Two VA Nurses Form Friendship Through COVID-19 Home Telehealth Care

Army Veteran Maxine Lindsay-Shillingford

Maxine Lindsay-Shillingford is a U.S. Army Veteran and a registered nurse who serves as the director of nursing for perioperative service at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City. When she faced COVID-19 symptoms in late March, two things helped her stay afloat: her faith and her VA home telehealth nurse, Joanna Sainvil.

As a front-line nurse who had seen the devastating effects of the disease firsthand, she describes testing positive for COVID-19 as “one of the scariest times of my life.” When the dizziness, headaches, and eye pain made it impossible to read, she began reciting scripture in her head. She was also quickly enrolled in VA’s Remote Patient Monitoring – Home Telehealth (RPM – HT) for COVID-19 patients and began receiving regular check-in calls from Sainvil.

“The VA telehealth program really saved my life,” Lindsay-Shillingford says. “Joanna checked on my symptoms and encouraged me through my feelings of helplessness. She was really that connection, that bridge, between my home and the world.”

Sainvil explains, “RPM – HT helps doctors become aware of issues before they become emergencies, which prevents hospitalizations. Veterans who are being monitored for COVID-19 from home are not dying because we can recognize their symptoms and intervene sooner.”

After four weeks of quarantine and additional recovery time, Lindsay-Shillingford was released from home telehealth and is back at work at the Bronx VAMC. “I feel thankful that God has given me another chance, another opportunity, to continue my spiritual work of taking care of my fellow humans.”

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