Terah Hochhauser

April 25, 2024
A photo of Terah Hochhauser
Terah Hochhauser

Helping a patient regain her appetite and go home

When a patient struggled to transition from a feeding tube to eating by mouth, nurse Terah Hochhauser took extra care to help her.

She created a motivational sign: “Food is medicine. It’s going to help you get out of here. It’s going to help you go home.” Hochhauser skipped meal breaks to dine at the patient’s bedside.

“We just pretended like we were out to lunch somewhere – not, like, in this hospital room,” said Hochhauser, post-trauma RN at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR). “If you’re eating by yourself, you’re not as motivated. But if you’re out at a gathering, it’s more of a social thing.”

The patient had been at the hospital for weeks and was experiencing confusion and anxiety. She needed to be able to eat on her own before she could go home. With family living far away, she didn’t have loved ones immediately available for support.

“After all the surgeries she went through, she just didn’t want to eat,” Hochhauser said. “It’s hard for people to get their appetite back.”

She connected with the patient over a mutual interest in cats, and she worked with her to find which foods she liked best – such as smoothies and macaroni and cheese. She also advised night-shift colleagues to eat their snacks with her.

After Hochhauser took about a week off, she returned to learn the patient had gone home to her family. She had achieved her goals, and the feeding tube was removed.

“It was incredible. It made me really happy,” Hochhauser said.

Hochhauser started working at MCR in 2018 as a certified nursing assistant in trauma-surgical. She graduated nursing school and, in fall 2021, became a registered nurse with the trauma unit.

“Everybody here cares so much. Between doctors, nurses, physical therapists – everyone wants the best,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else, to be honest. Even when I was little, I had a nurse doll.”

Austin Erhart, post-trauma nurse manager, said Hochhauser “is a true patient advocate and was meant to care for others. Terah has real passion for making a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”

You Make Extraordinary Possible

Together, we recognize and honor the qualities within ourselves by shining a spotlight on how each and every one of us improve lives in big ways and small.

Share a story

About the author

Robert Allen loves meeting new people and learning their stories, and he's continually inspired by the patients, staff and providers he meets at UCHealth.

A journalist for 12 years, he joined UCHealth after reporting and editing at the Detroit Free Press. He is the author of Fading Ads of Detroit, a book exploring connections between classic Detroit brands found on ghost signs and in the personal histories of Detroit residents. He previously reported for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Summit Daily News and Montrose Daily Press.

His outdoor adventures include scrambling summits, hunting powder stashes via snowboard and rafting whitewater. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Oklahoma State University and MBA from Colorado State University. He lives in Windsor with his wife, Rachel, and their obstinate pug, Darla.