September 29, 2017

Patients got the chance to root for their hometown football team Friday prior to the Houston Texans’ Sunday game against the Tennessee Titans. Two of the team’s cheerleaders and the team’s mascot, TORO, were in the Child Life Zone to participate in the fun.

See photos from the pep rally below.

The Texans-Titans game is sponsored by Texas Children’s Hospital and will celebrate the National Football League’s Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to be active 60 minutes a day to help decrease childhood obesity.

The game caps off a week of Play 60 activities hosted by Texas Children’s and the Texans. One of the most popular events of the week was Play 60 at the Park. Held at Levy Park in the Upper Kirby District of Houston, the family-friendly event featured appearances by players Braxton Miller and Brian Peters, and focused on staying active and eating healthy.

Click here to watch a video from Play 60 at the Park.

Texas Children’s Hospital is the official children’s hospital of the Houston Texans football team. The goal of Texas Children’s and the Texans partnership is to inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives.

September 26, 2017

Each fall, we ask that you get vaccinated against the flu virus to not only protect yourself but to protect those around you. We know that our employees are instinctively driven to do the right thing for our patients and that means getting vaccinated against the flu every year.

Here’s what to expect for 2017.

Flu season details
  • NEW – Upon vaccination, staff will receive a 2017-2018 flu season sticker to place on their badges.
  • Flu vaccines will become available at our flu vaccination events beginning Tuesday, September 26. See Required Influenza Vaccination Policy and Procedure for more details.
  • Employee Health will be administering free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, medical staff, volunteers, and Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities. Click here for the BCM Occupational Health Program schedule.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts this year’s flu season will begin in October. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications. To learn more about our upcoming flu season, click here.
Vaccine administration

Prior to receiving your vaccine, Texas Children’s employees are to complete their Flu Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal. Click here for portal instructions.

This process greatly reduced the wait times for flu vaccination last year as well as eliminated the need to scan or fax the flu consent forms to Employee Health.

Thank you in advance for doing the right thing and receiving your flu vaccine!
Note: Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper consent forms when they receive the flu vaccine.

Texas Children’s Hospital is proud to announce its Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program recently earned Comprehensive Care Center accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA). Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program is the first in Texas to receive this esteemed designation.

“We are honored to earn ACHA accreditation for the comprehensive care we provide to our patients each day,” said Dr. Wayne J. Franklin, director of Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. “As one of the largest programs in the nation, we are proud this designation will heighten the standard of care for the more than 1 million adults in our country who are living with a congenital heart defect.”

Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program received accreditation by meeting ACHA’s criteria – which includes medical and surgical services and personnel requirements – and going through a rigorous accreditation process, both of which were developed over a number of years through a collaboration with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and adult congenital heart disease patients.

“This accreditation further validates the coordinated surgical and medical care we deliver,” said Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr., surgeon-in-chief and chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children’s. “Our dedication to tracking patient outcomes allows us to continually improve quality of care and optimum results for our patients.”

Patients of Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program receive seamless continuation of care from birth through adulthood. As a pediatric patient transitions to their adult years, the multidisciplinary team of experienced congenital heart disease specialists advises them on health and lifestyle choices for their adult needs, including physical challenges, exercise options and family planning.

For more information about ACHA click here. To learn more about Texas Children’s Heart Center, ranked No. 1 nationally in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report, please click here.

System wide Texas Children’s Cancer Center showed their “Going Gold” spirit throughout the month of September in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

Patients, families and Texas Children’s Cancer Center employees wore everything gold, the official symbolic color for childhood cancer awareness, and participated in Going Gold parades, ribbon tying events and other festivities at our Main Campus in the Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands and Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic in McAllen, Texas.

View a photo gallery from the events below.

Dressed in bright gold shirts and donned with gold stars, hats, necklaces, bracelets and other festive gear, participants marched for the worthy cause. Vendors from organizations such as the Periwinkle Foundation were present at all three events offering additional support to patients and families. And, in partnership with the Periwinkle Arts in Medicine Program, representatives from Purple Songs Can Fly showcased a beautiful song – Go Gold – written and produced just for the special occasion.

“Over the years, there have been significant advancements in oncology, making what was once a fatal diagnosis survivable here in the United States,” said Dr. Deborah Shardy, associate clinical director, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, West Campus. “However, there is still much more work that needs to be done, which is why we are here today.”

Texas Children’s Cancer Center was inspired to “Go Gold” three years ago by a young patient, Faris D. Virani, who was perplexed as to why he didn’t see as much gold in September as he saw other colors in months representing other diseases. Motivated by Faris’ concern, each year the Cancer Center has increased their level of “gold-ness.”

“Going gold is a way for us both to honor the courageous journeys of our patients and families who have been touched by pediatric cancer and to create awareness on a national level about the challenges these children face,” said Dr. David Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

“Personally, the Going Gold campaign is a reminder that each day in our Cancer Center, all our dedicated staff members, including physicians and nurses, researchers, technicians and our support personnel, are diligently looking for ways to improve the cure rate for childhood cancer. We will not quit until we find a cure for every child with cancer and are able to prevent these diseases altogether.”

Faris’ mother, Asha Virani, said she knows her son, who lost his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, is smiling because of all of the gold that was shown around Texas Children’s in September.

“This has truly been a golden moment” she said after the parade at Main Campus. “I would love for this to spread to other hospitals across the nation and the rest of the world.”

By the end of this year, it is estimated that over 15,700 children nationwide will be diagnosed with a form of pediatric cancer. Please help spread the message that Texas Children’s Cancer Center is leading the battle against pediatric cancer. To learn more about Texas Children’s Cancer Center, please visit

At Texas Children’s, we know just how important it is to keep the patient and family’s experience at the forefront of everything we do. Enhancing the experience for every patient and family who walks through our doors to receive care remains our top priority.

“We collect feedback year-round from our patient families to better understand how they experience their care with us, as well as to compare Texas Children’s experience with that of similar women’s and children’s hospitals across the country,” said Texas Children’s Director of Patient and Family Services Katie Kalenda Daggett. “The improvement initiatives and activities implemented across the Texas Children’s system are directly tied to what they tell us through the surveys.”

Starting on October 1, 2017, Texas Children’s will implement several new changes to the Patient Satisfaction Survey in response to feedback from patients, families, staff and providers. These enhancements will make the survey process more convenient for patient families and will provide specific actionable insight on what we do well and on where we have opportunities.

There are several survey improvements that will be implemented in FY18:

  • All phone surveys will transition to e-surveys. E-surveys will give families the opportunity to provide feedback almost immediately or when it is most convenient for them. This will make data more timely for teams. Patient families will also have the opportunity to provide feedback via their mobile devices. The e-survey will be available in two languages – English and Spanish – which will allow staff to receive feedback from the majority of Texas Children’s patient population. Through e-surveys, employees and staff will have the opportunity to survey 100 percent of the eligible patient population.
  • Survey questions will be condensed with the exception of inpatient surveys. Instead of 20 to 60 questions, the e-surveys will consist of 15-20 questions. Survey questions are selected based on their correlation to the patient’s overall satisfaction, the ability to take action, unit-level importance and Magnet reporting. By only asking questions that matter most to patients and their families, the goal is to achieve a better use of patients’ time when completing the survey.
  • Transition to CAHPS survey: Pediatric and adult inpatients will receive a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey upon discharge. The Leapfrog Survey and other regulatory bodies use HCAHPS to measure patient satisfaction. This adjustment will allow Texas Children’s to benchmark the experience of care with others across the nation.
  • Transition to NICU survey: Parents of patients in our Newborn Center will receive a NICU specific e-survey which provide meaningful questions pertaining to the hospital’s NICU population. This survey will allow our NICU to benchmark patient experience scores with other NICU’s across the nation.

In addition to these improvements to patient satisfaction surveying, Texas Children’s will transition to top box for goal setting and data reporting. Considered the industry standard for measuring patient satisfaction, top box is the percentage of respondents who gave the most positive response on the survey scale, such as “very good,” “yes,” or “always” – depending on survey type.

“Patient satisfaction goals will transition from a mean score to top box percentile which is simpler and more concise than a mean score,” said Aileen Rago, assistant director of Patient and Family Services. “Data, reports and unit goals will look different, as top box will be used in place of the mean score. A top box score of 67 percent means that 67 percent of patients/parents responded “very good” to the survey question. Essentially, top box will showcase how consistently we deliver on the experience at Texas Children’s.”

While these changes will take time to get used to, these improvements will provide employees and staff with more timely, meaningful data and benchmarking to ensure we create the best experience for our patients and their families.

“Patient and family experience at Texas Children’s is inclusive of the medical care we provide at the bedside,” Kalenda-Daggett said. “It is a reflection of our partnership with the patient and family. Everything we do revolves around our patients and families being heard and responded to. With these changes, we will be able to survey more of our patients in ways that works best for them; in turn we will better understand the needs of our patients and families, and respond compassionately.”

Anita Kruse, executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly, and Lisa Sheinbaum, owner of Art For All, recently joined efforts to publish a book benefiting Purple Songs Can Fly, a program that provides a musical outlet for children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

Titled ‘Purple Song,’ the book was written by Kruse and illustrated by Sheinbaum. Through their words and pictures, the women produced a story about Purple Song, a little purple companion shaped like a treble clef with wings who shows readers how to sing their way through their troubles.

“‘Purple Song’ lets you see that friendship can emerge into beautiful melodies,” Kruse said. “We want readers to join Purple Song as she lifts them up and shares her connection to the power of music.”

Published by LongTale Publishing, a portion of the books proceeds will go to Purple Songs Can Fly. You can purchase ‘Purple Song’ at Texas Children’s gift shops and retail outlets such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

On September 22, Dr. Martha Curley, the 2017 recipient of the Thomas Vargo Visiting Professorship in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, presented two lectures to residents, fellows, APP’s, physicians and nurses during her visit to Texas Children’s including Pediatric Grand Rounds  titled “Team Science – Answering Complex Clinical Questions Together.”

Curley is the Ellen and Robert Kapito Professor in Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She also holds a joint appointment in Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at the University’s Perelman School of Medicine and is a nurse scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Through several decades of outstanding high quality nurse-led research that engages all members of the clinical team, Curley has transformed the ICU experiences and outcomes of countless critically ill children and their families all over the world.