Local Nurses Are Sewing Aprons for Patients on The Longest Day

The Longest Day is all about love. Love for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Between now and June 21st, teams are gathering to help end Alzheimer’s while honoring the longest day of the year, summer solstice. One of those teams was started at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View where a group of nurses decided to sew aprons for their patients. Mae Dizon, NICHE Program Nurse Practitioner, shares their story.

Tell us about your team and what you focus on at the hospital.

El Camino Hospital was designated as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) hospital in 2011. NICHE is a program that aims to help hospitals and other healthcare organizations improve the care of older adults and to bring evidence-based resources to nurses and other members of the healthcare team. The hospital’s NICHE Committee has adopted this mission through various training sessions, educational events, and bedside mentorship. Mainly, the committee aspires to build the clinical expertise of nurses in geriatrics and to empower these nurses to be the change agents in providing geriatric-centered care. The NICHE Committee is composed of various disciplines with representation from nursing, rehabilitation, and hospital volunteers.

How did you get involved with The Longest Day?

Involvement in the Longest Day actually came from Chris Tarver, The Director of Medical and Surgical services. She participated with another group’s Longest Day event in the past, and received an email for the 2016 event, so she brought the idea to NICHE Committee. She imagined it to be a great event for team building and at the same time create awareness and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Do you have any personal connection to the disease in your team?

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s dementia. She is currently living in the Philippines which adds another layer of complexity in ensuring her safety. Chris’ husband’s grandmother had severe Alzheimer’s dementia, and even though they started dating 30 years ago as teenagers, by then Grandma was not able to recognize any of her grandchildren. She still lived another 13 years, cared for by her daughter, a retired nurse.

The Longest Day is all about love. How does that tie in with what you do?

As nurses, we are called to provide the best care possible for individuals in the hospital. In a day to day basis, we interact with patients with different types of dementia and at different stages. We also interact with their families, friends, and their significant others. At times this can be challenging, however, there are moments when you are able to connect with these patients. These are the instances that remind you why you became a nurse in the first place. The Longest Day is just an extension of that care we provide in the hospital. The event allows us to connect with the community, our co-workers, and other members of the healthcare team. It enables us to have an affect on the health of the community but also have a have a far-reaching impact by participating in a global movement. Essentially, it lets us, nurses, spread the love.

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