Former Patient, Family Share Story of Relationship-Based Care
Greg Coutu, a former patient of the Neurosciences ICU, shared his story during the annual State of the Department of Nursing Address.
At this year's State of the Nursing Department address on May 14, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, focused on the Professional Practice model and Relationship-Based Care, the BWH nursing care delivery model. In the model, relationships with patients and families are at the center of nursing practice in concert with relationship with self, colleagues and communities.
What better way to illustrate Relationship-Based Care than from the perspective of patients and families? During the address, Somerville brought together former patient Greg Coutu and his wife, Jillian, who have known each other since birth, as well as his primary nurse, Colin Moroney, RN, and Shaun Golden, MSN, RN, nursing director of the Neurosciences ICU, to discuss their experiences as patient, family and caregivers.
Coutu's BWH journey began on Feb. 19, when he visited the hospital for a biopsy of a small tumor in his brain.
Following the procedure, his care team discovered moderate bleeding near the site, which they thought was a complication of the biopsy. However, three days later, they realized that Coutu had experienced a ruptured aneurysm, located about a centimeter from the tumor.
From left, Shaun Golden, Colin Moroney and Greg and Jillian Coutu reunite for a photo before the State of the Department address.
Coutu underwent an emergency procedure to treat the aneurysm, as well as additional surgery when a second aneurysm was discovered. He had three brain surgeries in just two weeks.
With his dedicated nurses and family members by his side at nearly all times, Coutu awoke for the first time after two weeks and was able to begin walking again after a month. He was discharged from BWH on April 1, on his way to recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
"We learn from the experts: our patients and families," said Moroney, who as a father to young kids himself, could relate to this patient and family situation. "I was committed to getting Greg back to his family."
Before the panel discussion, a video diary that Jillian created to help her husband remember his time at BWH was shared with the audience. The moving video contained footage of Greg with his two young sons before surgery, and the couple's first child, 2-year-old Jake, speaking with his father by video chat for the first time after surgery, as well as photos of Coutu with his care team.
"Our whole family felt genuinely cared for by the nurses on the Tower 9 ICU, as well as the Tower 10 step-down unit," said Jillian. "We never panicked. We have such affection for all of BWH's nurses and everything they do for patients. We received the kind of Relationship-Based Care that was described here today."
Just a couple months after leaving BWH, Coutu's life is getting back to normal. He is at home with Jillian, Jake and 9-month-old Gavin. His physicians even gave him permission to golf again.
Panel participants (from left) Shaun Golden, Colin Moroney, Greg and Jillian Coutu and Jackie Somerville discuss the Coutus' experience at BWH and Relationship-Based Care.
"Everyone at BWH was working together as a team during my entire stay," he said. "We are so thankful."
Added Golden: "Making sure that our nurses have the time for conversations with family members is so important and facilitates the compassionate, patient- and family-centered care our nurses provide. Our nurses really took the time to get to know the Coutus as people, not just as patients, as we do with all those who are admitted to the Neurosciences ICU."
Coutu added, "Fenway Park used to be my favorite place in the world. Now, I think it's BWH."
To view the Coutus' video diary, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DN5MexzKf8
Prior to speaking with the Coutus during the address, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, thanked BWH's dedicated nurses for their Marathon response efforts and announced the Department of Nursing's generous donation of $4,000 to One Fund Boston in the name of BWH nurses in lieu of the department's annual ice cream social.
"The Marathon was a humbling opportunity to act: to console, to help and to heal," said Somerville. "I feel so blessed to be part of the Brigham family."