Posted: October 26, 2020

October 25-30 is Intensive Care Week, and we’re highlighting the incredible work our intensive care unit (ICU) team does every day, to go above and beyond in supporting patients and families in their care. This month, the ICU supported a very special family celebration – a wedding!

Danielle and Ben wanted to be married with their families in attendance – including Dani’s father, Martin, who is a patient in Grand River Hospital’s ICU. Martin is unable to leave the hospital. When the couple proposed the idea of the hospital hosting their wedding in three days so that Martin could be there, the ICU team said “yes!” and leapt into action, working with our spiritual care team to plan an outdoor, physically-distanced wedding in the GRH courtyard.

“This came about during a very difficult family meeting about end of life,” recalls social worker Katie Garner. “Dani voiced that her only wish is for her father to be part of her wedding day… I found myself confidently stating that it was possible and we can make it work, without really knowing how we would do it!”

Katie got to work in her new impromptu role as wedding planner, bringing together other members of the ICU team to figure out how Martin could safely participate, and then called in Trudy Rose, Manager of Spiritual Care, for her support with the family.

ICU nurse Amy Picco, and Lindsay Zador, a respiratory therapist, helped Martin safely get from his room in ICU to the ceremony. Their efforts allowed Martin to witness his daughter’s wedding and spend time celebrating with wedding guests and friends after the ceremony. “You see this sort of thing on TV shows– but we don’t really do it in real life!” said Lindsay.

Florence Juma, Spiritual Care Provider and Educator, was there to officiate the wedding. Jacklyn Scott, a music therapy student, volunteered with her husband Doug to play music before and during the ceremony. With staff from across the ICU and hospital on hand to help the family celebrate, “This was really just the whole team pulling together” said Trudy Rose.

Ben’s coworkers came to the hospital Saturday morning to decorate the courtyard for the wedding, and the bride wore a beautiful white wedding dress – lent to her by a friend. The KW community provided wedding favours – at the beginning of the pandemic, members of the community began knitting or crocheting hearts to help families when they could not be with their loved ones in person. “I took the spirit of the hearts and extended it to be the tangible expression of the love that binds Dani and Ben, all of us together.” said Trudy.

“We’re so thankful to the whole Grand River team” said Dani, during her wedding toast. “Thank you for making this possible.”

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