Delivering health with care: Stories and Videos

At Lifespan, we live our mission of Delivering health with care every day, by providing the highest quality care, with kindness and empathy for each patient. The following stories exemplify what Delivering health with care means to us.

Do you know a Lifespan employee who went above and beyond to care for a patient? Please send us your story.

Prescription: Care

Elizabeth Stefanilo, RN at The Miriam Hospital, collaborated with the Lifespan Pharmacy to help a patient's husband receive medication at his wife's bedside. 

“Elizabeth exemplifies what it means to give health with care,” says Christina Sepulveda, RN, BSN, assistant clinical manager on the unit.

Earlier in 2016, Elizabeth learned that a patient’s husband did not have enough of his blood pressure medication. Because his wife of 57 years was in hospice care, he did not wish to leave her bedside, and leave the hospital to get his prescription at his regular pharmacy.

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Comfort Quilt​

At Newport Hospital, Patricia Johnson, RN, showed a mother and daughter compassion and care during their family member's final days.  

Rosetta and Annamaria Izzi, the daughter and granddaughters of a patient in Newport Hospital hospice care, found a loving caregiver in Patricia Johnson, RN, who showed what it means to deliver health with care.

“We were sitting at our dinner table, and my mom suddenly placed her hands on her head, and said her head was hurting,” said Rosetta Izzi. She and her daughter, Annamaria, would soon find themselves in the most difficult situation a family can experience Rosetta's mother was rushed to the Newport Hospital emergency room.

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Colorful Gift

Michael Vanasse at The Miriam Hospital tells the story of how he helped a young patient by giving her the gift of art.  

Michael Vanasse, R. EEG T., a lead EEG technician at The Miriam Hospital, works with children and adults with learning disabilities and adults who have had a mental status change. 

“I had a young lady come in for a test, with her mother,” says Vanasse, who has worked at The Miriam since 1973,  “she was really depressed and having a hard time.” 

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Lisa Poncin, MS, RN, NE-BC, a clinical manager at The Miriam Hospital, and Mary Frappier, a neighbor of the hospital, describe how three employees from The Miriam Hospital came to the immediate aid of Frappier, after she took a dangerous fall on black ice.

On a cold day in January, Mary Frappier, a neighbor to The Miriam Hospital, was walking to her car and slipped on a patch of black ice that had been hidden by a dusting of snow from the night before. Frappier slid underneath her car, disappearing from view behind the four foot tall snow drifts that had accumulated along her driveway. 

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Room With a View

It was a routine morning when Katherine Lucas, a critical care nurse at The Miriam Hospital, was asked by Jason Buckley, another critical care nurse at The Miriam Hospital, to help with a patient in the Intermediate Coronary Unit.  

“I told Jason that the patient looked so sad. Then, later, I was commenting on how nice the view from the room was and we both got the idea to try to give the patient a nice surprise. We went back into the room and told her we had something to show her,” says Lucas. 

I call it the quarter million dollar room,” reflects Buckley. “There’s always something to see, whether it’s seeing people walking to work in the morning or the city lights and sun setting at night.”

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Game Changer

Kathryn Ridout, MD, PhD, a psychiatric resident at Hasbro Children’s hospital, had a job to do. Every morning on her rounds she would wake up patients and assess their medical needs for the day. One such patient was a young boy who, due to a chronic health condition, had been at the hospital for an extended amount of time.

Every morning, Ridout would walk to this young patient’s room and wake him up. As he wiped the sleep from his eyes and realized who was there, he would immediately ask Ridout when she would play video games with him again.

Like most young patients staying in a hospital for an extended time, this boy was frequently bored. Ridout and his other doctors worked to discover the things he enjoyed.

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Linda Chaves, a registered nurse in the Newport Hospital emergency department, was finishing her shift when she saw an elderly woman being admitted into the ER. The woman was complaining of chest pain, and had come from one of the cruise ships that frequent Newport. Chaves learned that the patient had seen the ship’s doctors and they had deemed her condition serious enough to send her to Newport Hospital. 

As per cruise ship protocol, the woman had been sent to the hospital with all her belongings, just in case she needed to stay longer than the ship remained at port. As Chaves began to check the woman in, she learned more about her. 

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Up the Waterslide

It was during Bradley Hospital’s End of Summer Bash when Kevin Kelley, a milieu associate, on the Center for Autism Developmental Disabilities (CADD) team, thought of bringing a young, non-verbal patient to play on the blow-up waterslide, brought in for the day’s festivities. 

Kelley pitched the idea to Erica Barboza, a nurse on the CADD unit, and she agreed it was worth a try. Other team members agreed to help, and they all walked down to the waterslide together and waited for the patient’s reaction. “I told him, ‘Watch what I do,’” says Kelley, “then I slid down first because I wasn’t sure he would know to come down.” 

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St. Mary

Mary Fernandes, RN, is a nurse in Rhode Island Hospital’s D-Pod, the emergency part of Rhode Island Hospital that helps serve psychiatric patients and intoxicants. It is here where she first met a patient named Donna. Living with a traumatic brain injury from having been beaten and left for dead, Donna was used to being on the streets and came in to the emergency room almost every day.

Each time Donna would come to the hospital, she was extremely hostile. However, Fernandes explains her calm approach to treating Donna, “I would just talk to her. I would make security go out. I would braid her hair for her, and try to do little things for her.”

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Handle With Care

The story took place a year ago, but Kevin Antonelli, a transporter at The Miriam Hospital, remembers it like it happened yesterday. Antonelli was in the middle of his work day when he was asked to help discharge an elderly female patient.When he asked her if she would like a taxi service to go home, she responded that she lived within walking distance from the hospital. Without hesitation, Antonelli offered to personally escort the woman home. 

The patient was surprised by Antonelli’s offer, but graciously accepted. Antonelli also insisted on pushing her in the wheelchair out of the hospital and onto the sidewalk. Once they arrived at the crosswalk, Antonelli carried her bags across first and then came back to chivalrously offer his arm to her so they could cross the street together.​

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Have Bike, Will Travel

It was a sunny Friday afternoon when Chris DeLucia, pharmacist at the Rhode Island Hospital adult ambulatory medical clinic, was scheduled to meet with a patient for a diabetes education session. When DeLucia reviewed this patient’s vitals, they were elevated. Since this is a frequent occurrence, DeLucia was not overly concerned. However, after the session, DeLucia had the patient’s vitals re-checked, which were once again found to be at elevated levels.

The patient also complained of being dizzy. With this information, DeLucia called attending Mark Schleinitz, MD, who, with the help of Deb Priestly, RN, ran additional tests and determined that the patient should be sent to the emergency department.

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Food for the Soul

Ayelet Kantor, PhD, RD, the clinical nutrition manager for Bradley Hospital, was reading patient satisfaction questionnaires when she noticed one particularly scathing review. When she met with the review’s author later that day, she discovered the patient, due to cultural ties, missed food associated with West Africa.

Kantor says, “The child seemed sad and out of place, and I sensed requesting ethnic comfort food was a way to connect with something familiar.”

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