A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

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For the past six months, Shelly Morton’s intricate black and white drawing of an angel has brought so much color to the experience of terminally ill patients and their families at LifeCare Hospitals of Fort Worth.

Shelly, administrative assistant in the hospital’s Administration department, used the Zentangle method – a mosaic-style of drawing that combines elemental strokes including dots, lines, simple curves, S curves and orbs – to create her masterpiece.

Her inspiration to help others in their time of grief stems from her own personal losses earlier this year.

“My husband lost his older brother in February, and I lost my mother in April,” Shelly said. “The hospital did a marvelous job responding to our family’s needs in several creative ways. I felt it would be nice to have something beautiful to put on the doors of patient rooms when care is withdrawn or when the patient passes.”

After getting the green light from Hospital CEO Anis Sabeti in March, Shelly went straight to the drawing board. Using black ink on cream art paper, she created an angel specifically for Fort Worth patients and families. She even incorporated her initials, “SM,” and “March 2018” on the sleeve of the angel in such a way that it blends in with the art.  She kept the original version, which took her approximately four hours to complete over the span of a couple of days, but donated the artwork to the hospital so that the clinical care team can use the image as needed.

An artist by hobby, Shelly particularly enjoys pen and ink sketching using various Zentangle patterns. She also has hospital chaplaincy training through her church and is happy to have an opportunity to combine the two to support people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

But, Shelly didn’t stop there. She also organized care packages with snacks and drinks for families whose terminally ill loved ones are actively dying or placed on withdrawal of care measures. She says the family members she has talked to are appreciative of her efforts. Case Manager Laurel Ball agrees.

“From what I have seen, everyone seems to really appreciate the consideration and time she has put into this project,” she said. “Shelly’s ‘comfort kits’ allow the families to spend more quality time with their loved one, and not have to worry about food or drink. Shelly is the kind of person who puts her heart and soul into whatever she does. She is a wonderful asset to our team here at LifeCare and we value her presence very much.”

Anis says Shelly is a great example of living LifeCare’s value, Personalize It, which by definition involves creating a warm environment that is dedicated to the thoughtful, tailored care of our patients’ physical and emotional needs.

“Shelly making the effort and taking her time to show families that we care on a personal note is a great example of the family feel we have created here in Fort Worth,” he said. “She is a great example of someone who comes to work every day for the right reasons!”

Shelly says the value Personalize It is a way of life for her.

“Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to utilize the gifts and talents I’ve been given and share them with others,” she said. “While not everyone may have artistic talent, every associate has gifts, talents and abilities within them. Something as simple as getting to know the patient as a person, taking a minute to listen to their story and identifying with them in a way that is meaningful makes them feel like a ‘person’ and not a ‘disease.’ This is what will make a lasting impact on the patient and their family members and make them want to recommend LifeCare as the choice for care.”

She adds, “Finding new ways to use our gifts to bless others is invigorating.”

Now that’s art imitating life. Kudos, Shelly! Keep up the great work.

If you know a colleague who strives to demonstrate our five core values like Shelly, nominate them for the Faces of LifeCare Award.

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