Vivian Farler probably didn’t think she was going into nursing so she could travel all over the state and beyond every time she goes to work.
But 11 years ago, she put herself in the driver’s seat for that position by becoming a nurse for Rockcastle Regional’s award-winning day trip program.
She’s been on the road ever since, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s very fulfilling,” she said. “I enjoy helping to make them happy.”
Rockcastle’s day trip program utilizes a specially equipped van with an experienced nurse and respiratory therapist who travel with residents to destinations as far as two and a half hours away.
Vivian’s travelling partner is respiratory therapist Diana Clemmons. They’ll typically take residents to visit with family, friends and pets. Others attend concerts, go out to eat or shop, or go to the movies. Residents have attended events such as proms, graduations, sporting events and festivals.
Resident Dewayne Combs was taken to the Louisville Zoo on a recent cool October day, and he couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
“I have been going on trips for a long, long time,” Combs said. “I go every time I can. I went to the prom, graduation, UK basketball games, The Ark and The Louisville Zoo.” On some trips, he even gets to spend time with his brother, who meets him at the destination. “I really like that,” he said.
In one recent week, the Rockcastle day-trip team took Combs to the zoo on Tuesday, another patient to a gospel concert in Livingston, KY, on Wednesday, and another to Somerset, KY, to visit with her daughter Thursday. On Friday, they drove a patient to the funeral of a family member.
“It means a lot to us to be able to take a resident to funeral services when there’s a death in the family, for them to be able to get that closure,” Vivian said.
Often, the residents simply want to go home and visit family. It’s a day to experience life as it was before they needed ventilator care, or in some cases, life as it will be when they are weaned. “A lot of times their families will cook for them, friends will come in, they’ll all talk, play music, and pray.
“It can be bittersweet of course,” Vivian said. “Sometimes they’ll cry because they don’t want to leave, and sometimes that makes me cry. But it’s truly rewarding to be there with them.”
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