Caregivers line the hall to honor patients and families

Springfield | December 5, 2018
caregivers gather in hall to honor patient donor
In tribute to organ donors, PeaceHealth nurses begin new tradition

On any given day, nurses in intensive care units see lives saved, lives lost and lives forever changed. Sometimes, all of those happen all at the same time. 

In September 2018, the ICU nursing team at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, started a new tradition called the "honor walk" to help the families losing a loved one who chose to be an organ donor.

For the honor walk, caregivers--regardless of role or department--will stop what they're doing and come to line the hallway in tribute to the patient being wheeled past to the operating room for the last time.

Kelli Salinas, RN, says the new tradition is a way to show thanks to the patient for their organ donation, "but you're also there to support the family because at this time the family needs more support than the patient does."

During the first honor walk experience, participating caregivers didn't know quite what to expect, but as Denise Hendrickson says, "As soon as the patient came out of the room, we knew we were there for the right reasons. It really just came from the place of love and compassion."

Another caregiver, Susan Chase from environmental services says "Everyone involved showed and expressed empathy for what the family was actually experiencing at that time. I felt that I was part of something bigger than myself."

Watch the video to see how one life positively impacted many others.