The Butterfly Project takes flight at BWFH
Lindsey McDermott, RN
During her preceptorship, Lindsey McDermott, RN, first became familiar with the Butterfly Project. As a Unit Council member on 6 South, along with Tracy Healy, RN, she presented the idea to the team at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. "I just thought it was really nice because the kitchen staff knew, families knew, social work, everybody knew," says McDermott.
The aim of the project is to enhance patient and family centered care for those nearing the end of life. When the patient or family decides to stop invasive treatments like labs and vital signs and focus on comfort measures only, a butterfly is placed outside of the patient’s door. "It’s a non-verbal communication to the staff up here to go the extra mile for the family, or check in on them, make sure there’s a recliner at night, make sure the patient is comfortable," says McDermott.
Healy says, "Every role, no matter what you have on our floor, participates somehow in end of life care." Whether it’s obtaining bereavement cards, providing comfort measures or just being respectful of grieving family members, the butterfly is a quiet reminder of the transition taking place.
Tracy Healy, RN
Supported by evidence-based research, the Butterfly Project was accepted as a poster presentation at the Horizons 2014 Critical Care Symposium this spring, where it won Best Poster. Another framed educational poster hangs in the hallway of 6 South to inform visitors and remind staff of the butterfly’s significance.