MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Before and during the pandemic, nurses provide love and care every day for their patients. With Christmas approaching, ICU nurses took it upon themselves to ensure their patients feel the spirit and love of the holidays, even in the ICU.
Gift bags are piling up ready to be delivered to ICU patients at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis for patients that will be stuck in the hospital for the holidays.
Between the long shifts, ICU registered nurses Kelsey Fiveash, Sarah Dixon and London Marais have collected thousands of dollars and gift donations to be given to their patients.
"These patients aren’t able to see their families and so we just wanted to do something nice for them on Christmas...," Dixon said. “We just really wanted to do something nice for them to bring them some holiday cheer and spirit because the hospital is going to be busy."
They've also collected and decorated posters to cover the walls of the patient rooms.
“All they see is four walls and a tv and they struggle," Fiveash said. "So this is just going to be something that we do to help get us all through it.”
While in the ICU, COVID-19 patients cannot see their families with the exception of through a virtual screen. But there's no shortage of family when it comes to the nurses that care for them. Like family, is exactly how the nurses approach each patient.
"I just hope they come to the realization that we care," Fiveash said. "We’re here. We care and we are rooting for you and we want you to get better.”
Fiveash said it's therapeutic for the nurses who have witnessed their fair share of tragic stories in the ICU. Fiveash adds they've also seen good ones of recoveries too.
“I’ve had families who have lost their loved ones in the ICU donate specifically to this cause because it meant so much to them to watch us take care of their family every day," Fiveash said.
The gift boxes are packed full of items to make patients not only feel loved but feel more comfortable during their stay, meant to provide a smile and motivation to continue their fight and recovery.
“A lot of these patients don’t want to eat because they can’t taste so we wanted to give them something a little extra so that they can feel some nourishment whether it’s spiritually, emotionally or just actual nutrition so they can take their medicine," Dixon said.
Dixon and Fiveash thanked the Baptist-Memorial family and community for their contributions and support for the gifts. They've been able to make more than 70 gift bags for patients.