December 19, 2017

Each year, about 50,000 people across the United States make donations ranging from a few dollars to $10,000 or more through the Office of Philanthropy’s Direct Mail program. Often, donors send heartfelt notes wishing our patients, clinical staff, and other team members well, or they mention fond thoughts of their own children or grandchildren.

To help capture that spirit during the holidays, which can be a tough time for those not able to spend it at home, the program offered its donors the opportunity to sign and return paper origami cranes as a way of sending good wishes and hope to our patients and their families.

Japanese legend has it that mystical cranes can live for 1,000 years, and because cranes represent good health, people often work together to create 1,000 paper cranes – called senbazuru – to promote the health of someone special to them.

In honor of our patients and families, a Tree of Hope decorated with 1,000 cranes will remain in the lobby of the Mark A. Wallace Tower throughout the holidays. Patients and families are welcome to take a crane as a gift from our donors, each of whom stopped during a busy time of year to think about Texas Children’s and our mission.

December 12, 2017

Texas Children’s Hospital was the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Via Colori street painting festival in downtown Houston. The Division of Otolaryngology took the lead within Texas Children’s to man a booth at the event and ensure a strong Texas Children’s presence.

Otolaryngologists, audiologists, speech pathologists, nurses and clinic staff participated in playing yard games with families in attendance and sharing information about the hearing and speech services at Texas Children’s. Dr. Ellis Arjmand, chief of otolaryngology at the hospital, took the main stage to talk about the Hearing Center at Texas Children’s.

Via Colori is one of the city’s largest and most popular art festivals. Produced by the The Center for Hearing and Speech, the event is held to fund critical health and educational services for local children with mild to profound hearing loss.

All proceeds from Via Colori benefit The Center for Hearing and Speech, which is a partner of the Texas Children’s Hearing Center.

December 5, 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays at Texas Children’s. The annual tree lighting ceremonies kicked off the season of joy with Santa and Mrs. Claus spreading holiday cheer to patients and their families.

On November 30, Senior Vice President Tabitha Rice and Nancy Baycroft, president of The Auxiliary to Texas Children’s Hospital, kicked off the tree lighting event on The Auxiliary Bridge. Within seconds, the bright lights magically turned on and Santa’s HO HO HO could be heard as he walked down the hallway bearing gifts. Every child received a stuffed holiday bear. Santa also visited patients who were not able to leave their rooms. St. John’s School Choir sang holiday carols to more than 50 patients and their families.

Santa Claus also spread holiday cheer to more than 145 guests at the inaugural Tree Lighting event at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Hankins delivered the welcome speech and Vice President Trent Johnson thanked the event sponsors, Newfield Exploration and The Woodlands Art Council, and wished everyone good cheer. Children took photos with Santa and participated in fun activities including making holiday ornaments and picture frames.

Approximately 8,000 people attended the 10th annual Tree-Lighting Celebration in the courtyard at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch on November 18. Three-year-old Paris Ndu, a patient at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, had the honors of lighting the 30-foot Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season.

With the holiday season upon us, there’s plenty of cheer left for patients, families and employees. Be sure to check out one of these holiday gatherings on your clinic floors and get in the holiday spirit.

  • Thursday, December 7 – Gingerbread house making (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in The Zone)
  • Thursday, December 7 – Storybook Theater with Elsa (3 p.m., The Woodlands campus lobby)
  • Monday, December 11 – Junior League Big Santa Event (1 p.m. in The Zone)
  • Friday, December 15 – Bennett’s Bears visit fifth-floor inpatient (The Woodlands)
  • Tuesday, December 19 – Santa visits patients (1 p.m., West Campus)
  • Thursday, December 21 – Holiday Piano & Violin Duo (11:30 a.m. The Woodlands campus lobby)
  • Friday, December 22 – Bennett’s Bears visit clinic floors (10 a.m., West Campus)

In a little over a month, a Magnet appraiser team will visit Texas Children’s facilities for a site visit, which represents a huge milestone in the hospital’s journey towards achieving Magnet® re-designation.

Since 2003, Texas Children’s has been a Magnet-designated organization. Every four years, the hospital applies for Magnet® re-designation, which is the highest and most prestigious recognition provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and reflects Texas Children’s commitment to providing excellent patient care.

From January 22 to 24, 2018, Magnet® appraisers will conduct a site visit at Texas Children’s, which is one of the many required steps to obtain Magnet® re-designation. The site visit will provide an opportunity for nurses and the entire health care team to engage with the Magnet® appraisers, share their exceptional accomplishments, and highlight our great partnership, exceptional care delivery and collaboration to enhance patient outcomes. After the site visit, the Magnet® appraisers will submit a report to the Commission on Magnet®, which makes the final determination regarding Texas Children’s Magnet® re-designation.

From now until the Magnet® site visit in mid-January, a special series will be featured on Connect highlighting what Texas Children’s employees “need to know” regarding this important site visit.

To start the series off, we’ll answer the questions: “What is Magnet?”… and “Why is it so important?”

What is Magnet?

Magnet is a credential bestowed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center which formally recognizes an organization’s attainment of nursing excellence.

Why is it so important?

Obtaining and maintaining Magnet designation is important because it benefits patients, nurses and our organization. Examples of the benefits include:

  • Enhanced ability to attract and retain top talent
  • Improved patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction
  • Strengthened collaborative culture
  • Advanced nursing practice and shared governance structure
  • Heightened business and financial successes

Stay tuned to Connect for more of what you “need to know” regarding our upcoming Magnet® site visit. To learn more about the ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program®, click here

While construction progress continues to be made on the vertical expansion of Texas Children’s Legacy Tower, several changes will take effect starting on Monday, December 11.

With the re-opening of the Level 1 shuttle entrance, escalators and Level 3 South Elevator Lobby at the Pavilion for Women, employees will be able to resume direct shuttle service from Garage 19 to the Pavilion for Women.

Since July 6, the Pavilion for Women Direct Stop had been re-routed to a temporary shuttle stop on Fannin Street to accommodate construction work on the Legacy Tower and minimize the impact on employees who rely on these services to get to and from the Medical Center Campus. This temporary stop on Fannin Street will be discontinued beginning on December 11. Signage alerting employees and staff of this change will be placed at Garage 19, Meyer Building, Feigin Tower, and the Pavilion for Women shuttle stops.

To learn more about shuttle services and pick up locations, click here. To track the shuttles location in real time, this information can be accessed on your desk top here and on your smartphone here.

Additional renovations underway on Legacy Tower

Since July 6, elevator access to Level 3 of Legacy Tower was shut down so crews could create new lobbies. Now, with the re-opening of Level 3 on December 11, planning and coordination have already begun for renovation of Level 5 elevator lobby and Radiology waiting room, work that scheduled to begin Tuesday, December 12 and last through March 2018.

In addition, improvements to Garage 21 parking levels will begin on December 11 starting with the level B4 south end under Legacy Tower. Work in the garage will occur one-half floor at a time and be complete by May 2018. As a reminder, South elevator access to Level 1 will remain closed through March 2018.

Stay tuned to Connect for future updates regarding the impact of construction on the Legacy Tower.

November 21, 2017

Because of the complexity of conditions seen at Texas Children’s, many patients and families view the health system and its staff as a family that supports them both inside and outside the hospital. That relationship was on full display November 15 when several patients of the Texas Children’s Craniofacial Clinic were given the opportunity to attend a free, early screening of the movie, Wonder.

Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. Based on the New York Times bestseller, the film stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay.

“We feel that this screening was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the courage displayed by so many of the children that we help treat every day,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery and associate surgeon-in-chief for clinical affairs at Texas Children’s. “And it reinforces the importance of seeing things through others’ point of view. Finally, we thought it was a great opportunity for everyone to attend a real movie premiere.”

The premiere was sponsored by members of the Children’s Craniofacial Association and Texas Children’s Craniofacial Clinic team, which treats and researches complex craniofacial differences such as Treacher Collins Syndrome, the one highlighted in Wonder.

Held at AMC Studio 30 on Dunvale Road in Houston, the screening of the movie began with patients and families walking down a red carpet and posing for photographs before making their way to the theater. The event ended with comments from two Craniofacial Clinic patients and their family members.

Grace Anto, a 10-year-old Craniofacial Clinic patient, said she could relate to much of what August, the lead character in the movie, went through.

“I have felt like Auggie,” she said. “Every time I make a new friend, it’s like a new beginning.”

Twelve-year-old Lance Dromgoole, another Craniofacial Clinic patient, agreed and said his favorite part of the movie was when August and Jack became friends.

“That was definitely the best,” he said.

Like the lead character in Wonder, Lance and Grace have had multiple surgeries to correct their craniofacial differences. Grace has had 10 surgeries and Lance has undergone 38. Some of those procedures helped Lance breathe better and others gave him actual ears, something he was born without.

Lance’s grandmother, Kathy Dromgoole, said she will never forget the first time Lance was able to put on sunglasses and that she will forever be grateful for the care her grandson has received at Texas Children’s. Regarding the movie, she said she hopes Wonder shows people that children with craniofacial differences are normal kids and that they deserve to be treated as such.

Grace’s mother, Lynn Anto, said the movie beautifully illustrates the power of kindness and how greatly it is needed people’s lives.

“Everyone is going through something,” she said. “And everyone could use a little kindness.”

Athena Krasnosky, a nurse practitioner with the Craniofacial Clinic and one of the organizers of the screening, told last week’s audience that Texas Children’s sees itself and its patients and families as one big happy family, and that everyone within the Craniofacial Clinic was thrilled to have been able to watch such a meaningful film together.

“We are so glad to have been able see this movie together tonight as a family,” she said. “We hope you enjoyed it.”

Haley Streff, a genetic counselor with Texas Children’s and another organizer of the movie screening, echoed Krasnosky’s comments and said the moving screening was a powerful experience.

“All of us here have a connection to someone with a craniofacial difference,” she said. “We all can relate in one way or another to what just happened on that movie screen.”

Texas Children’s Hospital Spiritual Care Department is asking you and your faith community to consider participating in No Crib For A Bed, a program that helps provide safe-sleeping accommodations to children and families in need.

Due to limited resources, many families in the Greater Houston area are forced to co-sleep with their infants. Such sleeping accommodations pose serious risks of injury and possible death to a child. The Spiritual Care Department is trying to minimize such risks by facilitating the provision of new mobile cribs, such as Pack N Plays, and new baby blankets to families in need. Along with the mobile cribs and blankets, the department, through its No Crib For A Bed program, provides safe sleep information provided by our Childhood Injury Prevention Department.

Donations of the mobile cribs and blankets and/or money are facilitated through various faith communities throughout the area.

“We are asking you to help and to please discuss with your faith community about donating one or more new Pack N Plays and a corresponding new baby blanket,” said Chaplain James Denham. “Your help goes a long way in helping the families in our community and especially the youngest among us find protection and safety.”

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Denham or the Spiritual Care Department at ext. 4-7223.