Lincolnland Hospice nurse Frances Miller, RN, was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at Sarah Bush Lincoln on May 16.
Miller was nominated by a hospice patient’s husband who wrote a heartwarming letter stating that he was moved to tears by the positive impact she made in his wife’s quality of life.
In his letter, he wrote: “My lovely wife of 55 years has been suffering with dementia for the last five or six years. Her condition deteriorated to the point where I could no longer care for her at home. I was advised to consider a nursing home for her, something I had dreaded to do for a long time. Her condition worsened at the nursing home and she refused to eat. She mentioned to me she wanted to just pass on. It was so depressing to hear her tell me that. I went home every night and just cried.”
“Frances Miller came to evaluate my wife when she was moved to hospice care. She immediately noticed her sore mouth and asked the nursing home staff to get some swabs, clean her mouth and apply some medicine. This small amount of care seemed to make my wife feel better. This nurse also thought my wife was depressed just sitting in her wheelchair with her head down and eyes shut so she ordered anti-depressant medication. She also thought my wife was being over-medicated and had most of her medicines taken away. This has helped tremendously.”
“In addition, Frances suggested moving my wife to a new nursing facility near our home and made the preparations. Immediately after my daughter and I packed her things and wheeled her out the front, she perked up like a new person. It was like a miracle had happened. She is now eating and feeding herself with her head up, eyes wide open and smiling. She does not slump and sleep all the time. She reads the newspaper, does puzzle books, watches TV and talks with others. This has been a 110 percent turn around. If it hadn’t been for this nurse, my lovely wife would not be here today.”
“I believe an angel was sent to me in the form of Frances Miller. She is the best of the best – an example of what all nurses should be. It’s hard for me to put words of gratitude into writing. I’m now praying that my wife may be able to come home at some time. I’d love to continue taking care of her full time, but for now I go home every night with assurance that my lovely wife is in good hands.”
Humbled by the recognition, Miller gave credit to her coworkers. “We have a great hospice team and so many kind things go unnoticed. I just was fortunate to have someone who spoke out. It takes a team,” she said.
Sarah Bush Lincoln has joined more than 2,400 healthcare facilities by becoming a DAISY Award hospital partner. During the award presentation, Miller received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a unique, hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, entitled, “A Healer’s Touch.”
The DAISY Award was established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system.) The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and families.
Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and other employees may nominate a deserving nurse for The Daisy Award and a nurse will be selected by SBL’s DAISY committee every month to received this special honor. Nomination forms are located at www.sarahbush.org and at all SBL clinics and on patient floors. The forms can be submitted to any Sarah Bush Lincoln staff member, or sent via email to [email protected] or mail to Sarah Bush Lincoln, DAISY Nursing Award, 1000 Health Center Drive, Mattoon, IL 61938. For more information, contact SBL DAISY coordinator, Cynthia Edwards, RN, at (217) 238 -3422 or [email protected].