“This means everything … everything to me. I’m thankful to all the staff for allowing me to connect with so many family members.” — Derrick Stewart, U.S. Army Veteran
March 9, 2015 - Derrick Stewart’s last wish while in VA hospice care in San Antonio was to speak with members of his family. However, due to his declining health, and the distance between his family members, VA staff knew they would need to find a different avenue other than travel to make this happen. So they turned to telehealth technology to help the Army Veteran reconnect with his family — including his mother, siblings, nieces and nephews.
To make Stewart’s wish come true, South Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care System staff coordinated with seven VA facilities in New Mexico, Texas, California and Missouri. The telehealth staff used a VA laptop equipped with video technology at Stewart’s bedside, and a variety of videoconferencing devices at these locations where his family joined in.
“At first, the Veteran’s brother, Kevin, wasn’t too sure about the videoconference but started warming up to the idea after speaking with him,” said Tammy Walker, the telehealth clinical technician in Redding, Calif. “Before the conference, he shared stories about him and his brothers, how they haven’t seen each other in many years. Once the videoconference started, you could see the excitement in all of their faces. They were laughing and cracking jokes at each other. They spent a while reminiscing on the good times they all had together.” read more>>>