Wellness Wednesday: End of life care in the wake of COVID-19

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 19:28:03-04

Holly Thorson and Noel Tholen rushed their father to Intermountain Medical Center March 26, 2020. However, due to COVID-19 protocols, they couldn’t be with him when he was transferred to the coronary ICU in critical condition.

The doctors, recognizing their struggle with being separated from their father at such a critical time allowed them a few minutes to say their goodbyes, and then updated them after the medical procedures.

During the next four days the nurses and doctors would update the twin sisters by phone as they called in every three to four hours. One nurse even took the time to read a note to their dad at 1:00 am sent via email from the family.

Then during his last hours, they were allowed to see him again and a nurse reassured them she would stay with him. That nurse was Intermountain Healthcare’s Meisha Kressner, RN who took his hand – comforting and reassuring him as he took his last breath.

“No one should die alone,” said Kressner. “We’ve had to get creative in how we comfort our families and patients – whether that’s reading a letter, setting up a FaceTime, or making phone calls.”

Tholen and Thorson say they understand the need for the COVID-19 visitor restrictions and are so appreciative of the nurses who were there for their dad.

They have put funeral plans on hold. They want to be able to share their father’s memories and honor him with all their family and friends.