Sep 12 2017 The Power of Human Connection
By: Norene Mostkoff, President & CEO
People are social creatures; we crave human connection at some level. Often, the elderly are shut out from the daily hustle and bustle of their family’s busy lives. They can get lonely. Recently, a patient reached out to me with a question. After speaking with her, I realized what she really needed was just someone to talk to.
I received an email from Jane, a 97-year-old patient, looking for her nurse. She found my email address on our website. Don’t worry, I will not be sharing any private or personal information, Jane is not her real name—this blog is HIPAA compliant. Since her phone number was in the email, I immediately picked up the phone and dialed her number. We had a delightful conversation. Jane shared with me about her children, she had 6 but had lost 2 and she was looking forward to seeing them in heaven. She told me about her life, her triumphs, and her tragedies.
The purpose of her email was to locate her nurse, Bob. She told me that Bob had given her his number and told her to call anytime she needed anything. I asked her if she was ok, did she feel sick, was she in pain, and specifically, what could I do to help. Basically, she was fine. After about 20 minutes on the phone, I told her that I would try to find Bob and would be back in touch within the hour.
After a quick search in our staff directory, I found that we had no nurse here named Bob. And after a little more searching, I found that Jane was a patient and was discharged from our services over a year ago. I did find out that Jane had been served more recently by another home health company—which I figured might have a nurse named Bob.
What Jane needed was someone to talk to and some help with community resources. I was grateful that our community services team was able to help Jane. Since I couldn’t find Bob, I gave Jane my phone number to call if she needed anything.
Jane needed someone to talk to—plain and simple. When we are helping others, we think we are giving back but it was actually me that received a great gift. It was a joy to talk with Jane about her life.
Sometimes people feel isolation as they age. Please reach out today to someone that may feel isolated. Give them a gift of your time. I promise you will be the one enriched.