posters are affixed to a wall in the patient’s room. The
program helps empower those feeling vulnerable, lift the spirits of patients
with a tough road ahead toward recovery and helps fuel conversation between
patients and hospitals workers.
backs of the posters is a small note dedicating the project to Michael G. Dann,
an Orange County
man who was killed in a 2003 traffic accident and whose family decorated his
hospital walls to let people know all about that man in the bed. Dann’s widow,
a nurse, is credited with creating the My Story prototype.
At Providence Saint Joseph and Providence Holy Cross medical
centers, the posters were printed, but never really used until Tim Page made it
his mission to spur the program, doing his part to interview acute rehabilitation
patients and pen their responses in colorful Sharpie ink. At Providence Saint
Joseph, the posters are being used in intensive care where family members help
tell the life stories of their loved ones. At Holy Cross, rehab patients help
tell their own stories.
good at it,” said Moonyeen Brubaker, supervisor of acute rehabilitation therapy
at Holy Cross. “We needed someone who would take the initiative to get this off
the ground and he’s perfect. He has a lively personality and the patients
appreciate the time he takes to get to know them.”