In this section :

I am a Human Being

MYTH - Presence of Essential Care Partners is nice to have, but doesn’t impact quality or safety

FACT - Evidence continues to grow that demonstrates that the presence of essential care partners improves the safety, quality, and experience of care, including reducing readmissions to hospital,[1] and decreasing anxiety and stress for patients, essential care partners, and staff. [2-5]

Serena is a patient with a chronic condition that causes pain requiring emergency care. Read more about her experience visiting an emergency department alone.


I am a Human being

I live with pain every single day of the year

Diagnosing me & my parents at the time of my birth devastated them

I would be spending the rest of my days in pain

Sick Kids Hospital became my second home as a child


Scarborough Grace Hospital became my second home as an adult that saved me...Why?

Because of a protocol

My pain is so real and the protocol helped advocate for me

IV, Oxygen and pain meds

IV, Oxygen and pain meds sounds simple but yet

So challenging to receive basic care

Oh wait, is it because I am not dressed up? Don’t I look approachable at 4am in the morning?

...sorry, let me brush my hair

I apologize for looking like I just rolled out of bed

...i don’t want to be here but the pain is too much

The stress, the anxiety...I’m here because I need help...please…

Will you help me? I’ve been here for hours

“It’s very unusual, you don’t look like you’re in pain”...that’s because I’m used to it

But not the intensity

...Please don’t think I'm a drug seeker, please don’t think I’m a drug seeker…

Do you have a protocol? Can you help? My list of meds is on there

It would be nice to see a change after 48 years or even after 111 years

Yes, that was my boyfriend who dropped me off

but the pain was too much for him to witness

So I am here alone

Fending for myself, hoping someone understands

What am I going to tell work again?

I hope they understand this time...I don’t want to be let go again

School is going to fail me because my paper was due

I don’t want to start the semester over again

Oh no! Rent is due next week and my finances are not enough

I can’t stay here, I must go back to work

Daycare will never understand so I will have to keep my daughter enrolled

Now I have to call my sister to help and she has work

I feel I have no control

Maybe it’s best that I speak to a social worker

Empathy is all we ask from you

All conscience and unconscious biases are real but

I am a Human being

  1. S. Department of Health and Human Services. “New HHS Data Shows Major Strides Made in Patient Safety, Leading to Improved Care and Savings.”, 2014, results.pdf.
  2. Belanger, Mary Anne, and Sandra Reed. “A rural community hospital’s experience with family-witnessed resuscitation.” Journal of emergency nursing: JEN: official publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association 23, no. 3 (1997): 238.
  3. Helmer, Stephen D., R. Stephen Smith, Jonathan M. Dort, William M. Shapiro, and Brian S. Katan. “Family presence during trauma resuscitation: a survey of AAST and ENA members.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 48, no. 6 (2000): 1015-1024.
  4. McClenathan, CPT Bruce M., COL Kenneth G. Torrington, and Catherine FT Uyehara. “Family member presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: a survey of US and international critical care professionals.” Chest 122, no. 6 (2002): 2204-2211.
  5. Davidson, Judy E., Karen Powers, Kamyar M. Hedayat, Mark Tieszen, Alexander A. Kon, Eric Shepard, Vicki Spuhler et al. “Clinical practice guidelines for support of the family in the patient-centered intensive care unit: American College of Critical Care Medicine Task Force 2004–2005.” Critical care medicine 35, no. 2 (2007): 605-622.