Open-minded, empathetic and extremely polite: Dr Jesús Álvarez, a specialist in intensive care medicine, is the new coordinator of the intensive care unit at Juaneda Miramar Hospital.
He radiates passion for his work, the team accompanying him, the people he meets and the places he visits. His great challenge at Juaneda Hospitals is to make the ICU more human and to ensure that patients and their families no longer perceive this area as inhospitable and cold.
We spent a morning with him and decided that, at the same time as he humanises the ICU, we wanted to humanise him.
Who is Dr. Jesús Álvarez?
A person who enjoys writing short stories and crime novels. He loves spending time with his family, travelling and learning new things, like sailing in the Mediterranean. He says that a funeral in New Orleans is an event to see before you die, and if he could choose his specialty again, he would go back to being an intensivist.
His origins are in a middle-class neighbourhood in Madrid, and his father, a printer, and mother, an embroiderer, are responsible for his charisma, perfectionism and enthusiasm for reading.
Favourite film: Blade Runner.
Favourite series: New Amsterdam.
Favourite book: Recomendaciones de Ramón y Cajal para los nuevos investigadores (Ramón y Cajal's recommendations for new investigators).
Favourite song: Mediterráneo.
Favourite city: Bologna.
At Juaneda Miramar Hospital, Dr Álvarez is part of an interdisciplinary team that has managed to overcome the concept of intensive care units as cold and distant places. They have done it by getting closer to the patients and their families, creating a more comfortable, caring and friendly environment, extending visiting hours and encouraging direct and personal treatment with the patient.
Previously, patients felt alone, very well supported technologically and surrounded by a very professional team, but in a hostile and somewhat alien environment.
Thanks to the outstanding expertise of the ICU team - nurses, carers and specialists - this situation has changed. These are professionals who are not only technically skilled, but also empathetic and caring, and excellent with patients.
Doctors address patients and their families through language as well as gestures. It is important that they understand what is happening and accompany them throughout the process. A working philosophy based on closeness and communication.
It is important to point out that nowadays, despite the seriousness of the situation, the vast majority of patients admitted to the ICU survive and return home. The ICU is no longer a place where patients hover between life and death.
Telephone operators, carers, nurses, intensive care specialists, laboratory and microbiology specialists, etc. All the staff are essential for the humanisation of the service. An ICU is not an island in the middle of a hospital, but a fundamental part of the structure of a hospital.
At Juaneda Hospitals, we are committed not only to the humanisation of the ICU, but to the humanisation of all services. We want to ensure that both patients and their families have an impeccable and satisfying experience.
Juaneda, close to you.