Our Neurocritical Care Unit (NCCU) created a special gift for families and friends who have lost a loved one while at the hospital. It all started roughly six years ago when a patient in critical condition began to deteriorate. Despite the expert care he received, the family needed to prepare for the worst.
When he passed away his mother asked if she could have his gown or pieces of his hair. “It was at that point I thought that I needed to figure out something that we could give to the family members to help them in their grief,” said Kim Wall, RN. “I decided to buy small vials and place an EKG strip of the patient’s heartbeat in it as a remembrance.”
This small but powerful gesture has gone on to blossom in the NCCU and beyond. Kim has been contacted by other units asking if she could do the same for the families of their patients.
Kim said, “The family of every NCCU patient that passes receives a vial.” So far, Kim estimates that some nearly 100 families have received the remembrance. The staff is now recycling old vials — a simple but cost-effective idea.
"Although I would love to take full credit for this idea, it was the entire NCCU staff that has made it successful,” she said. “When they receive the remembrance gift the family members often sob and thank us. It means so much that we can provide this to them.”