In the fall, we spoke with Juan Carlos Luaces about the progress he was making his recovery from COVID-19 on a Complex Continuing Care Unit at Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. Today, Juan Carlos is back at home with his family. As he prepared to leave the hospital, a year after he was first admitted, Juan Carlos and his family shared more about his recovery.

Despite good health and an active lifestyle, Juan Carlos’ case of COVID-19 was severe. In January of 2021, he was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where he spent many weeks sedated and on a ventilator.

“The care team helped us to stay hopeful,” says Florife Luaces, Juan Carlos’ wife. “Even when Juan Carlos couldn’t respond to us because of the sedation, nurses helped us with virtual visits on the iPad and they kept us updated about how he was doing.”

Florife and the couple’s son Alex Luaces visited in person as much as they could, holding his hand, talking and singing to him. Over the course of months in the ICU, Juan Carlos gradually improved. “We were so happy when he was able to wake up and speak a few words to us,” recalls Alex.

Throughout their time at Mount Sinai, the Luaces family says doctors took the time to explain Juan Carlos’ condition, the progress he was making and the challenges that lay ahead. Juan Carlos and some of his family members were even able to speak with one of the doctors in Spanish, his first language.

When he was ready to leave acute care and continue his recovery at Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital, the Luaces family knew the rehabilitation process would take time. Juan Carlos worked on sitting up, standing, eating and gradually gained more independence. Throughout the process, Juan Carlos says the care team helped him see his progress, and to stay optimistic and motivated as they worked towards his goal of going home.

Florife says looking back, his recovery seems like “a miracle.”

Dr. Michael Detsky, one of the physicians who provided care for Juan Carlos during his ICU stay says “It’s very encouraging to hear that a long-stay ICU patient has been able to walk out of the hospital. The clinical story of Juan Carlos was similar to many other patients we took care of, people who had their lives abruptly altered by COVID-19. While he was unlucky that he became critically ill, of the long-stay ICU patients, he is one of the fortunate few that is making it home.”

As the Luaces family resumes their lives together, Juan Carlos will continue his recovery and says he’s looking forward to making more progress in Hennick Bridgepoint’s outpatient rehabilitation program. His journey from Mount Sinai to Hennick Bridgepoint is a testament to Sinai Health’s integrated system  that supports patients and their families across the continuum of care.