Going Above and Beyond for Our Patients

four women wearing masks standing together in front of a bulletin board

Pictured: Deb Monck, RN, (left center) and Jill Simmons, RN Care Manager (right center) with colleagues at LincolnHealth.

During another incredibly challenging year, countless care team members have embraced the MaineHealth vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. Often, they have taken it upon themselves to provide compassionate care tailored to each patient – even when it is outside the scope of their job.

The unsung heroes of our health care system go above and beyond to support our patients, leading them to a better hospital and ambulatory experience, as well as improved recovery times and health maintenance.

These care team members exemplify the MaineHealth value of patient-centered care. They work tirelessly to make patients feel comfortable, seen, heard and safe—especially when those patients may not be able to advocate for themselves. Below are just a few examples of how MaineHealth care team members have met the numerous challenges of the past year to deliver care with kindness and compassion.

RNs Help Move a Patient with Complex Needs to Specialized Care

Sometimes, patients arrive at a hospital with short-term illnesses and long-term complex needs that require specialized care. The lack of beds in specialized units can often lead to patients awaiting a transfer to a new facility, with their needs requiring significant attention in the interim.

Such was the case at LincolnHealth, where a patient spent more than two years awaiting placement in a specialized unit. Deb Monck, RN, spent many hours caring for this individual, doing so in a respectful, dignified and patient-centered way. As Monck got to know the patient, she would brighten her day by bringing in her favorite foods and occasionally some everyday items to make her feel more at home.

All the while, Jill Simmons, RN Case Manager, worked tirelessly to find the patient a place that could best meet her complex needs. She provided consistent support, established trust and became the patient’s advocate and voice when she was unable to speak for herself.

When a facility was identified, Monck went with the patient to an out-of-state site to provide care and companionship. Later, she packed up the patient’s belongings and took a final ride to the facility to help her settle in.

A Care Manager Closet Supports a Healthier Patient Population

Rachel Fowler, RN, a care manager in one of LincolnHealth’s primary care practices, is known for going the extra mile for patients. When she identifies a patient need, she immediately seeks a solution.

Fowler recognized that several patients were unable to purchase the basic care items that allow them to achieve their best health outcomes. She swiftly developed a plan to assist patients, establishing a “care manager closet” to have these items available for those in need. From there, Rachel created a general list of items along with the associated costs – from pill boxes to thermometers, to hearing aid batteries and more. She shared this idea with her team, and from that point on, other care team members became involved in supporting the project.

Now, for example, if a patient needs to monitor their blood pressure regularly and can’t afford the cost of a monitor, they can get one from the closet. Having basic but important supplies readily available helps patients follow their doctor’s instructions while lifting the burden of unforeseen expenses.

Two women in masks standing together in front of a window

Pictured: Rena White, RN, (left) and Rachel Fowler, RN care manager (right). Rena nominated Rachel for the Van Winkle Award, recognizing her for the development of the “care manager closet.”

An RN Goes Where Needed Most Amid COVID-19 Surges

Nancy Caperton, RN at Southern Maine Health Care, shined as she generously helped whenever and wherever needed with an unwavering commitment to compassionate, patient-centered care during the COVID-19 pandemic. She consistently went above and beyond to care for our patients and support her fellow care team members by working in the areas of greatest need.

Caperton was a practice RN who came forward to staff the COVID-19 Mental Health Unit at the onset of the pandemic. She was required to take Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB) training and provided great support to the Mental Health Unit. Caperton also worked at The Newton Center (SMHC’s ElderCare Facility) during an outbreak. She then cross-trained to work in Endocrinology to support the care of inpatients during an almost unprecedented surge. Continuing to serve, Caperton staffed both the employee and community COVID-19 vaccine clinics as MaineHealth quickly worked to vaccinate as many people as possible.

“Nurses like Nancy are my health care heroes—always thinking about what is best for the patient, always willing to help take the stress off other members of the care team, and always responding to our requests for help graciously, and taking on every new responsibility with ownership and excellence,” said Suzanne Menard, Director of Payor Performance, MaineHealth Finance Central Billing Office.

Woman in scrubs and mask holding a bouquet of flowers

Pictured: Nancy Caperton, RN, recipient of Southern Maine Health Care’s 2021 Caregiver of the Year honor. 

A Patient’s End-of-Life Wishes Are Met with Compassion

Stacey Morse, RN, Director of Nursing at Mid Coast Senior Health, delivers high-quality care to the residents who call the facility home. Morse knows that clinical expertise is only one part of her role; she recognizes that compassion and care go hand in hand. Her supportive nature and attention to each patient’s individual needs amplify the clinical therapies she provides.

Recently, Morse went above and beyond to provide a patient diagnosed with a terminal illness the quality of life they deserved. As the patient’s disease rapidly progressed, she chose to take advantage of Maine’s Death with Dignity law. Morse researched the law and met frequently with the patient and her husband, offering both insights and gentle support to help them throughout the process. Alongside the hospice team, Morse played a pivotal role in coordinating this patient’s wishes. Morse worked hard to ensure this individual and her beloved husband could spend quality time together. She answered their questions and provided compassionate support during an extremely emotional time. Morse’s embrace of this patient and her specific needs perfectly illustrates her commitment to individualized care.

Woman wearing a mask standing in front of a nurses' station

Pictured: Stacey Morse, RN, Director of Nursing at Mid Coast Senior Health.