Brittany Kloft knows her work requires a team approach. As she recalls a critically ill patient with COVID-19 for whom she cared, Kloft, RN, staff nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), was especially grateful for the support of her team.
“I really relied on my co-workers, because they understand the stress of all of this, the anxiety it can cause, and our work during the last year,” says Kloft. “We are sharing in this experience together.”
When this patient was admitted to her unit, Kloft knew her team stood ready to help.
“This particular patient really affected me personally,” she says. “It was a combination of the patient’s son being close to my age, and the fact that the patient had a sister, and I have a sister with whom I’m really close.”
Working as one
After physicians began ordering tests and Kloft began providing care, she recognized that being alone was difficult for the patient.
“In the middle of the night, as the patient became sicker, we called the family,” she says.
After the patient’s sister arrived, Kloft stayed by the bedside. But she knew her co-workers were right outside the room to help.
“We have the pumps outside the room, we have medications outside the room,” she says. “I was really thankful my co-workers were able to titrate my medications and grab things I needed.”
Before it’s too late
The patient’s son flew in the next morning and joined his aunt. Kloft helped him get gowned up with personal protective equipment (PPE) and brought him into the room.
“I tried to provide the space for the family to deal with what was going on,” says Kloft. “I brought in paper to take fingerprints, we played music in the room, and I helped them take photos holding hands, to help create memories.”
Kloft’s charge nurse reached out for resources about grief while she consulted with a social worker. Kloft also brought in a chaplain before her patient passed away with permission from the family.
For showing the ultimate compassion and kindness in taking care of a patient in their final hours, Kloft received the DAISY Award.
“I couldn’t have gone through this without my team; they’re really the only ones that can fully understand what it’s like,” she says. “I was so fortunate to be with the family. I’ll never forget the last thing the patient’s sister said to me, ‘Tell your sister you love her, because you never know when it’ll be too late.’”