Holding Hands at the End

Debbie Portela, Alive NP on the Palliative Care team

In the midst of the pandemic, I was honored to care for a married couple who were both being treated for COVID Pneumonia and required intubation. Despite the excellent interventions of the medical team, it became apparent to the family that neither would recover. We had many conversations about the goals of care with their adult children, providing education and support to help them place the wishes of their parents before their own.  After much thought and prayer, the family arranged to withdraw care from both of their parents together. Their beds were moved together, side rails lowered, surrounded by loved ones. The couple was able to hold hands while prayers were offered, “good-byes” and “I love you’s” were said, and medications for comfort were given while both were extubated from the ventilators. They passed away within five minutes of each other. I truly honored to be part of this holy moment and will never forget.