Posts tagged ‘Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital’

A day in Child Life: How child life specialists work with Penn State Hershey’s youngest patients

Editor’s Note: March is Child Life Awareness Month. Penn State Hershey thanks its Child Life team for the work they do every day with our youngest patients. This story is a look at what the child life specialists add to the Penn State Hershey experience and how our patients appreciate their involvement in their care. View the “A day in Child Life” photo album.

Hospitals can be scary places for children.

Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital has a team of certified child life specialists (CCLSs) who help children feel comfortable and safe—to help them understand that the doctors and nurses want to help them get better.

While their days may seem filled with toys, games and a whole lot of Playdoh, the role of a child life specialist is so much more.

Kate Denlinger, certified child life specialist helps patient Kaitlyn Teeter, 5, decorate her anesthesia mask with stickers prior to a procedure she regularly receives at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. "Instead of coping with a bad diagnosis, she just has to cope with the routine of coming in so that she can continue being healthy," Kate says.

Kate Denlinger, certified child life specialist helps patient Kaitlyn Teeter, 5, decorate her anesthesia mask with stickers prior to a procedure she regularly receives at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. “Instead of coping with a bad diagnosis, she just has to cope with the routine of coming in so that she can continue being healthy,” Kate says.

“Child life addresses the psycho-social, emotional, and developmental needs of pediatric patients and families in any kind of health care setting,” said Ashley Kane, Child Life manager.

Child life specialists are constantly on the go and reprioritizing when things do not go as planned. A day in Child Life looks something like this:

6:00 a.m.

Surgical child life specialist Kate Denlinger arrives in the Children’s Hospital pre-op unit to prepare young patients for surgical procedures. “Kids come to the hospital for surgery for really simple things and things that are life changing like spinal fusions or open heart surgeries,” she says. “I try to make the hospital as normal as I can, and I try to familiarize them with all of the things they are about to see.

“There’s a lot of research that says if kids know what they’re about to experience, they’re more willing to participate in their care than they are to have things done to them,” she says.

Among her patients today is 5-year-old Kaitlyn Teeter, who relies on regular surgical procedures to help with breathing and allow her to eat properly.

“She’s really special in the sense that this is like her second home and she knows all of us,” Kate says.

(more…)

March 16, 2015 at 12:48 pm 2 comments

THON support for pediatric research is even more than a dream come true

Dr. Valerie Brown, associate professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, thought THON was too good to be true when she came to Hershey in late 2013.

“I just didn’t believe that this support existed,” she says. “It was a dream come true, but even more.”

THON, or the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, is an annual fundraising event that supports the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds Fund supports the families of children with cancer Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research at the College of Medicine. The 2014 THON, held this past weekend in State College, raised a record $13,343,517.33 for the Four Diamonds Fund.

Portrait of Valerie Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

Valerie Brown, M.D., Ph.D., clinical director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital

With the help of THON and the Four Diamonds Fund, Dr. Brown is growing a cutting-edge experimental therapeutics program for pediatric patients with cancer and has brought the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. A consortium is a collaboration of physicians and scientists with different areas of expertise working together around a specific disease or type of disease. In a translational research approach, scientists and others work across their fields of study to move discoveries made in the laboratory to use in patients, and take what they learn with patient populations back to the lab for further study.

One of the goals of the consortium is to improve the outcomes for children with cancer by quickly determining a specialized treatment.

“A lot of treatment for patients with a disease that has come back or mutated is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after it hits the iceberg,” says Dr. Brown. “You can’t avoid the iceberg, and so you need to have better lifeboats. Early phase clinical trials help us to build a better lifeboat.” (more…)

February 24, 2014 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

Teddy Bear adoptions provide opportunities to clear up hospital misconceptions with kids

Children learned how to properly swaddle their new teddy bears

Children learned how to properly swaddle their new teddy bears

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.”

(more…)

April 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm 2 comments

The story of Sir Millard lives on through The Four Diamonds Fund and THON

You may know the legend of King Arthur, but chances are you do not know the story of Sir Millard, the evils he faced or the battles he won, even though every year, the new-age knights he has inspired take up his quest to battle pediatric cancer.

Every year, those champions, in the form of 15,000 Penn State student volunteers, fight their battle via year-long fundraising that culminates in THON weekend at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pennsylvania. This weekend marks the forty-first annual THON dance marathon.

Sir Millard, a.k.a. Christopher Millard, penned his story called “The Four Diamonds” before he died of cancer at the age of 14 in 1972. He had no way of knowing the legacy he would leave behind.

The day he died at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, his parents, Charles and Irma Millard, started the Four Diamonds Fund to raise money to assist pediatric cancer patients and their families with expenses outside those insurance will cover while their children are undergoing treatment.

Photo of the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State during a THON weekend packed with dancers and supporters.

THON fills the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State for 46 hours of dancing, music and emotional excitement one weekend each year.

THON weekend is a celebration of the efforts of the volunteers–joined by their fellow students, Four Diamonds Families, and their many supporters–who dedicate their time to raising money and increasing awareness for pediatric cancer.

It is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, raising $89 million to date, more than $10 million last year alone. Participants hope to surpass $100 million with this year’s total, which exclusively benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. (more…)

February 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

The magic of the Child Life Program

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.”

Izaiah Robinson with Jamie Gray and the Nittany Lion

Izaiah Robinson with Jamie Gray and the Nittany Lion

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. (more…)

February 13, 2013 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

PNC Foundation helps kids be kids at Children’s Hospital

Rendering of Learning Wall in new Children's HospitalPatients at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital will soon have even more opportunity to play and learn thanks to the continuous generosity of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

The freestanding Children’s Hospital is the latest and boldest addition to the campus, and PNC wanted to be a significant partner in seeing it through to fruition. With a $1 million contribution to the Medical Center in 2005 toward the construction of the new children’s hospital building, the PNC Child and Family Resource Center was designated to provide a place for the Injury Prevention Program to educate children and families about child safety as well as distribute PNC Grow Up Great educational materials. Developed with Sesame Workshop, the educational kit and other materials helps prepare children, from birth to age five, to arrive at school ready to learn. (more…)

August 21, 2012 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

John E. Morgan—A man of humble but generous means

Harry B. Loder, 76, passed away on May 16, 2012. The story below was written just before his passing.

If philanthropist and self-made industry leader John E. Morgan were alive today, he wouldn’t enjoy reading this article.

Morgan, whose financial support is helping to build the Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit (PIMCU) in the new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, was an intensely private and humble man, even for projects that most people feel should be publicly celebrated.

“I think he’d like us to say that he used his money wisely,” says Harry B. Loder, a longtime employee and a friend of Morgan who now serves on the board of the John E. Morgan Foundation. “He liked to see people get an education and he also wanted to see them well taken care of.”

Morgan’s business aspirations began simply enough—in the mid-1940s, he and his wife Anna opened a small, storefront sewing shop in Hometown, Pennsylvania, just outside of Tamaqua. At that time, layering in heavy, uncomfortable wool was the only clothing option for staying warm in colder temperatures. Morgan soon developed and patented the waffle stitch, a precise method for knitting that gave rise to mass production of thermal fabrics used for long underwear and blankets. He is often credited with the invention of thermal underwear.

This led to incredible growth for the J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills, which eventually had sales in excess of $45 million and leased office space at the Empire State Building. At the time, the company was the largest employer in Schuylkill County, with a workforce of more than 1,000, and manufacturing plants in Tower City, Williamstown, and Gilbertsville. In 1984, Morgan sold the company to a Scottish-based textile company, although he remained as the board chairman. (more…)

August 10, 2012 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

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