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PeaceHealth Mission and Values Award recipient – Tricia Griffin

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Tricia Griffin outside in front of green trees and grass

A caregiver models the PeaceHealth Mission and the Value of Respect to patients and families.

Losing a child is one of the most devastating things a parent can endure. When death is imminent, having compassionate support can make all the difference for those left behind. Being that source of comfort for families comes second nature to hospice nurse Tricia Griffin. 

Tricia works as an after-hours nurse with PeaceHealth’s hospice program in Bellingham, Washington. 
Last fall she received a call from the family of a young patient who was dying. The boy was suffering a great deal and had difficulty breathing. The parents were in anguish. They also needed to care for their other small children. 
Tricia took immediate action. She spent the rest of her shift at the family’s home. Tricia stayed at the patient’s bedside. After speaking with a doctor, she adjusted his oxygen and medications to ease his pain. She also helped reposition the patient and moved his bed so that his dad, mom and three younger sisters could gather around him. 

Tricia Griffin closes car door and prepares to go to patient home

When the boy’s mother asked if it was time to call extended family members, Tricia shared it was time. The extended family were able to be there, and Tricia stayed past her shift for emotional and spiritual support. She sat with the boy and held his hand and let him know that the night nurse would be able to come stay with him. She offered to stay for as long as the boy needed her to. He squeezed her hand and in between breaths he said thank you for everything and that it was okay for Tricia to leave. 

The child died not long after Tricia left. 

“This case touched me so deeply,” she said. “I am with people all the time during the dying process and still think about this family. I can’t even imagine one of my children dying and how incredibly hard that was for this family. Young people aren’t supposed to die.” 
It can be common for survivors to express fear and anger. But when the parents called around 2 a.m. with the death notification and talked with the night nurse, they spoke only of how comfortable and peaceful their child was in the final moments. They described Tricia's care and the time she spent with them as having a healing effect.  

What Tricia does for patients and families is known as accompaniment. It is a commitment to be fully present with those whose lives intersect our own.

“Nights are long, lonely and scary when you or someone you love is on their journey of dying. Accompaniment only occurs from a place of humility, compassion and respect. Tricia provides all this and more,” said Jodi Newcomer, Tricia’s supervisor. 

Tricia truly lives PeaceHealth’s healing Mission. She delivers care with the utmost respect and compassion to relieve the pain and suffering of patients and their families.  

Tricia is PeaceHealth’s 2023 systemwide Mission and Values Award recipient for the Value of Respect. These awards recognize inspiring caregivers who are living PeaceHealth’s Mission and Values of Social Justice, Stewardship, Respect and Collaboration, every day.

Learn more about PeaceHealth’s other 2023 systemwide Mission and Values Awards honorees: