Caregivers at Cherokee Medical Center Help to Calm Couple
ROME, Ga., Aug. 30, 2023 – Caregivers carry a tremendous burden, and when the person they are caring for is unable to care for him or herself, well, sometimes the toll is almost too much to bear.
Mr. Smith is the sole caregiver for his wife. She uses a wheelchair and is completely dependent on her husband and the staff at Cherokee Medical Center (CMC) for her care. One day, when Mr. Smith's wife was scheduled for a Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Jade Perry knew that team of radiologic technologists at CMC might need her help.
She had just finished her lunch break and decided to see whether she could relieve one of her teammates so they could take a break. When Jade walked into the CT area, Kerry Sayre and Kaci Lowe were standing with Mr. Smith while Lettie Harris and Jamie McDonald attended to his wife. The usually cheerful and smiling Mr. Smith was in tears. His raw emotion caused Jade to think the worst.
This particular day, Mrs. Smith was not very responsive to her husband or her care team. Her condition and the fatigue of caring for the love of his life prompted an emotional response for which Mr. Smith apologized.
“I'm sorry. I just needed a moment," he said, but no apology was needed.
“Let's take a break," Kerry and Kaci told Mr. Smith. The scan could wait. At this moment, it was Mr. Smith who needed care. They invited him to share his feelings.
As he spoke, Kerry, Kaci, Lettie, Jamie and Jade gathered around him, and when he finished, Kaci offered to lead the group in a prayer with him. There, in the quiet of the CT area, the six of them bowed their heads and prayed for Mr. Smith and his wife.
After the prayer, the team performed the scan Mrs. Smith needed, and when it was complete, Kaci escorted them back to the emergency department. When she didn't return immediately, Jade wondered if there had been another incident with the Smiths, but that was not the case. She had decided to remain with the Smiths a while longer and pray with them again.
Jade said she was intensely moved by her team's response.
“It was just sweet," she said. “They took a minute out of the chaos that happens at the hospital. They stopped everything they were doing to give him a moment to let out his frustrations and stress and to just pray with him."
Mr. Smith returned later to thank the radiology team for their compassion.
“I don't usually let my emotions get to me," he told them, “but today was just hard."
“It's hard being the primary care giver, especially for someone who cannot do anything for themselves," Jade said. “Seeing our team respond made me proud of all of them for giving him that space to be vulnerable."
About Atrium Health Floyd
The Atrium Health Floyd family of health care services is a leading medical provider and economic force in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. Atrium Health Floyd is part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Advocate Health, the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Floyd employs more than 3,5 00 teammates who provide care in over 40 medical specialties at three hospitals: Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center – a 304-bed full-service, acute care hospital and regional referral center in Rome, Georgia; Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center in Cedartown, Georgia; and Atrium Health Floyd Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, Alabama; as well as Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center Behavioral Health – a freestanding 53-bed behavioral health facility in Rome – and also primary care and urgent care network locations throughout northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.
About Advocate Health
Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 150,000 team members across 67 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation's largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $5 billion in annual community benefits.