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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


The Right to Privacy, Only a Headset Away

Bob and Allen of the FOE, CEO and VP of Human Resources from Plantronics, and nurse manager Sandra MacDonald worked as a team to give paralyzed Veterans a little more privacy.

From left to right: Allen Pilkington (FOE), Ken Kannappan (CEO of Plantronics), Bob Irwin (FOE), Sandra MacDonald (VA Nurse Manager) and Patricia Wadors (VP of Human Resources for Plantronics).

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24, 2012 - Certain paralyzed Veterans in the Spinal Cord Injury/Disability (SCI/D) Unit at VA Palo Alto had no privacy during phone calls. No worries, there were no injustices occurring just a situation made out of necessity where nurses had to hold the phone for Veterans who cannot grasp the phone themselves.

“Nurses currently have to hold the phone to a Veteran's ear because if they have restricted movement, there’s no way they could hold the phone on their own,” said nurse manager Sandra MacDonald.

Noticing the burden on nurses and the privacy loss of Veterans, this was a call to action for the Fraternity Order of Eagles (FOE) #2356 of Mountain View. Along with occupational therapist Judy Fong they made a call over to Plantronics, one of the leading manufacturers of wireless headsets.

By the end of August, the SCI/D unit received a visit from the CEO Ken Kannappan and VP of Human Resources, Patricia Wadors, of Plantronics. Coming straight from the airport after an international trip, Kannappan carried a box full of wireless headsets to donate to the unit.

“These headsets are going to make it so much easier for everyone,” said MacDonald. “This will free up the nurses to do other things while Veterans are able to speak with loved ones in private.”

Bob Irwin and Allen Pilkington of the FOE were present to help receive the headsets.

"This is just some of the things we try to help with here,” said Irwin. “We have already planted a garden for the Veterans in the ten months we’ve started volunteering here and hope to do a lot more.”

The VA Palo Alto Health Care System SCI/D is a center of excellence in clinical care offering services for persons with spinal cord injuries or disorders such as multiple sclerosis and post-polio syndrome. In addition, SCI has a strong relationship with local non-profits, allowing staff to work collaboratively in effectively caring for Veterans.


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