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Hospital staff bring married patients together

Patients Together 7 East and 8 West

7 East Clinical Manager Maureen McGrath (third from left) didn’t hesitate to transfer a patient from 8 West whose wife was on 7 East awaiting surgery. On 8 West, Clinical Manager Jeffrey Lepine (right), Clinical Care Leader Kelly Lafontaine (left) and staff members from both units helped make the transfer happen.

As difficult as it is to be a patient in a hospital, it’s even more difficult when you’re admitted at the same time as a spouse.

However, it does happen more often than you’d think. Fortunately, many compassionate doctors, nurses and other staff members across many clinical units and campuses work together to ensure that spouses can be in the same room while at The Ottawa Hospital.

“I want to stress that things like this, or similar to this, happen all the time,” said Maureen McGrath, Clinical Manager for 7 East. “It’s moments like these that remind you why you’re in health care.”

Recently, McGrath was approached by 8 West Clinical Care Leader Kelly Lafontaine about a patient admitted on 8 West. The patient was palliative and his wife was also admitted, on 7 East awaiting surgery. Upon discovering this, there was no question that they would get the patients together – it was just a matter of how.

“This is what I do and why I went into health care,” said Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Donna Maziak.

Patients Together 6 Northwest

A patient of Dr. Donna Maziak (second from right) needed to be admitted, but he did not want to be in the hospital because his wife was about to be admitted for surgery. With the help of 6 Northwest staff and Clinical Manager Jan Leahy (right), they were able to admit both patients to the same unit so they could be together.

In a separate instance, Dr. Maziak discovered during a recent clinic visit that one of her patients would need to be admitted. But he didn’t want that because his wife was about to be admitted for surgery. With the help of Clinical Manager Jan Leahy, they made the special arrangements necessary to admit both patients to 6 Northwest.

It takes an incredible amount of coordination and collaboration amongst various groups – from the doctors, nurses and managers to clerks, social workers and housekeepers – to make the necessary arrangements for patients in these unfortunate circumstances.

It’s the small and often unrecognized acts of kindness that make up the true character of a hospital.

“In situations like these, everyone understands the importance of compassion and the patient experience,” said Jeffrey Lepine, Clinical Manager for 8 West. “There’s no question that we would try to accommodate the request from the patients and family.”

Dr. Maziak’s patient and his wife were able to support each other throughout their time in hospital and be discharged together with the help of the Psychosocial Oncology Program. The patient on 8 West was able to move down to 7 East, have his bed pushed next to his wife’s and pass away surrounded by family and the love of his life.


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