AtlantiCare Nurse, Team Connect With “Joey”

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AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Providers and staff throughout AtlantiCare have focused on making special connections with patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

They include Samantha O’Brien, RN, BSN, team leader, Progressive Care Unit, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) Mainland Campus, of Mays Landing, New Jersey, and her colleagues.

The unit was temporarily changed to be a respiratory care unit during the pandemic. It has cared for many patients who had COVID-19, including Joey Ortiz.

“We have glass windows that allow us to see into rooms from the nursing station,” said O’Brien. “I could tell Joey seemed particularly lonely one day,” she added, because she’d recently recovered from COVID-19, she understood how isolated Joey might have felt.

“Since he was a person with Down syndrome, I knew it was hard for him to understand the visitor policy changes that we and other hospitals had temporarily implemented,” O’Brien noted. “I decided to draw some fun pictures on his window. He immediately brightened up.”

Watch Joey’s story here:

Joey’s family said they are grateful for how the team treated Joey and kept them connected with him and his caregivers, including through FaceTime.

“By the tone of his voice, I could tell he felt at home,” said his sister, Norma Ortiz. “He was getting the attention that he wanted, and he wasn’t scared. There was no fear in his voice. I knew that he was comfortable and taken care of.”

Beth Tieri, RN, clinical manager of the PCU said, “Sam having just come out of being quarantined for COVID-19 herself, she was able to make a special connection with Joey. It was really heartwarming.”

O’Brien has worked at ARMC for nine years, first as a medical assistant, then as a patient care technician, before becoming a nurse.

“We’re used to caring for patients as if they are members of our own families,” she said. “It’s been our privilege to take this care to a whole new level.”

For more information about AtlantiCare, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000; visit www.atlanticare.org; or find AtlantiCare on Facebook.