An unusual midnight visit

Florence | August 21, 2017
Caregivers act fast to help neighbors in distress

The late hour (midnight) of the unexpected visit wasn’t as distressing as not knowing what to do next for the visitor at her door—a widowed neighbor of 40 years, clad in a nightgown, asking for help to get home.

Gail (not her real name) knew her neighbor had dementia and saw a provider at nearby PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence, Oregon. She also knew her neighbor had no family and no one at home to provide extended help. The next morning, she phoned PeaceHealth and spoke to Sharron Puckett-Bradford, an executive assistant for the hospital.

Hearing the clear worry in Gail’s voice, Puckett-Bradford quickly tapped Ashley Nesmith (pictured), the risk manager for PeaceHealth Peace Harbor, for assistance. The situation called for compassionate, careful handling to preserve patient confidentiality while keeping the patient safe and meeting her immediate and long-term needs.

Nesmith spoke with Gail and then called various local agencies to help coordinate care for the patient. “I had immense help from the patient’s care team. Ann Carpenter, the RN care coordinator worked through it all with me,” Nesmith said. “We both made phone calls. It was definitely a team effort!”

Puckett-Bradford noted the situation is not part of Nesmith’s typical duties. It just happened that several staff who might otherwise have handled the call were out of town for a conference that day. Nesmith was the only one she could turn to who knew the local resources available.

Afterwards, Gail called to express her deep gratitude for the way Nesmith and Carpenter went out of their way to assist with such care and compassion. “Ashley and others on the team did not hesitate to help and for this we are very grateful,” said Puckett-Bradford.