A nurse has been honored for her dedication to mentally ill patients
Each week in Oklahoma, 300 people are accepted for Crisis Health Services.
Communities across the state are emphasizing the importance of mental health these days because we know these services are essential to our well-being.
This week, News 4 and First Fidelity Bank celebrate a frontline healthcare worker who dedicated her life to patients with mental illness.
Tony and Danise Foster raised their family in Tuttle, Oklahoma; Two boys and a precious baby girl named Ginni.
Childhood photos showing no signs of mental illness. An illness crept into their lives in Jenny’s senior year of high school.
“It was very bad,” Jenny recalls. “I’m a Christian. I think God gives us gifts and things we can overcome, but this has been really hard.”
Ginni is hospitalized with severe psychosis, crippling hallucinations.
Her diagnosis is a lifelong illness: paranoid schizophrenia.
“When you have a mentally ill child, you feel lonely,” said Jenny’s mother, Danise Foster, choking back tears. “And with the PACT team, we are not alone anymore. Few people understand unless you have a mentally ill child.”
The Program for Community Assertive Therapy (PACT) team is a superhero team of mental health professionals.
“I think God led us to this program,” said Jenny’s father, Tony Foster.
They are nurses and therapists in the State Department of Mental Health.
Their goal is to keep patients out of the hospital and into the community.
They are a lifeline for adults like Ginni.
“They help Ginni stay where she’s supposed to be with her medications, social interaction, and with doctor’s appointments,” said Danes.
The guidance and support from the PACT team helped Ginni realize how important her life was.
Lori Shi Nurse Jenny.
Jenny’s father, Tony Foster, said, “I don’t know anyone who has more understanding, empathy, or understanding for the mentally ill than Laurie does.”
Nurse Lori is like a second mom to Jenny.
She wears many hats: driving Ginni to doctor’s appointments, administering Ginni’s medications, reminding Ginni to take her prescriptions and generally calling to check on Ginni’s mental health.
The Foster Family nominated Nurse Lorrie for a Pay It 4ward award because of her selfless devotion to dozens of mentally ill adults, just like Ginni. The wellness checks that the team makes saved Ginni's life 18 months ago when she was suffering from Pancreatitius and in a diabetic coma.
Each week, First Fidelity Bank partners with News 4 to honor Oklahomans who make a difference in the community.
“Nurse Lori represents exactly what Pay It 4ward is all about,” said Nicky Wilson of First Fidelity Bank.
“We’ve tried so many times to give her gift cards and I thank you for that and she always says no,” Denise said. “She’s so honorable in that way. We thought we’d do it to show her just a little bit of how much we appreciate her.”
Jenny gave her nurse $400 as a token of her family’s appreciation for her dedication to her vulnerable patients.
Nurse Lori has spent her career serving and saving Oklahomans like Jenny.
“I just love this field of nursing,” Laurie said.
Nurse Lorris is lighting a path for patients lost in the darkness of mental illness. Every day she Pays It 4ward by bringing them back.