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Woman giving a child a piggyback ride.


Certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) at VVRMC

Monday, January 30, 2017

Community news

Diana Wilburn is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) at Val Verde Regional Medical Center. She is very dedicated to making certain every patient who spends time in the hospital has the strength, endurance and tools they need to have a successful recovery from whatever illness has brought them to the hospital. "My goal is to provide every inpatient with activities of daily living and endurance building exercises as soon as they are admitted," says Wilburn, "I help them with building their endurance and activity tolerance and provide whatever tools they might need to make their return home easier as they continue to recover."

This week she went in to help Rosie Fernandez who was at Val Verde Regional Medical Center recovering from pneumonia. "I wanted to help her raise her oxygen intake, improve her lung capacity and help her get her strength back. Pneumonia weakens the whole body. I was going in to help her with some exercises."

One such exercise involves a baton which the patient lifts and rotates to expand the lungs and build strength. "When I handed Mrs. Fernandez the baton," says Wilburn, "she broke into a huge smile." Wilburn watched in surprise as the mother of four, grandmother of 11 and great-grandmother of three began to march in place with a huge smile on her face and perfect rhythm.

"I was a drum major at San Felipe High School in 1963 and 1964," says Fernandez, "I was a drum majorette for two years before that. When Diana gave me the baton, it brought back such wonderful memories and I just had to march."

After seeing how happy the baton made Mrs. Fernandez, Diana went back to the rehabilitation area and downloaded marching music on to her own phone. "It just made her so happy," she explains, "I wanted to do what I could to enhance her happiness and help her with her recovery."

Mrs. Fernandez is very appreciative of the care she received at Val Verde Regional Medical Center. "The nurses, both male and female, were so kind," she says, "I wish I could take everyone home with me."

Mrs. Fernandez admitted she had been a smoker for 35 years. "I quit five days ago," she says, "and I will never pick up another cigarette. This was the silver lining from God that helped me realize I needed to stop." She added, "I want you to make sure you print this in the article. That way if anyone in Del Rio sees me with a cigarette they can keep me to my word."

At Val Verde Regional Medical Center employees are empowered to make decisions which support their patients' recovery. Ms. Wilburn is a shining example of how much more positive a hospital experience can be when employees are encouraged to think outside the box in providing high quality care.