Withstanding discharge and distance: The unbreakable bond between patients and caregivers

Nursing Our people
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Cat Alewine, home health RN case manager with Encompass Health in Bluffton, SC, and patient Betty Barcikowski
The strong bonds built between patients and caregivers provide many benefits. Often times, clinicians are more satisfied with their job and patients recover more quickly.

When Cat Alewine, home health RN case manager with Encompass Health in Bluffton, SC, met her new patient Betty Barcikowski, she knew it was the beginning of a unique friendship that went beyond the realms of the typical patient/caregiver relationship.

Now, despite the fact that Betty is no longer on service, after Betty moved three hours away instead of a simple call or text to check-in, Cat made the drive to see her friend face-to-face to make sure she was settling into her new home.

After spending eight days in a hospital and 16 days in a skilled nursing facility, Betty landed on Cat’s service to receive home health treatment.

“Cat was a life-saver. Even if she wasn’t physically here she was always accessible over the phone to answer any questions,” Betty said.

Cat went one step further by even training Betty’s family on proper treatment plans for diabetes management, wound care, IV therapy and memory care to ensure they were able to properly care for their loved one.

While under Cat’s care, Betty was able to make great strides in her recovery, while also forming a strong bond and lifelong friendship with Cat. For Cat, being a home health nurse means so much more than providing exceptional care to her patients. The bonds she makes while on the job are just as satisfying, and often times even help patients recover quicker.

“To me it’s more than a job it is a calling. Just because she’s no longer my patient, I’ve never stopped caring for her,” said Cat.

Despite the fact that Betty struggles with memory issues, reuniting with her friend Cat is one memory she will never forget.

“I don’t require a thank you. What I love most about being a nurse is knowing that I helped a family feel comfortable and less stressed, while they are trusting me with their love one,” said Cat.