VA Caribbean Healthcare System
Veteran Jacinto’s Birthday Wish
With the use of iPads Veterans at the VA San Juan VA Medical Center are now able to reach out and connect with their families despite visitation restriction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Jacinto Ramos a resident at the San Juan VA Medical Center Community Living Center (CLC) has been announcing his 72nd birthday on May 26 since his arrival to the CLC back in December 2019. He was looking forward to sharing his birthday with Gina, his ex-spouse, who is his main supporter and best friend. On a weekly basis Jacinto regularly announced his upcoming birthday to the nursing staff at the CLC; he even had a sign made and kept it safe.
Following CDC guidelines and mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 visitation at the CLC and wards was suspended. The look on Jacinto's face was heartbreaking as the thought of not being able celebrate his birthday with his family loomed of not becoming a reality. Nonetheless, CLC nurses were not ready to let visitation restrictions hamper his celebration.
“Due to mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the CLC are not allowed to have visitors", said Gladys Navarro, Chief Nurse CLC. “As Chief Nurse, I know how important family is for the resident’s overall wellbeing, therefore I got in contact with the HICS Family Branch led by Mr. Jari Moreno, Chief of Social Work and explored alternatives for residents to have communication with their family and friends. After receiving the iPads and instructions the CLC nurses connected residents with their families via FaceTime.”
A surprise party for Jacinto was planned for May 26, 2020, by Ms. Naomi Cordova, RN including a cake and soda which he loves. Ms. Gaby Ayala, Nursing Assistant contacted Gina using Facetime on the iPad. While Jacinto was out in the terrace listening to the music he enjoys, a group of nurses and residents surprised him singing happy birthday.
Jacinto was happy to know that everyone remembered his special day, but he was in complete shock when Gaby showed him the iPad and he saw Gina. He screamed, cried and kissed Gina thru the iPad.
It was very important to the CLC Nursing Team to ensure Jacinto’s birthday plans were not ruined, no matter what. Quality of life is just as important as quality of care and these nurses showed compassion to this Veteran’s birthday wish.
“Happiness is transmitted, I felt happy when I saw him so joyful. I felt I made his day and that made mine”, stated Ms. Naomi Cordova, RN who planned the
CLC nurses not only provide high quality nursing care but they also provide high quality of life which is critical to support the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in the CLC.
“The happiness he expressed when he saw Gina on the iPad was confirmation for me that although COVID 19 has changed the practice of the CLC, as a team we will overcome this”, stated Gladys Navarro, Chief of Nursing for CLC.