His co-workers and patients alike describe Zamora as a natural-born therapist
When Nurse Supervisor Zuray Avila sees Eddy Zamora working with a patient at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami, she can’t help but stop and watch.
Despite the patient’s age or background, Zamora, a physical therapist assistant, is always able to make a connection with them, Avila said.
“I just love to watch him work,” she said. “He’s very intuitive and knows when someone is struggling.”
Zamora is what Encompass Health Miami’s Director of Therapy Operations Maite Maguregui describes as a “natural-born therapist.” His ability to connect with his patients and see past what brought them to the hospital to the person they were is why Zamora was named Encompass Health’s 2018 overall Outstanding Employee Achievement Award recipient.
Zamora was among seven Outstanding Employee Achievement Award finalists selected from each of the Company’s regions, who represent Encompass Health’s core values and go above and beyond their job responsibilities to improve the patient experience and support their co-workers in their inpatient rehabilitation hospitals.
The finalists were honored at a gala May 2 at Encompass Health’s Home Office in Birmingham, Alabama, where Eddy was recognized as the overall recipient.
“Our people are our foundation, so thank you, all of you,” said Barb Jacobsmeyer, EVP and president of inpatient rehabilitation. “Tonight, we’re proud to recognize Eddy. Thank you for working so hard to make a positive change in the lives of your co-workers and patients.”
Zamora started his career at Encompass Health Miami as a student. After graduation he was eager to stay on fulltime as a physical therapist assistant.
He said physical therapy was a natural fit for him, as it’s just in his nature to help others.
“I’m very passionate about what I do,” he said. “I naturally want to reach out and help others. It just comes naturally for me to help someone in need.”
For instance, when a co-worker was in distress, choking in the cafeteria, Zamora didn’t wait for help to arrive. He immediately went to her aid, performing the Heimlich maneuver, that ultimately saved her life.
“I had a complete blockage and panicked,” said Aimee Garcia-Ortiz. “I was fighting him, but Eddy didn’t give up, and I’ll be forever grateful to him.”
Garcia-Ortiz is also quick to point out Zamora’s ability to connect with his patients. As a case manager, she frequently works with him in discharge planning. She said he has a gift of meeting the patients where they are and explaining situations in a way that that particular patient or family member can understand.
Zamora is also a carpenter, so he’s quick to offer patients solutions to better prepare for their transition home.
“I try to give the patients a little more education on how they can adjust their home environment,” he said. “My knowledge as a carpenter kind of gives me a different perspective and way to help them when they get home.”
But perhaps the best thing Zamora does for his patients is taking the time to truly to get know and connect with them to help them meet their personal goals.
Ruth Gilmore Langs said her husband was a “shell of himself, ” weighing just over 100 pounds when he was admitted to Encompass Health Miami some four years ago. John passed away in 2017, but Langs said during the three to four months he was at Encompass Health Miami, he became the person he once was thanks to Zamora.
“When he was here, we had hope that he would get better,” she said of John who suffered from a neuromuscular disease. “He had always been a strong, big independent guy, and Eddy immediately tuned into that. He saw the real John; he saw past the 105 pounds.”
Zamora got John standing and walking again, Langs recalled. “He treated every victory like John had won the Olympics,” she said. “He made the last months of his life great. Eddy made him feel like a man again, and I know that meant the world to him.”
It’s connections like these that Avila said makes her and others want to stop what they’re doing and watch Zamora as he gently talks with his patients, encouraging them to take that next step and surpass that next goal.