Veterans from the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center‘s Community Living Centers in Augusta, GA, enjoyed the opportunity to visit with family members in the way that is done today.

The Veterans participated in Scenic Bus Rides and Safe Family Visits as part of a collaborative effort with the Recreation Therapy, Nursing, and Social Work departments.

Family members are contacted by a social worker informing them that their family member will be available for a “face-to-face” interaction through bus windows.

Nursing and recreational therapy staff members accompany the Veterans. The bus parks in a local mall’s parking lot. No one can leave the bus and family members cannot enter the bus.

Virtual visit with daughter, grandsons and great grandson

Willie Campbell, an Army Veteran, was able to see his relatives. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “My daughter met us there along with my four grandsons and great grandson.”

Freddie Lee Handy’s family decorated their vehicles with well wishes on their visit with their Air Force Veteran father and grandfather.

Following the meeting with their families, the Veterans continue their outing with a scenic bus ride of Historic Augusta.

Wylene Brown-Davis, nurse executive for the Community Living Center, realizes the need for the Veterans’ social interaction. “The Scenic Bus Rides and Safe Family Visits aide in reducing social isolation,” she said. “The Scenic Bus Rides offer the residents fresh air and a change of scenery. Also, the opportunity to reconnect with their loved ones while maintaining safe practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Community Living Center also uses Facebook portal calls for inpatient Veterans to speak with their families.

Derrick Smith is a public affairs specialist with the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Augusta, GA.

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