Bayhealth palliative care team creates touching memento

June 9, 2020

The Bayhealth Palliative Care team, which includes Theresa Latorre-Tegtmeier, MSN, APRN, NP-C; Jessica Taylor, MSN, APRN, PHCNS-BC; Suzette Flores, DNP, BSW, APRN, NP-C; and Robin Maracle, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, came up with a touching memento for the families of their end-of-life patients.

With the consent of the patient and their family members, they take the patient’s thumbprints and put them together and make a heart. The hearts are then placed on a small index card with the words “Our Fingerprints Don’t Fade From the Lives We Touch” printed on it. They place this card into a small organza bag, along with a test tube containing an EKG strip of the patient’s heartbeat with the date and time of death written on the back of the strip. The bag is then sent to the family members who could not be present at the time of death or is given to those who were at the bedside.

“While a small gesture, this is such a beautiful representation of the compassion of our staff as they are serving through such trying times,” said the Rev. Carol Harris, chaplain supervisor, who is part of the palliative care team. “The hearts of their patients and family members matter so much to them, and while we do this for our palliative patients, it can be done for all end-of-life patients and their families.”

For one patient who was passing away, the team made a heart by connecting his thumbprint with his wife’s thumbprint, Harris said.

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