April 22, 2019

The Purple Songs Can Fly documentary, “Journey to Hope,” was recognized with the Platinum Remi Award at the 2019 WorldFest-Houston.

“My father must have orchestrated this from heaven along with all the other angels watching over Mia, Layla, Dominic, Emily, Stephen and Christian,” said Anita Kruse, founder and executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly. “Thank you. Your love is eternal and shows us that hope is always here. This one’s for you.”

Purple Songs Can Fly, the first recording studio created on a pediatric cancer floor, was founded in 2006 at Texas Children’s Hospital. Thirteen years and thousands of songs later, six childhood cancer patients, Mia, Layla, Dominic, Emily, Stephen and Christian, come together as survivors to share “Journey to Hope,” an original musical featuring their own songs. Written and recorded in the Purple Songs Can Fly studio during their individual cancer journeys, these songs were created as a way to express the myriad of emotions and feelings a pediatric cancer diagnosis may bring.

“We were thrilled to be included in this year’s line up at WorldFest-Houston, alongside many other wonderful, independent films,” Kruse said. “It was a great stage for our story to be told, truly shining a light on pediatric cancer.”

Now in its 52nd year, WorldFest, the Houston International Film Festival, showcased more than 60 new independent feature films and more than 100 award-winning shorts from around the globe. The WorldFest mission is to recognize and honor outstanding creative achievement in film and video, while educating and introducing excellence in cinematic arts for the promotion of cultural tourism in Houston. Founded in 1961 as an international film society, it evolved into a competitive international film festival in 1968, and became the third such festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York.

“We’re so proud of Anita and the incredible patients who created such a beautiful film,” said Carol Herron, coordinator of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “Purple Songs Can Fly has provided hundreds of patients and siblings the gift of sharing their journey through song, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to share this special piece with our community.”

To view the trailer, visit “Journey to Hope.” For more information about Purple Songs Can Fly, visit www.purplesongcanfly.org and for more information about 2019 WorldFest-Houston, visit www.worldfest.org.

April 15, 2019

Don’t miss out on the fun at the third annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Registration for the event ends at 5 p.m. Monday, April 22, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already. There are only about 500 more slots available, and they’re going fast.

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will host the fun run at its campus on Saturday, May 4. The event will offer a 1-mile course and will begin at 9 a.m. Post-race activities will follow until 11 a.m.

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Calling all volunteers

Volunteer registration also is open for our Family Fun Run event in The Woodlands! Opportunities are available for bag stuffing, packet pick-up, day before set-up and race day. Requirements include:

  • Volunteers must be registered in advance.
  • If someone volunteers, we ask that they be available for their full shift.
  • They should not bring young children or other family members that are not registered.
  • The minimum age to volunteer is 12.

A T-shirt will be provided to all volunteers to wear during their shift.

Click here for volunteer opportunities.

Thank you, good luck and happy running!

April 9, 2019

At Texas Children’s, we care for some of the country’s most critically ill patients, and delivering safe, quality care for our patients is the most important responsibility of each staff member and employee.

As part of Texas Children’s continuing efforts to enhance patient safety across the system, employees and medical staff are encouraged to complete the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture by April 22. The survey will be sent via email and will measure Texas Children’s overall patient safety performance.

“Our clinical and non-clinical staff play an important role in patient safety at Texas Children’s and their input matters,” said Katie Basta, assistant director of Quality and Patient Safety. “The more feedback we have, the better we can plan for the future by identifying gaps and taking action. The survey also tells us what areas we’re doing well in – which is equally important – so that we can hardwire good practices.”

The survey assesses 13 dimensions of patient safety including communication openness, teamwork within and across individual work areas, overall perceptions of patient safety, frequency of safety events reported, and implementation of solutions to cultivate a work environment that promotes patient safety.

“Texas Children’s employees and medical staff – regardless of their job title or position – are crucial in helping us cultivate a harm-free environment for our patients,” said Texas Children’s Chief Safety Officer Dr. Joan Shook. “The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is one important way we can assess how well Texas Children’s is performing. The feedback received will guide our strategies for continual improvement.”

The survey is administered every18- 24 months per regulatory requirement by Joint Commission. The survey takes about 10 minutes or less to complete. All responses will remain anonymous.

If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Jacobson with Patient Safety at 832-824-1310.

Texas Children’s is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees, our patients and their families. Supporting this commitment, Employee Health and Well-Being completes routine tuberculosis (TB) skin testing. All patient care providers and employees with indirect patient contact, should complete a TB skin test by July 1.

Please refer to the 2019 TB Testing Schedule for a complete schedule of testing dates, times and locations across Texas Children’s hospital campuses. Note, once the TB skin test has been placed, only trained, designated personnel can read results between 48 and 72 hours after placement.

Which Texas Children’s employees should receive a TB skin test?

Employees who have direct or indirect patient contact as detailed in their job description. Examples of employees within these groups:

Direct Patient Contact includes but is not limited to: nurses, medical assistants, patient care assistants, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, physicians and clinical leaders.

Indirect Patient Contact includes but is not limited to employees in the following departments: facilities, pharmacy and radiology, as well as clinical leaders and case managers.

For more information, please see sections 8 and 9 of the Tuberculosis Exposure Control Plan Procedure or visit the Employee Health Services page on Connect.

Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper TB skin test forms when they receive the TB skin test and must bring the form with them at the time of the TB skin read.

Which Texas Children’s employees do not need a TB skin test?
Employees who do not have any patient contact.
Employees who have already received a negative TB skin test in 2019.
Employees with a documented positive TB skin test. These employees will receive an email from Employee Health with instructions to complete a questionnaire through the Employee Health & Wellness Portal.

Employee Health will provide separate instructions to share with employees who do not work on a hospital campus. Employees who are unable to be tested on any of the provided dates can make individual appointments by calling Employee Health Services at 832-824-2150, option 2.

If you have any questions about TB testing at Texas Children’s, contact Employee Health at 832-824-2150, option 2.

It’s time to take the Compassion Challenge this year! During Patient Experience Week, beginning on Monday, April 22, Texas Children’s will launch the Compassion Challenge to engage staff and providers around the hospital’s core values.

During Patient Experience Week, staff and providers across the organization will complete a challenge that focuses on the concepts of compassion, communication and connectedness. Examples of challenges include: greeting 10 people during the first two hours of your shift and holding open the door/elevator for a patient or visitor.

“Every one of us is empowered to demonstrate compassion – a simple, yet transformative, expression we can offer to others and to ourselves.” Director of Patient and Family Services, Katie Kalenda-Daggett said. “To understand the emotional state of another person and have the desire to reduce her/his suffering not only enriches the experience of that colleague, patient, or family but also the experience we create for ourselves each day.”

Staff and providers will register online to participate in the Compassion Challenge. Daily reminders and encouragement will be sent during Patient Experience Week to those that are registered. Those who complete each challenge during Patient Experience Week will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win 2 tickets aboard a lunch cruise on The Boardwalk FantaSea, a luxury yacht located in Kemah, Texas. Click here to register online to participate in the Compassion Challenge.

The theme for Patient Experience Week is “Get on Board with Patient Experience,” as we set sail for exotic ports of call to celebrate patients. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of teamwork as we ask all employees to get aboard the Texas Children’s ship, The Bounty of Patient Experience, and continue to serve as anchors to patients and ensuring their experience is smooth sailing.

From April 22 to April 26, the Patient Experience team will kick off an exciting week filled with nautical-themed activities and interactive events at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital Woodlands Campus.

Amongst the events planned we will have Caught You Caring Awards ceremonies at all three campuses to recognize our 2019 recipients who have gone above and beyond to show compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.

In addition, there will also be patient events at each campus where various departments will have tables with fun activities for patients and families including music, a photo booth, and a host of games.

Patient Experience Week 2019 – Get on Board with Patient Experience

Monday, April 22
Compassion Challenge begins system-wide

Caught You Caring Ceremony – Medical Center Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: Feigin Tower, first floor, FC-01A
When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23
Caught You Caring Ceremony – West Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: West Campus Conference Center, first floor
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

West Campus Patient event
Where: West Campus, first floor
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24
Medical Center Campus Patient event
Where: The Auxiliary Bridge
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friday, April 26
Compassion Challenge ends

Caught You Caring Ceremony – The Woodlands Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: Woodlands Conference Center, second floor
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Woodlands Campus Bridge event
Where: The Woodlands, first floor
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As part of Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative, Texas Children’s MyChart now offers direct scheduling that allows current patients to quickly and easily schedule their appointments online.

Once patients log in to their MyChart accounts, they can schedule an appointment with their provider by clicking on the “schedule an appointment” button and following the prompts and instructions.

Since implementing the MyChart direct scheduling option, more than 5,500 appointments have been made and patient families describe the process as “simple and convenient.”

“I was surprised that Texas Children’s had this option,” wrote a Texas Children’s family. “It was very convenient and the scheduling process was very simple and streamlined.”

Click here for more information on how to schedule and cancel appointments online via MyChart.

About Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative

Launched in August 2017, Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative is an on-going, collaborative effort to improve patient access across the organization. Since then, Texas Children’s has made significant progress to ensure patients easily and conveniently get in the door so we can provide the care they need, when they need it.

Click here for a list of other tools and features we’ve implemented across the system to improve access, care coordination and patient experience at Texas Children’s.

Texas Children’s Heart Center was once again the site of a groundbreaking novel treatment that gives experts in our new catheterization laboratories yet another method at their disposal in the treatment of complex heart conditions.

Dr. Henri Justino, co-director of the center’s cardiac catheterization labs and director of cardiac innovation, recently developed and performed a first-of-its-kind procedure in which a young patient’s lung veins were reached directly through the chest wall.

Hope for Bronx

Three-year-old Bronx Delarosa was born with total anomalous pulmonary venous return, a critical heart defect that causes oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs to be pumped into the right atrium instead of the left atrium, as it normally should. There, the oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood, which means the body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs.

At just 8 days old, Bronx underwent a surgery to repair the defect that was initially thought to be a success. However, following a second surgery, doctors told his parents he’d developed a secondary condition – pulmonary vein stenosis, a condition that caused severe narrowing in his surgically repaired veins. The Delarosas were heartbroken when they learned there was nothing else that could be done for Bronx in their hometown.

To give their son a fighting chance, they turned to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Breaking new ground

Justino performed Bronx’s first catheterization procedure in February 2018, during which he placed a metal stent in the blocked upper vein in Bronx’s right lung. However, he was unable to relieve the blockage in the lower vein.

After a personal friend underwent a lung biopsy, where a tissue sample was taken directly through the chest wall, Justino wondered if a similar approach could be applied in cases like Bronx’s – entering the veins of the lungs through the chest.

After thorough research, Justino decided to move forward with the unique approach to relieve the blockage in Bronx’s right lung.

Bronx was taken to the catheterization lab where the team performed a CT scan to identify the exact location where the blocked vein was sufficiently far apart from artery, yet close enough to the chest wall, to allow a needle to enter the vein directly between the ribs. Justino and his team also generated a 3-D computerized model to pinpoint the exact location where the needle would enter Bronx’s chest. To ensure the utmost accuracy, a laser crosshair was beamed on his chest at the entry point.

Justino carefully made his way into Bronx’s lung and placed a tiny catheter, the thickness of a raw spaghetti noodle. He then used a special wire to deliver radiofrequency energy to get across the blocked vein and into the heart. From there, the wire was threaded down through Bronx’s leg. This allowed a stent to be placed in the blocked vein via a catheter in the leg.

Bronx recovered well and a follow-up echocardiogram proved the experimental approach was a success. The first-of-its-kind procedure, which lasted more than eight hours, was performed in one of the Heart Center’s new state-of-the-art, 1,000-square-foot cardiac catheterization labs, which Justino helped design with this type of procedure in mind.

“We are proud that Dr. Justino was able to develop this completely novel procedure for Bronx,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny. “Pulmonary vein stenosis in children is an extremely difficult problem to treat and tests the limits of our abilities to innovate. We see this new procedure as another advancement in the treatment of these children, which will be applied more widely in the future and help us improve the care we offer for complex cardiac conditions.”

Learn more about Texas Children’s Heart Center, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.