"Someone to Watch over Me" - Bedside Attendants at Roswell Park

Pictured: Hospital Clinical Assistant LaShaun Suttles, left, with patient Elaine Wylegala

A hospital stay can be complicated for patients who are confused or disoriented due to dementia or the effects of their medications. They need someone with them around the clock, for safety’s sake. “If patients don’t have anyone watching over them at these critical times, they’re likely to fall or can easily pull out IV lines and catheters,” says LaShaun Suttles, Hospital Clinical Assistant at Roswell Park. “Some patients are not lucid enough to know what they’re doing. They don’t recognize or realize that they need help.”

While loved ones are usually on hand to keep an eye on the situation, sometimes they have to leave to eat dinner, sleep, or take care of things at home. When they can’t stay with the patient, Roswell Park’s bedside attendants take over. Funded with gifts from generous donors, the bedside attendants program provides certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to deliver an extra level of care for patients with special needs. In addition to helping patients out of bed, “they are responsible for bathing the patient, taking their vital signs, ordering their meals, and assisting them when they eat,” explains Julia Shutt, MSN, RN, Nurse Administrator in the Assessment & Treatment Center.

The program comes with a double benefit — safety for the patient and peace of mind for the patient’s loved ones. Says Shutt, “It’s a comfort for the family when they go home, knowing their confused family member is safe.”

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