When Whitney Spink was assigned to care for Helen Pratt in the COVID-19 unit at Baptist Health Paducah in early April, she wanted to provide the best care she could, not only for Pratt, but for her family.
Pratt, who was on a ventilator for three days in the ward, couldn’t talk, Spink said, but when a family member asked if they could see Pratt, she was quick to give them her cell phone number and arrange multiple video calls.
“I talked with them at least twice a day for the three or four days that I took care of her,” said Spink, a registered nurse.
Pratt died April 6 at 73 years old, but not before Spink was able to facilitate one more video call — with Pratt’s priest in order for her to receive last rites.
Spink was honored Tuesday at the hospital with the DAISY Award for “extraordinary compassionate care,” with Pratt’s family watching, again by videoconference, some of her family members as far away as Alaska.
“She really went beyond what was expected for anybody in that room. It meant the world to us,” said Pratt’s son, Thomas Pratt.
Though his mother couldn’t talk, he said he was sure “it meant the world to her for the priest to be able to talk to her.”
Her husband, Charles Pratt, called Spink’s care “better than what we could expect.”
“It was super great,” he said.
“It really helped the entire family, probably Helen also.”
Spink said though Pratt couldn’t talk to her or see her family in person, she wanted to let the woman know she was cared for the whole time she was in the hospital.
“Every time I went in that room, I reminded her of all four of her kids and her husband, and how much they loved her, and let her know that she wasn’t in there alone.”
When the priest called to perform the ceremony, Spink said she held Pratt’s hand while he said the prayer and the Rosary.
“That’s the best way to go, is with all your family gathered around you and holding your hands. She didn’t get that opportunity.”
Spink said she appreciated the award, but said her choices in Pratt’s care weren’t motivated by a desire for recognition.
“I want to go the extra mile and I want to treat my patients like I would want my grandma to be treated.”