Stepping in to provide comfort for a confused patient
A patient wound up alone and confused in the emergency department at UCHealth Memorial Hospital North. Suffering from dementia, she didn’t remember how she got to the hospital or why she was there.
When the woman started to panic, Hunter Lindell, an emergency medical technician (EMT), stepped in to help her.
It was a busy night in the emergency department, so Lindell made sure he had adequate EMT coverage, then he went in the patient’s room and asked her if she would like company. He sat down to talk to her.
“I wanted to take her mind off the panic and anxiety that she had from being in an unknown place with an unknown pain. And not really remembering why,” said Lindell.
They began to talk. Lindell shared his lifelong aspiration of becoming a firefighter, something that the patient related to first-hand, as her husband was a career firefighter. Their banter continued for two hours, and Lindell built trust with her and helped alleviate some of the patient’s worries.
“It was a really cool experience to be able to sit with her, get to know her and form that relationship, even if she wasn’t necessarily going to remember it,” Lindell said. “Just to care for her in that way and letting her know that we were there to help her.”
When transport arrived to take the patient home, Lindell remained at her side. With panic starting to set-in again, Lindell reached out and held her hand. He offered comforting words saying, “You’re in good hands. They’re taking you back home. They’ll take good care of you.”
Vanessa Wood, an emergency department nurse at MHN, saw how Lindell’s kindness helped the patient.
“Hunter helped to keep her calm and feel safe. She loved to tell him her stories, and it helped me to be able to then help my other patients,” Wood said. “Our patients are lucky to have someone so calm and patient to be there for them. Hunter is a huge asset to this night shift crew.”
Lindell said the experience was rewarding for him.
“When you’re able to help a patient, as well as help other staff, I always get a sense of joy that comes from it. A sense of being useful. It was a great night.” Lindell added.
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Lindell’s pathway to become a firefighter led him to his current position at UCHealth. As he was attending EMT school, a requirement for firefighting, he fell in love with the medical side of the profession.
Lindell describes his time working at UCHealth as “incredible.”
“We have a really great team,” Lindell said. “We all work well together, so we can provide the best patient care possible.”