Stories from the Front Lines: Stacy Nichols
During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Blue Ridge Hospice team continued caring for patients. Here is Stacy’s story.
During the pandemic we limited how many staff members could visit a patient in-person to reduce unnecessary exposure. Not only was I working as a CNA, but I also became the face of our music therapists, volunteers, and grief counselors. I happily took on these roles for all of my patients, but I’ll never forget my experience with one family in particular.
I had the pleasure of caring for a man five days a week and getting to know him and his family. He was a father, had lived a healthy life, and had a fulfilling career. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease and COPD last year. His wife was struggling and overwhelmed, and I became her shoulder to cry on.
Since losing that in-person contact with the other roles at BRH, I sang, danced, helped with things around the house, relayed concerns, or just spent time with the patient and his family. Dying is already hard for everyone, but during this difficult time of uncertainty, it became even more important to reassure them that they would get through this and to make the best of every day.
I was told by a family member every single day that they were thankful that I came into their lives and that I was sent to them for a reason. They thought of me as family, especially since they couldn’t have their real family around them during this pandemic.
For me, there was no hesitation to do my job during this pandemic, even if it meant doing things that weren’t in my job description. This is the beauty of the career I chose and it is what I love to do. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I am grateful to have been able to experience this level of closeness that wouldn’t have been possible outside of the pandemic.
Certified Nursing Assistant, Blue Ridge Hospice