A wish comes true
What happens at Novant Health UVA Health System Caton Merchant House when a patient has a wish? We move countries to make it happen!
When NH UVA Caton Merchant House started a new program called Remarkable Wishes, Beverly Button expressed her desire to visit Wales to reconnect with her roots. The program, which is based loosely on the movie “The Bucket List,” was created to identify activities residents had always wanted to do, but hadn’t had a chance to yet. She always wanted to go to Wales to explore the country her grandparents called home. Her health issues made it impossible to travel, but this did not deter our team members.
At the start of last fall, team members got in touch with Jeannette Episcopo from the Welsh Society of Fredericksburg. Jeannette sent our team members a book, “A taste of Wales in food and pictures,” by Theodora Fitzgibbon, to get their research started. Jakob Hunt, one of our wonderful volunteers at NH UVA Caton Merchant House, took the book and began his extensive research on Wales and Welsh customs. By March 11, he had created a whole program for Beverly’s big day, and as a Welch lady does not travel alone, Beverly’s daughter, son-in-law and all her friends at NH UVA Caton Merchant House, received “boarding passes” to join a trip to Wales.
The day was planned as a surprise, and Beverly’s daughter and son-in-law kept her busy while our team members prepared. Upon arrival, the guest “travelers” entered a room at NH UVA Caton Merchant House that had been transformed into Wales by Jakob and activities team members, Grace Martinez, Julie Grinder and Cierra Bellows. All four team members, as well as Marilyn Lara McDonnell, manager of resident services, dressed in traditional Welch garments. Even our Welch Corgi pet therapy dog used his boarding pass when he attended the Welsh festivities. Welsh flags and traditional sayings adorned the walls. Pictures of Beverly’s Welsh ancestors and family heirlooms covered the tables, along with a spread of traditional Welsh dishes. Lara baked Welsh cookies using Beverly’s grandmother’s recipe and Jakob cooked Welsh rarebit, along with other dishes and drinks enjoyed by the explorers. The journey through Wales began as our residents and special guests watched a travel series about Wales. The day was a success! Beverly was very happy. Although our team members could not get her to Wales, they brought Wales to her.
Our team members at NH UVA Caton Merchant House will continue to make wishes come true and provide a remarkable patient experience. “It’s important for us to create a high quality of life and make people loved and supported, especially since this is their home,” Marilyn Lara, manager of resident services, said.