Making a trip to the hospital can be stressful for both our patients and their families. Most often, they come to us because something is wrong and they want to figure out how to get well. Whatever we can do to make that experience a good one, the better off everyone will be. That’s why the staff at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus strives to make its facility a fun, caring environment.
One program at West Campus that brings smiles to a lot of faces is called That’s How We Roll. Created in honor of the hospital’s first leaders, Michelle Riley-Brown and Dr. Charles Hankins, the program offers rides on colorful toy cars and wagons to incoming patients. Volunteers working the entrances to the hospital manage the program and help the children get into the cars and wagons safely.
“We love it, the patients love it and so do their parents,” Guest Services Representative Karen Collins said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Julia Tucci, who brings her 2-year-old son Andrew to West Campus three times a week for occupational and speech therapy, said the service is comforting.
“It makes for a nice transition to our therapy sessions,” she said. “It eases the process.”
Sheri Pivonka agreed and said her 5-year-old daughter, Faith, looks forward to riding the wagon to her weekly therapy session.
“She loves riding the wagon,” Pivonka said. “She’s always looking for it when we come in.”
The idea for the That’s How We Roll program was sparked late last year when Riley-Brown, former West Campus president, and Hankins, former West Campus medical officer, announced they were leaving to lead Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.
“We wanted to honor the time and effort Michelle and Dr. Hankins spent opening the campus and running it for the first four years,” said Bobbie Jehle, project manager for West Campus and The Woodlands. “So, we started thinking of things we could do around the phrase ‘That’s how we roll’ since that was a common quote from Michelle to the West Campus leadership team.”
After several brainstorming sessions, Jehle said leadership decided to focus the project on patient experience and the idea for the That’s How We Roll program was born. West Campus leaders donated money to purchase the cars and wagons as a gift to Riley-Brown and Hankins. Since then, the program has taken off and happily escorts patients to their appointments every day.
“We use it twice a week and enjoy it each and every time,” said Lajuan Rose, the mother of 1-year-old Demari. “It makes our experience here a little bit easier.”