Helping loved ones say goodbye

We are IU Health

May 20, 2020

When Traci Dodds, RN, went to the home of a new hospice patient late one night to perform a “tuck in,” she was met with a distraught and confused family. The patient had gone from preparing for a transplant to nonresponsive. Her daughter—pregnant with her first child—was left reeling and heartbroken over her mother’s sudden decline.

Dodds immediately stepped in to support the grieving family. She walked them through why she was there and how hospice could support them, connected with a doctor to obtain the correct medications, and even went to the pharmacy to pick them up.

The next day, she went back to the home and found the daughter at her mother’s bedside, crying. She told Dodds that everyone had given her mother permission to die, but she believed she was waiting to find out the sex of the baby—the two had been planning a gender reveal party—but her ultrasound wasn’t for another week.

“Sometimes, we do see that patients are hanging on for a reason,” says Dodd. “I have had several patients where there has been family overseas in the military and grandma’s waiting for that last phone call from her grandson.”

Dodd’s called the OB/GYN, explained the circumstances and got permission for the daughter to go and have the ultrasound immediately. The patient died within two hours of her daughter sharing the news—it was a girl and she would be named in her honor.

At the beginning of March, Traci Dodds, RN, was named System Clinical Services Q1 DAISY winner. Nominated by fellow nurse Janet Condor, RN, Dodds was surprised at Bloomington's Home Health and Hospice Quarterly Town Hall.

“Traci represents the true meaning of hospice,” said Janet Condor in her DAISY nomination for Dodds. “Hospice was there to help that patient have a peaceful, quiet, dignified death and Traci was there to help the family in their darkest time.”

There’s no such thing as a typical day for Dodds. As a hospice nurse, she takes care of patients at the end of their lives and that looks different for each patient and for their families.

What is constant is the incredible compassion and care she provides to both. Whether she’s making her patient more comfortable, comforting a distraught family or helping fulfill someone’s dying wishes, Dodds lets patients’ needs guide her care.

“I love being there for the patients, I love the end of life care that we give and the compassion we show towards our patients and their families,” says Dodds. “End of life care is very rewarding.”

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Hospice

Hospice provides care at home or a facility for persons whose life expectancy due to illness is six months or less.