VA Team Uses Technology for Final Goodbyes - VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network
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VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network


VA Team Uses Technology for Final Goodbyes

Veteran communicates with family members in four different states

Derrick Stewart, a South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) patient, communicates with family members in New Mexico, Texas, California, and Missouri.

By photo by Guadalupe Hernandez; article by Yolanda Kyle and Nenette Madla
Monday, January 5, 2015

Through the use of caring VA staff members and telehealth technology, a patient's last wish came true. South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) coordinated with VA facilities in New Mexico, California and Missouri making the effort cross four states! 

"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.

Mr. Derrick Stewart had been recently placed on hospice with a grave prognosis. His family was unable to travel to his bedside physically. With his social worker and wife at his bedside throughout the entire experience, Mr. Stewart’s teleconference reconnected him with family allowing him to say his final goodbyes.

Once the video-conference 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. Mr. Stewart was grateful to be able to visit with his family again as if they were all sitting together in the same room.

"I saw their brother (the Veteran) get so excited. The light in his eyes brought tears to my eyes. He was so happy and amazed to see them. It was like he got a second wind." Samara Sory Telehealth Clinical Technician, Modesto, CA.

This experience embodies and reaffirms the spirit and intent of the core values of Department of Veterans Affairs: ICARE – Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.

This VA team from facilities in four different states truly got involved, took action, and ultimately made a lasting difference in the lives of the dying Veteran and his family members.


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