Recently Devon Stansbury walked into a room at Christiana Hospital to a standing ovation. The 33-year-old was there to thank the caregivers who saved her life after she experienced a pulmonary embolism and the amputation of her right leg in 2017.
What she didn’t expect was the thanks she received from the caregivers in the room.
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“I feel like I’m just a normal person and I don’t deserve all their thanks,” said Stansbury. “If anything, I’m the one who owes them thanks because I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for all of them.”
Christiana Care’s Center for Provider Wellbeing teams up with Patient Experience to make these reunions possible through a program called the Thank You Project. Patients and caregivers get the chance to reconnect face-to-face to share stories and gratitude after a life-changing experience.
“Those words — ‘thank you’ — over the course of a lifetime are one of the most significant things we can say to each other,” said Vanessa Downing, Ph.D., director of Content Development and Training for the Center for Provider Wellbeing.
“We wanted to create a space where people can really look each other in the eye and tell them what their presence in their life meant to them.”
Chief Wellness Officer Heather Farley, M.D., MHCDS, FACEP, established the Thank You Project in 2017 as part of the Center for Provider Wellbeing. Since then, Christiana Care has arranged five reunions between patients and their caregivers.
“The reunions are so joyous,” Dr. Farley said. “We see that when we serve together, we can make a remarkably positive impact on our patients and their families. Sometimes our work as caregivers seems so routine to us, and we forget that what we do truly matters. Witnessing the gratitude our patients feel helps reconnect us with the deeper meaning of our work.”
The reunions highlight the impact patients make on those who care for them.
“This is why we do what we do. This is why we get up in the morning and go to our shift,” said Rhonda Gill, M.D., of Emergency Medicine, who treated Stansbury in the Emergency Department.
“Even when it’s hard, and even when sometimes it doesn’t go this well, the outcomes like this make it all worthwhile for us.”
If you had an exceptional experience at Christiana Care and would like to say, “thank you,” contact Patient Experience at 302-733-1379 or email Natalie Dyke in Patient Experience at email@example.com.