Step Up for Patients First improves elevator experience for patient families at Wallace Tower

August 15, 2017

“When we were at Texas Children’s for countless tests and procedures, wrestling for an elevator was the last thing we wanted to do,” wrote a Texas Children’s patient family. “Thank you to all of the staff and doctors who we saw taking the stairs. Seeing staff walk up or down a few flights of stairs was a kind gesture to free up space.”

This recent Caught You Caring comment is one of many inspiring messages submitted to Texas Children’s Patient Experience Team following the launch of the hospital’s Step Up for Patients First initiative two months ago.

“Since this initiative began, we have received an influx of positive comments from patient families,” said Maggie Weimer, senior project manager of Patient and Family Services. “Comparing third quarter metrics in FY16 and FY17, we have seen a 70 percent drop in negative comments related to elevator use at the Mark Wallace Tower.”

In June, Texas Children’s launched the Step Up for Patients First initiative, which encourages employees and staff to put patients and families first, from the time they arrive at work to the time they leave. This includes providing patients and their families priority access to the elevators to reduce unnecessary wait times.

“Long wait times had been a significant, ongoing concern for patient families who depend on the Wallace Tower elevators to take them to and from their clinic appointments,” said Katie Kalenda Daggett, director of Patient and Family Services. “Because of the positive feedback from patient families, we learned this simple act of putting patients first when moving about on our public elevators has made a strong and positive statement about our commitment to them.”

Furthermore, to support the Step up for Patients First initiative, 2,083 Texas Children’s employees participated in the StairWELL challenge during the month of June, while making physical activity a priority in 2017. Prior to the stairwell initiative, patient families waited up to 30 minutes for an elevator at Wallace Tower. With more employees taking the stairs, wait times have improved significantly, allowing patients and their families to arrive at their appointments with ease.

“As appointment volumes tend to pick up going into the school year, we want to encourage employees to be aware and step in to help our patient families who may need our guidance,” Weimer said. “We all represent Texas Children’s and our patients and families are counting on us to help them throughout their visit.”

Step Up for Patients First is part of a broader initiative that will include future improvement efforts, such as encouraging employees to assist those who are lost and need help with wayfinding and optimizing employee visibility of the Caught You Caring Program, an organization-wide initiative that recognizes employees for their every day acts of kindness and their above and beyond efforts to show they care for Texas Children’s patients.

The Patient Experience Team continually receives feedback from patient families – including employees and staff – about small changes that can be implemented system-wide to promote a positive patient experience.

If you have suggestions for improvements or any additional feedback, contact the Patient Experience Team at