Yikes, I had to pull out my calculator to write this blog! A letter from a grateful mom was forwarded to me and as I read through it, I was struck by how many members of our Inova family she listed by name. Two pages of names and she even acknowledged that she probably left a few out. One, that’s some awesome record keeping by the mom, and two, that’s some awesome care provided that warranted such note taking and a two page letter. I pulled a few bits and pieces from the letter to share with you.
“I sincerely believe that it takes a village to get a family through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in a child. This village to us also includes those who may work behind the scenes but have been a huge source of knowledge, comfort and support. I am writing this letter to you to commend you on the absolute BEST and most PROFESSIONAL staff there at Inova Fairfax Hospital. It’s no wonder your hospital has such a good reputation for quality care. I have never met a more compassionate and loving group than the ones you employ on the HEM/ONC floor.”
This family has a 12 year old child who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Certainly, as they noted, it was a life changing day. While to us, our day to day routines are often second nature, it’s letters like this one that remind me to stop and remember that hospital visits for our patients are not second nature and certainly not routine. It reminds me that learning about best practices and implementing them pays off when it makes the difference in even one family who has experienced a “life changing day.” As I mentioned, I had to use my calculator to count all the names listed, which was a total of 45. Forty five names in one letter. Wow, that’s forty five people that made a difference to this child and her family.
So, who was mentioned? Well, there were the doctors, “They have been an exceptional team to work with….” The social worker who … “made it all happen for us and helped us out tremendously.” The housekeepers who “made sure that all the rooms and the entire floor were always in sterile shape to ensure “her babies” stayed healthy.” Child Life … “was a lifesaver …were always there for a procedure, an activity, a movie, a walk, a smile and a laugh.” Okay, let me pause for a minute to reflect that at this point, ten names were mentioned and we haven’t even gotten to the nurses and techs yet.
“There are not enough complimentary words to describe your nursing staff. They are truly top notch. I cannot imagine a more caring group of nurses anywhere in the country. They have set the bar high and after being in four different hospitals now, no one has been close to their professionalism, management of medicine, creative ways to handle difficult situation and their deep awareness to connect with these very ill children. The techs were also very important. It takes a special person to care for these children and they do it better than anyone I’ve seen without complaint. They deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to the wellbeing of these very special patients.” And another 29 names were mentioned.
And she concludes with the educators, secretaries and chaplains. “This village to us also includes those who may work behind the scenes but have been a huge source of knowledge, comfort, support, prayers and visits.”
The amazing thing is that while she named 45 people, we all know there were many more folks involved. Food services, warehouse, finance, administration, pharmacy ….. okay, I could go on and easily list an additional 45 departments. So I’ll wrap this up by saying, please know that your attention to detail is working. Your patient centered care is being noticed. We indeed have an Inova village that all worked together as a team to better one patient and one family and isn’t that what it’s all about?