Posts tagged ‘patient care’
Penny is a small, fuzzy gray bear with deep brown eyes who wears pink overalls with heart-shaped buttons. She has a floppy hat with an equally pink flower. Her first memory was waking up at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital nestled among her other bear and animal friends who were available for adoption at the Teddy Bear Clinic at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
Penny and her friends were in Hershey to celebrate Child Life week and to help the Child Life specialists talk to the children about their fears of hospitals and going to the doctor. Child Life specialist Carrie Myers, who organized the event, works in the emergency department and sees scared little patients all the time.
“This is a time when we, as Child Life Specialists and other medical professionals can address misconceptions children have about the hospital or medical procedures,” she said. “It also teaches them that the hospital can be a fun, safe place.”
Clara and Laura Wade (ages 3 and 1) from Williamsport, Pa, whose new baby brother was born with a ‘broken’ heart that the doctors needed to fix, took home two of Penny’s friends, Bear and Dog. The girls listened to their new friends’ heartbeats and took their temperatures as they visited the stations where nurses and therapists helped them give their bears checkups. They saw many of the same instruments that the staff uses when taking care of 14-day-old Timothy after his open heart surgery. Their dad, Martin, hoped the experience would help the girls understand their brother’s surgery and recovery. “I told them baby brother’s heart was broken and had to be fixed,” he said. “I think this will help them when he’s getting poked and prodded, to know that It’s all to make him healthy, not hurt him.”
When you walk into a room filled with smiles, laughter, toys, games, and an over-all atmosphere of fun, it’s easy to forget you’re in a hospital.
That is exactly the goal of the Child Life Program at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Child Life offers patients support through its programming, including a fall visit from Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray. Originally from nearby Lebanon, Pa., Gray was inspired to visit Hershey by the young patients she met at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Baton Rouge, La.
Much to the delight of the Hershey children and their families, Gray recently participated in their weekly BINGO game, spending time with families and answering questions about the Olympics. Sharing her gold medal in 50-meter rifle three position, she didn’t even mind when one little friend got chocolate from his hands on it.
Gray was touched by the children’s resiliency, especially after watching her mother, Karen Beyerle, battle and defeat breast cancer.
“I think it’s amazing to see how happy they are going through so much adversity,” she said. “I think they’re inspiring, honestly.”
It isn’t hard to see the difference Child Life makes with while watching 8 year-old Izaiah Robinson from Boalsburg, Pa., nearly running to the prize table, with a huge smile across his face.
His mother, Shanika, said that Izaiah is a frequent visitor to the hospital and that they are grateful to have the activities available.
“I love it for the kids,” Robinson said. “It’s something for them to do. Bingo is his favorite. He’s a pro at this.”
Izaiah said it was “cool” to meet someone who won a medal, and he got his picture taken as he and his mother waited to hear if he could go home.
According to Ashley Kane, program manager, special guests like Gray bring out a bright side of being in the hospital.
“If they weren’t here, many kids would not have gotten to meet an Olympic gold medalist,” Kane said. “They are going through a difficult time, trying to get better and get out of the hospital and our special visitors bring in something extra special. It gives them the motivation to get out of bed.”
The Child Life Program provides psychological, social, emotional and developmental support for patients and families predominantly through play.
“Play is the work of a child,” Kane said. Through play, staff helps kids and their families understand what’s happening in the hospital and in their bodies. Their job is to do anything they can to make the hospital environment easier, less frightening, more child friendly and allow children to be children while in the hospital.
While financial support comes from the Children’s Miracle Network and the Four Diamonds Fund, Child Life also has been well supported by donations from local organizations that regularly provide toys, books and other items needed for their play areas and programs.
“Everyone seems to feel strongly about helping the kids in the children’s hospital,” Kane said. “The community helps to fill any funding gaps we have.”
In addition to donations from church and scout groups, the program has received support and visits from the Hershey Bears, Harrisburg Senators, local police and fire departments, Chocolate World and many more who all make the days a little bit easier for children in the hospital.
Besides daily activities and special visitors, Child Life offers pre-op tours, coping assistance, teachers to keep up with schoolwork, pet therapy, monthly parent meals to facilitate parent-to-parent support, classroom visits to help the children understand what is happening to their classmate, and more.
And all of this supportive activity will be able to grow in scope now, as Child Life moved into its new home—the 263,000-square-foot, five-story (plus one below ground) freestanding Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital—this week.
In addition to more playrooms and another teen lounge for Child Life, the freestanding Children’s Hospital has a new sibling play center, a family resource center, a Ronald McDonald House room-to-room cart for families, and a new performance stage for special events that can be broadcast via closed-circuit television to patient rooms.
The new building’s opening also creates opportunity for community members to support the program and hospital in another way: about 100 new volunteers will be needed to maintain and grow Child Life and other programs designed to support a model of care that focuses on the comprehensive needs of pediatric patients and their families.
For more information on Child Life’s programs, how to donate or volunteer, visit pennstatehershey.org/web/childlife/home.
Before August 2012, if you had asked Bob Phillips of Palmyra, Pa. about his health, he would have told you he’s been nothing but healthy during his 73 years on this earth. No serious health concerns meant he had not been to a doctor in 25 years.
So he never expected to turn 74 amid a five-month stay at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center or that he would become a milestone in medical history.
Phillips has become the oldest in the United States and first person in Pennsylvania who has received a total artificial heart (TAH) to be discharged to live at home with a portable driver, the external power source for the heart, while awaiting a donor heart.
He never saw it coming.
“I was never sick,” Phillips said. “I was 73 years old and I thought if I had gotten that far I’d be cruising down the main stretch.”
Just a few short months ago, Phillips was returning from a Sunday afternoon trapshoot when he noticed an odd pain in his shoulders and chest. During his 30-minute drive home alone, the pain subsided and he thought nothing more of it. The next morning, he mowed the lawn and took his daily walk. His week continued as normal until Thursday afternoon, when the symptoms returned.
His wife Norma insisted he call a doctor immediately. He did so–reluctantly–and was told to go straight to the emergency room.
The couple learned that Phillips had suffered a massive heart attack. He was initially treated with two stents in his heart. He remained in cardiogenic shock and required therapy designed to give his heart time to rest. This therapy, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), uses a machine to do the work of the heart. An ultrasound later revealed a hole in the center of his heart and a heart rupture that was beyond repair.
His only option for survival was a total artificial heart connected to an external power source at all times.
Phillips was in a state of disbelief. How could his heart be damaged beyond repair?
“I always felt good; always exercised,” Phillips said. “I never dreamed that anything like this was happening to me. I was never doubled-over or short of breath or anything like the classic stuff you see.”
What he did not realize is he had coronary artery disease, and that led to advanced cardiogenic shock. On the spectrum of severity, his heart attack was the highest. (more…)
The fight against breast cancer is real—that’s why more than 600 Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center faculty, staff, patients, survivors and the Nittany Lion donned pink gloves and broke out their best dance moves to show that no one should fight this disease alone.
Voting is now open for the national Pink Glove Dance Video contest, and Penn State Hershey is in the running to win a $10,000 donation to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
We were inspired by not only our patients, but also each other: Dan, a human resources professional who danced for his wife, a 10-year survivor; Maggie, a critical-care nurse celebrating 12 years of survivorship; and more. Backed by a breast center team that ranks nationally in patient satisfaction; Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute multidisciplinary cancer teams including specialists, nurses, and support staff; and research that has led to promising new discoveries, our commitment to fighting breast cancer goes well beyond the gloves.
Together, we give hope, courage, and faith—and continue to fight for a cure.
Penn State Hershey is currently in second place out of more than 260 entries. Your vote could push us to the top! Every vote counts until November 2. Use your Facbook account to vote for Penn State Hershey’s video at http://pinkglovedance.com . Click on the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, click the Vote button, and then use the link provided to share with all of your Facebook friends. Please encourage them to share it with their friends, too.
Highlights from across all four parts of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s mission were at the center of this week’s annual public board of directors meeting. Dr. Harold L. Paz, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine, addressed faculty, staff and community members. Paz discussed how new and expanded collaborations, growth in its clinical and research missions, and the presence of the first group of medical students in State College were all part of a successful 2011-12 fiscal year.
The presentation also included the following videos, each highlighting a key story from the past year:
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Imagine if various types of cancer were caused by a common, though currently unknown, virus. The implications for treatment options and methods of prevention could be enormous. The discovery of infectious agents, such as the human papillomavirus as the root cause of cervical cancer, opens the door to the idea that other viruses might be at work in the genesis of cancer development.
This theory is about to be tested further by Thomas P. Loughran, M.D., and his colleagues at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. But Loughran is no stranger to being at the forefront of cancer research.
The LGL discovery
As outlined in this previous Penn State Medicine article, Loughran, who is a professor of medicine at Penn State College of Medicine and director of the Cancer Institute, is responsible for the discovery of large granular lymphocyte (LGL) leukemia while he was an oncology fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington. He has spent most of his career researching the development of the disease and establishing a treatment protocol, which has allowed many patients to live healthier and more productive lives. In 2003, he started an LGL leukemia registry to keep track of patient outcomes.
One of the most challenging aspects of LGL leukemia is getting an accurate diagnosis. Patients often present with chronic symptoms, such as joint pain, fevers, and immune system problems that can be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or aplastic anemia.
“The diagnosis is clouded by the fact that the symptoms are not obvious,” Loughran says. “Patients can have morbidity with tiredness, shortness of breath, pain, and swelling of the joints. Ten to 30 percent have classic RA. This is a chronic disease, though, with a major complication being infections.”
A diagnosis of LGL leukemia is not difficult to come by if medical professionals know what to look for, which is an increased number of LGL cells that can be seen on a blood smear. But because this can easily be overlooked in basic blood tests, it often takes a recurrence of symptoms before an accurate diagnosis of LGL leukemia is reached. (more…)
A new report evaluates the state of healthcare in central Pennsylvania – and lays the groundwork for efforts to make the region’s residents healthier. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center collaborated on the community health needs assessment with Holy Spirit Health System and PinnacleHealth System.
The assessment was compiled using interviews, surveys, data analysis and other methodologies. It was conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national leader in conducting health studies and assessments. Penn State Hershey, Holy Spirit and PinnacleHealth will now use the information gathered to develop individual plans to best address their community’s health needs and improve the overall health and well-being of residents of Central Pennsylvania. The findings show that there is a need for additional information and services that promote healthy lifestyles and make health education and healthcare easier to access.
With the addition of the new Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, Penn State Hershey Medical Center welcomes the first significant advance in Gamma Knife technology in the past thirty years. Gamma Knife surgery is a well-established method used to treat selected targets in the brain. More than 50,000 patients undergo Gamma Knife surgery every year.
There are many additional benefits of the new stereotactic radiosurgery system. In particular, the new positioning system moves the entire table during the procedure, rather than just moving the patient’s head back and forth. This enables physicians to treat a greater area, including the upper cervical regions.
“With the current Gamma Knife technology, we have to be concerned about the location of multiple tumors,” says Sandra J. Brettler, M.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N., C.N.R.N., nurse coordinator, neurosurgery. “Sometimes, we have to treat them twice, because we cannot reach all of the tumors in the same session. Now, with Perfexion, we can treat them all at once.” (more…)
For decades, lack of sleep and fatigue have been an unwelcome but accepted part of physician training and everyday medical practice. Medical students and residents are likely to work a full day and then be on call through the night, typically working a full 24-hour shift and getting very little uninterrupted sleep. Sleep researchers, however, have consistently shown that well-rested physicians commit fewer serious medical and diagnostic errors, compared to physicians working extended shifts (e.g., more than 24 hours). Increasing awareness of the negative impact and risks posed by physician sleep deprivation led the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2003 to place duty hour limits on resident physicians. Although the limits have been in place for nearly eight years, the debate about sleep deprivation, resident training, and hospital costs continues unabated.
A research study conducted by Jonathan Tomasko, M.D., research fellow in the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, along with Randy Haluck, M.D., ’91, R ’97, and Eric Pauli, ’04, M.D., Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, sheds light on the duty limit debate. Tomasko explains, “We wanted to assess how sleep deprivation affects not only how well surgeons perform familiar techniques, but also their ability to learn something new and to deal with a mentally challenging task. It touches on clinical issues like dealing with errors, as well as the educational debate about duty hours.” (more…)
If you are planning a trip to a small country of more than 90 million people that’s rich in culture and traditions, you can imagine the kind of travel itinerary you’d keep. For Timothy J. Craig, D.O., professor of medicine and pediatrics, that itinerary looked quite different. Craig recently completed an eighteen-month fellowship in Vietnam where he spent time at a few different hospitals providing clinical, educational, and research support to help improve their overall quality of care.
Craig’s fellowship was part of the Vietnam Education Foundation federal grant, which supports educational exchange. “It was an incredible experience. When you go over once as a tourist, you don’t meet a lot of people,” describes Craig. “When you go six or seven times, you start to know the people and get invited into their homes and to their weddings.”
Originally, Craig had planned to work at the Lung Hospital in Hanoi to develop a protocol to determine adverse effects to drugs used for tuberculosis (TB). Then, his work led him to the Allergy Center in Hanoi. “There, I did some quality assurance programs. I retrained them on how to do their skin tests and went through some different ways to perform pulmonary function tests,” says Craig. He then travelled south to Ho Chi Minh City, where he worked with the ENT Hospital. There he taught staff how to do various allergy tests and how to incorporate that into their practice. “At this hospital, I saw that they hadn’t had the opportunity to determine what people were allergic to, so I helped them set up a holistic allergy clinic,” said Craig.
One of the things he continually emphasized in his training was quality assurance. It was during this retraining process that he realized they were not changing the filters on the machines they use to conduct breathing tests. “Unfortunately, in a country that has a high rate of TB, you want to change those filters each time, because someone can re-inhale a deposit left from someone else,” explains Craig.