• Hilari Gonzalo Micó, a CEU Nursing graduate from the Elche campus who works at the Residencia APSA San Juan nursing home, is a great example of the work nurses do in caring for people with a disability.

The issue of the provision of nursing care to people with a disability has come under greater focus during the coronavirus crisis. It’s something that Hilari Gonzalo Micó is well aware of. He’s a nurse at the Residencia APSA San Juan, a nursing home and charity which seeks to improve the quality of life of people with different degrees of disability throughout their lives. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is causing some anxiety and apprehension. However, Hilari, who heads the residence’s health service alongside a physiotherapist, has no doubts about the situation. “We’re all scared of the unknown sometimes, and that’s what’s happened with the vaccine. The common good is more important than any fears that I may have.”

Hilari Gonzalo, of Residencia APSA, where he works with people with a disability

What does your organization do for people with a disability?

Our main objective is to be there for and support our users and their families, by maximizing their autonomy and the development of their potential. Our organization provides support to more than 2500 people a year at its facilities in Alicante province. The care home itself, which has an agreement with the Valencia regional government’s equality and inclusive policies department (the Conselleria de Igualtat i Polítiques Inclusives), provides housing, nutrition and autonomy for 44 people with a disability.

Tell about your day-to-day work.

I’m in charge of the health service at the care home, working alongside a physiotherapist. There’s no onsite doctor, so I’m the first person to assess any changes in health-related circumstances for the residents. I have to manage demand and take decisions, within my area of competence, and when the problems go beyond that, I consult with the physician assigned to us at the local medical centre.

What duties do you have?

As I’m taking care of people with a disability, one thing I have to do is to establish the healthcare section of the individual action plan, or PAI as it’s known in Spanish, for each resident. I have to set up and maintain their medical records and monitor any chronic pathologies. Many of the residents require ongoing medication, so I have to make sure they get what they need and undertake related administrative duties. There may be dressings to change, I may have to accompany residents for specialist appointments, and many other things. Now, with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, I’m responsible for overseeing the COVID-19 protocols at the care home.

Hilari is responsible for the health of 44 people living with a disability

Nurses and vaccination against COVID-19

Why do you think nursing professionals are the right people to undertake the COVID-19 vaccination programme?

Most of all, because of the skills and training we have. Another reason is the commitment and the willingness the whole profession has shown to manage the effects of the pandemic.

Do you think that nurses are being used in the right way in the vaccination campaign?

Vaccinations are being undertaken by nursing professionals at public medical centres and hospitals and I think that that’s absolutely right. On the other hand, I do think that more use could have been made of the large number of nursing professionals working in private hospitals and care homes, to boost the vaccination programme for the whole population even more.

Fear of vaccinations

What problems have you seen during the COVID-19 vaccination process?

The fear and distrust that some residents and some residents’ legal guardians have.

What would you say to people who are wondering whether they should get vaccinated?

My advice is to get vaccinated. It’s safe and it’s passed all the tests of the regulatory bodies for medication. It’s the only way for us to end this pandemic.


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