Going Above and Beyond to Care for Patients and Families at The Alice Center

A loved one’s inpatient stay in the hospital can create anxiety under the best circumstances – and for adults with aging parents, the visits often come with unexpected stressors, including the shock of seeing them struggle to bounce back from an injury or medical condition that had previously resulted in less serious or urgent outcomes.

For Anne Reynolds and her siblings, a recent inpatient stay at Alice Hyde for their mother, Eileen Mattoon, created just such a scenario. Eileen, who is 92, had suffered a medical event earlier this year which left her with stroke-like symptoms: she was weak, unable to speak, collect her thoughts, had a fever and was feeling generally unwell.

“Things like this have happened in the past,” said Anne, “and usually within twenty-four hours she comes back around.”

This time, however, Anne’s mother didn’t bounce back like she previously had. After the event occurred, the family had taken Eileen to Alice Hyde’s Emergency Department, where she had been admitted to the hospital’s Medical-Surgical Unit, but after the first 24 hours, Anne and her siblings faced an unfamiliar situation: their mother continued to require inpatient care and wasn’t showing the day-after-day improvement they were used to seeing.

Anne, who has worked at Alice Hyde as an executive assistant for nearly two decades, said that no matter how much you prepare yourself as a parent grows older, it’s still shocking and emotional when even established medical issues suddenly grow more acute.

“I remember walking into her (mom’s) room one of the first mornings, and thinking that I would come in and she would be (recovering),” she said. “And when I walked in and she wasn’t back to herself like she would have been in the past, it was so emotional for me. I was so worried that my mother wasn’t going to come back from this.”

That’s when Anne and her family first met Megan Locke, a nurse aide on Alice Hyde’s Medical-Surgical inpatient care team whose care of Eileen and interactions with Anne and her family left the longtime Alice Hyde employee grateful and amazed at the skill and thoughtfulness Megan displayed.

“We (my sisters and I) talked about it every single day,” said Anne.

Eileen’s treatment included intravenous drug therapy and other inpatient care, and left Anne and three of her sisters – Diana Grant, Michele Bronner, and Debbie Kaufmann, a retired physician assistant -- taking turns as they stayed with her around the clock in the hospital. While there, they got to see just how skilled and dedicated members of the inpatient care team are every single day.

“We got the full view of care at Alice Hyde – which was a really great experience,” said Anne. “I’ve worked here over sixteen years and never really saw that side of it. Everyone who walked into my mom’s room – environmental services, nutrition services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, radiology, nursing, the physicians -- was absolutely phenomenal.”

Anne said that despite all of the excellent care her mother received, and the frequent, positive interactions they had with every member of her care team, Megan still stood out as exceptional.

“Every time she walked into the room, everything just lit up,” said Anne. “She was that good; that confident, nurturing and caring.”

As Anne and her sisters finally began to see their mother improve and, ultimately, make a full recovery, Anne said one of her enduring happy memories from the ordeal was walking into Eileen’s room one morning, to hear her mother say ‘good morning’ – the first time she had really spoken since being admitted to the hospital.

“I’ve always been proud to work for Alice Hyde; I think we do amazing things,” said Anne. “But I have never been more proud than I was when my mother was a patient and I was able to see first-hand the incredible care we offer here.   And I still feel that way.”