KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - A local nurse who traveled to New York says she didn’t have time to really take in the experience until she stopped moving and got home.
“The hardest part was coming home and being by myself for the first few days. Because I had all the time to come home and think about all the stuff I saw,” nurse Aneisha Ford said.
Ford signed up to work 30 12-hour days, with just two days off with a team of out-of-town nurses at Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island, in a nursing home setting.
When she first suited up, she was full of hope.
“Your kind of like, it’s okay, we can do this. We can take care of them. We can make a difference,” Ford said.
But as the days wore on, it became an emotional drain. She kept a Facebook journal. On day 12, she wrote, “Please pray for my patients. I have no words for today. Just please pray for them.”
“They’re people like your mom and your dad and they’re not getting the care that they deserve because they’re so short staffed. And it makes me so sad,” Ford said.
Before going to New York, she worked at St. Luke’s in the acute care. The resources at the nursing home in New York paled in comparison to the care she saw at St. Luke’s.
“They will put like three diapers on a patient just so they can last the whole day so that they don’t have to change them because they’re so busy,” Ford said.
She got to know her 25 patients, three of whom died in her short time there. The difference she made was little things, like taking more than the typical five minutes to feed someone.
“Just getting to go and sit in a room for 15 minutes and feed a person that has no ability to do it themselves made the biggest difference in their day,” Ford said.
Friends in Kansas City donated money for goodie bags which she left for every patient before she said goodbye.
“We got them blankets, socks, snacks, lotions,” Ford said.
Her final days were spent exploring the city, as the widespread crisis subsided, and her temp firm said they didn’t need her anymore. Some had warned her she’d come home hardened, but she says it’s been the opposite.
“My heart feels more full. I got to love on some people and I get to come back to my family and the people that love me and if I could just give them 30 days of my life just to make them a little happier and give them a little more care than they were getting, it was totally worth it to me,” Ford said.