(From the July/August 2013 issue of Inside Nationwide Children's)
Helping a Kindergartner keep up with his class while waiting on a heart transplant.
Brandon was diagnosed at just 5-months with dilated cardiomyopathy after being rushed to Nationwide Children’s Emergency Department. From five months to the age of five, Nationwide Children’s staff treated him with medication, but Brandon reached a point where he needed a heart transplant. He was admitted to Nationwide Children’s and put on the transplant list.
While Brandon was waiting for his heart, his Kindergarten teacher worked with Brandon’s care team and educators at Nationwide Children’s to make sure that he could keep up with his school work from his hospital room and not fall behind. Brandon’s mom says, “For the hospital to go outside of just not treating the condition, but treating the child, helped Brandon transition from ‘I’m a patient, but also I’m a student, and I’m a kid.’ It was amazing.”
Brandon received his new heart in June 2009 and then returned to school as a first grader, right on schedule. He’s now a rambunctious, active 10 year-old. Talking about the team at Nationwide Children’s, Brandon’s mom says, “They gave me something I didn’t know I was going to be able to keep and that’s my son.”
Brandon comes to Nationwide Children’s for ongoing follow-up care and he’s also become an advocate for children’s hospitals, going to Washington D.C. to speak about the importance of Medicaid funding and the life-saving work that our employees do.
From the emergency care at 5-months-old, to the Heart Center team, therapists, nutritionists and school teachers, to the Environmental Services staff who got to know Brandon’s family during his wait for a heart and the Government Relations team who helped Brandon go to D.C., every single Nationwide Children’s employee who interacted with Brandon paid attention to every detail and that commitment is helping Brandon achieve the best outcomes.
Helping teens learn to manage their care.
When Linda Grooms, RN, and Michelle Walsh, PhD, CPNP, see anemia patients at the Young Women’s Hematology Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, their goals are rather unique. They want to treat kids with food instead of medications. They want to see teenagers manage their own care. And they don’t want repeat customers.
“I like making them self-sufficient,” Walsh says. “I like enabling them to take charge of their life and healthcare and make them independent.” Many anemia patients dislike prescribed iron pills because of nausea, a common side effect. By turning instead to dietary sources of iron, patients and their families can take care of a common problem with a simple solution: food.
The nurses faced an important choice—offer outdated handouts listing giblets and oysters as great sources of iron, or create a new handout that patients would actually use. There was no contest.
“We wanted something with foods that they would eat and that were accessible no matter what,” Grooms says.
Together with an intern from The Ohio State University dietetics program, the team set out to create practical, realistic handouts for anemia patients. The result was a useful tool for anyone curious about how to get enough iron from diet alone. Instead of listing beef liver and lentils, their tool shows patients how to get the iron they need from foods found in a typical household kitchen, such as breakfast cereals, meats, nuts and dried fruits.
“We want kids to get better at making choices out on their own,” Grooms adds. To these nurses, achieving best outcomes for patients meant giving them the ability to make smart decisions about their health, diet and lifestyle. “Not seeing them back in clinic is a good thing.”
Providing comfortable chairs for waiting families.
We received the following letter from Kate Blakely, an employee at Carousel Works, the company that made the animal friends found throughout the hospital. Kate’s husband is the head of the carving department that carved our animal friends. Their nephew was recently hospitalized at Nationwide Children’s and Kate and her family wanted to share more about their experience with our staff:
“My nephew was recently admitted to the PICU at Nationwide Children’s. His medical conditions include a very rare congenital heart condition and Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, but complications began when he contracted pneumonia. He was sent by ambulance to Nationwide Children’s where he had to be resuscitated twice. My sister-in-law is so grateful for how quickly your staff responded and were able to get him breathing again. He is currently stable on a ventilator, but he has a long recovery ahead of him.
Everyone on your staff has been so unbelievably AMAZING to my sister, brother-in-law and, of course, my nephew – the doctors, nurses, support staff and even the security guards.
Coming to the hospital to visit a sick child really made me appreciate how much all of the little details do matter. I remember being at one of the board meetings as they were deciding which chairs would be the most comfortable in the waiting room. After sitting in one of those chairs for ten hours, it is unbelievable how much a difference something as small as that makes.
Please pass on our great thanks and appreciation to your wonderful staff!!!”
Carousel Works, Inc.
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