Educated healing: How a nurse prepared a patient's family for home care

Katelyn Ahmann receives DAISY Award and poses with team

The care our nurses provide often continues after a patient is discharged. For patients to heal properly at home, sometimes our team must prepare them and their family members for continuous healing.  

While working in the recovery unit for trauma surgery, Katelyn Ahmann, RN, received her DAISY Award for the way she educated a patient’s spouse on how to continue care from home, easing the anxiety of the spouse.  

The patient had just had emergency surgery, leaving them with an incision along their abdomen. The wound would require continued care after the patient was sent home, a responsibility that would likely fall to their spouse. 

“I was scared, upset, and sure that this was a taller order than I could fill,” the spouse wrote in the nomination letter.

Dedication to education

Ahmann encouraged the spouse by walking them through the steps of changing the bandages over the patient’s incision—and even let the spouse film her actions for reference.  

She also made sure the family knew that they could connect with local nursing students who could potentially come to their home to assist with dressing changes.  

It was this kind of dedication to education that made Ahmann’s efforts stand out.

Feeling confident

Her personal philosophy is that patients and their families should feel as confident as possible when they’re discharged.  

“I try and involve the family as much as the family wants to be involved, because I find that that’s when the patient is most successful,” Ahmann says.  

Ahmann understands that learning in a hospital setting can be intimidating. Through her care, she hopes to ease that burden off the family.  

“When you’re a family member of a patient, you’re worried about your loved one.  It can feel so unnerving,” Ahmann says. “So, if I can make the family feel better, then they’ll help the patient feel better.”