Going Above and Beyond to Care for a Young IMCU Patient

Codie Brown, RN, Honored with Alice Hyde's first DAISY Award

Being admitted to the hospital can create anxiety for any patient, regardless of their age. For the youngest patients and their families, however, a trip to the emergency room or an overnight stay on an inpatient unit comes with added complexity – especially when the patient is so young that they often struggle to communicate with their loved ones and care team.

Keeping a young patient calm and providing compassionate care to both the child and her family is what prompted Kara Leonard to nominate Registered Nurse Codie Brown for Alice Hyde’s first-ever DAISY Award.

Alice Hyde’s emergency department (ED) is where Kara’s husband, Mike, and her two-year-old daughter, Piper, found themselves on the night of Valentine’s Day 2022. Piper, a spunky child who had recovered from COVID-19 the previous month, had come down with a high fever and was struggling to breath when Mike rushed her to Alice Hyde’s ED.

“It was just a very stressful situation,” said Kara, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time. “It’s scary for Piper, because she’s two; she’s very sick; we’re getting ready for another baby … It was just nerve-wracking and stressful.”

Kara, a billing specialist and insurance coordinator at Alice Hyde Dental Clinic, said that Piper’s condition was serious enough that she was placed on supplemental oxygen when they arrived at the ED. As Piper’s care team searched for an open bed in pediatric care units around the region, Kara arrived at Alice Hyde determined to spend the night with Piper in Alice Hyde’s ED.

For Kara, the experience was stressful. But she said her familiarity with members of the care team and the fact that the hospital had cared for Piper as an infant— Piper had spent eight days at Alice Hyde, due to an infection that caused breathing problems — gave her comfort.

“It was comforting to be here and around people that we knew,” said Kara.

The next morning, with no available beds in dedicated pediatric care facilities, Piper was admitted to Alice Hyde’s Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU), where she first met Codie Brown, RN. As Piper’s treatment continued – she required multiple IVs in addition to oxygen, and would remain in Alice Hyde’s IMCU for four days — Kara said Codie quickly emerged as someone who could bring a smile to her daughter’s face.

“He was just very good with her,” said Kara. “Codie took the time to interact and talk with her, and it was amazing to see how they connected. I think it’s hard for people to understand how big a job it is to keep a young child calm and entertained in that situation. When they’re two, they don’t want to sit still with an oxygen meter on one foot and an IV in the other.”

By Piper’s third day in the IMCU, Kara said, Codie had created a balloon for her to play with using a surgical glove, and continue to find ways to keep the restless 2-year-old, who would eventually be discharged the following day, calm and comfortable.”

“My husband, Mike, and I both know Codie, and we trust him. Seeing him walk through the door of Piper’s room that first day made us feel so much better, even during what was a really, really anxious time for our family,” said Kara.