May 20, 2019

On May 13, The Department of Patient and Family Engagement hosted their first Family Advisor Appreciation Celebration. The picnic themed event was organized to honor family advisors who have provided their ideas, compassion, and time to Texas Children’s.

Over 20 years ago senior administration and faculty leadership invited a group of families with extensive hospital experience to provide a consumer perspective on expansion plans. This resulted in the establishment of a formal, interdisciplinary Family Advisory Board (FAB), charting the course for continued collaboration on quality, safety and patient experience initiatives.

Years later, Texas Children’s became one of the first pediatric hospital’s to hire a full-time parent Family-Centered Care (FCC) Specialist to support the FAB and facilitate family engagement system-wide. As the program grew, the Department of Patient and Family-Centered Care, was created which included service-specific advisory groups, with extended opportunities created for families to participate.

“Patient and family advisors represent the fabric of our mission. By partnering with advisors directly, we understand how they experience care through the perspective of their very personal and vivid lens,” Director of Patient and Family Services, Katie Kalenda-Daggett said. “They not only inform us, but they also motivate us to remain and grow as an ever improving and evolving organization.”

The celebration began as employees and family advisors mingled in the Pavilion for Women’s fourth floor conference rooms to the DJ’s smooth tunes and the alluring aroma of popcorn and a buffet with a variety of delicious foods. Past the tables with red and white picnic table cloths was a photo booth in the corner of the room. The Texas Children’s ukulele choir opened with 5 beautiful songs, then a small program followed with a welcome from Daggett and the presentation of pins to long-standing family advisors.

Darius and Desiree Bradley were amongst the advisors honored for being a part of the program for more than nine years, and they don’t plan on quitting anytime soon.

“It has been a joyful experience for us. Our daughter is a frequent flyer of Texas Children’s Hospital,” Desiree Bradley said as she briefly touched on their connection to the hospital. “They’re going to have to roll me out of here in my wheelchair. I’ll be hugging babies, holding babies, reading to somebody, waving on the bridge, and advising parents as long as I can.”

Upon being discharged from the NICU years ago, a nurse approached the Bradleys about being a part of the FAB. They began as volunteers for focus groups and proceeded to work tirelessly with the FCC. Darius Bradley says that his experience as a father of a hospitalized child combined with his passion for helping others catapulted his efforts to become a voice for others.

“I know that transitioning into this lifestyle can be overwhelming, so I wanted to become a resource for other parents, Bradley said. “When you’ve been where they are and still continuing on your journey, it brings a sense of relief, and assurance to them. I can see the weight lifted off of their shoulders as I speak with them continuously.”

Formerly known as the Family Centered Care (FCC) program, the Department of Patient & Family Engagement partners with our Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs) to help to promote family-centered care across the System. Over the past year, PFA involvement has expanded beyond the Medical Center campus to West Campus, The Pavilion for Women, The Woodlands, and Austin, with over 250 registered PFAs. Texas Children’s PFAs have also reinforced their impact by participating in many conferences and system committees such as the Nursing Quality Improvement Council, the leader rounding simulations and The CLABSI Prevention Team, just to name a few.

“I just want to thank you all for everything that you do for Texas Children’s,” Assistant Director of Patient and Family Services, Aileen Rago said, as she delivered the final words during the ceremony. “Know that while there’s so much still to be done, we truly appreciate how far we’ve come. We are grateful for all of our Texas Children’s advisors.”

May 6, 2019

Patient Experience Week 2019 sailed off effortlessly with more than 600 patients, families and employees in attendance. From April 22 to April 26, these fun and engaging nautical-themed activities at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands were specifically designed to celebrate and emphasize our focus on patient experience as we continue to strive for excellent patient-centered care.

At the beginning of the week for the second consecutive year, the Patient Experience team opened the Compassion Challenge to employees. During Patient Experience Week, staff and providers across the organization completed a challenge that focused on the concepts of compassion, communication and connectedness. Amongst the 348 employees that registered and completed the compassion challenge, Mary Hatchett and Elyssa Blum were chosen as the winners of two tickets aboard a lunch cruise on The Boardwalk FantaSea, a luxury yacht located in Kemah, Texas that sails off later this summer.

The first portion of the Patient Experience Week celebration was the Caught You Caring (CYC) Awards ceremonies held at each hospital to recognize our 2019 recipients who have gone above and beyond to show compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.

“I was honored to be recognized during the Caught You Caring awards ceremony,” Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Nurse at the Woodlands Campus, Jennifer Grubbs said. “I was surrounded by so many others who were recognized, and deserving as well. I was humbled to hear such kind words shared by families and co-workers, and how I have impacted their experience in our surgery department in The Woodlands. I truly love what I do every day, and enjoy making a positive impact for a worried parent, or anxious child.”

The CYC program’s idea was brought to life after a physician read a heartfelt letter written by the mother of one of our patients. She described the care and compassion her whole family received during her son’s admission. Since then, CYC was conceptualized, piloted in our surgery areas in 2015, and has been launched system-wide with more than 10,000 CYC cards received to date. CYC boxes are located throughout all campuses so that anyone can recognize a staff member or a colleague.

A panel of judges scored each nomination to select the top employees who are as follow:

Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus winners:

  • Xavier George, PCA, Ambulatory Surgery
  • Calvin Haskett, USA waste removal, EVS
  • Ashly Swaty, PCM, PICU
  • Carmen Vela, ASR, Plastic Surgery
  • Honorable mentions: Wanda Diaz-Gonzalez, Kandi Korte-Kidd, Stephanie Portillo, Mary Vail, Maria Olfindo

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women winners:

  • Shamika Jenkins, clerical secretary, Surgery
  • Roxanna Miremadi, sonographer, Women’s Services

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus winners:

  • Almea Montillo, PCM, 5West
  • Kristi White, respiratory therapist, respiratory care
  • Honorable mentions: Mary Ann Callejo, Roy Chicombing, Naomi Cockerham, Amanda Gonzalez, Jonathan Miller, Martin Romualdo, Marie Sayles, Sygnore Valdeavilla

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands winners:

  • Jennifer Grubbs, RN, Surgery
  • Juan Flores, x-ray tech, radiology
  • Honorable mentions: Javier Blanco-Rais, JesVon Davis, Ashley Hanley, Ana Mauricio, Clari Scota, Lindsey Zaremba

Patient Experience Week bridge events were also held at each campus. As people approached the bridge events they were given leis to kick off their experience, and led through a sea of engaging activities. Departments from across the hospital were given the opportunity to make creative nautical-themed booths. A friendly competition led 35 departments to host their best themed-activity tables to create fun interactions for our patients. Music, games, snacks, costumes, props, and even bubbles were just a few of the interactive ways that employees grabbed the attention of patients and the bridge event judges.

The departments with the best tables during the Patient Experience Week bridge events will be announced in the upcoming Patient Experience newsletter and awarded a special prize.

The mission that care at Texas Children’s goes beyond the bedside was displayed during Patient Experience Week 2019 as the team took employees, patients and families to sea in this amazingly creative theme. Patient experience ultimately goes beyond the high-quality medical care that we provide, but also has to do with how we treat our patients and their families from the moment they call to schedule an appointment, while they are visiting with us, and to the point they leave our care.

“This year’s participation was incredible. The compassion and commitment shown for our patients and their experience was felt all around,” Patient Experience Assistant Director, Elisa Mozley said. “Many families and employees stopped to share how impactful these celebrations are to them – the joy it brought them. It is everything we hope to accomplish each year during this time.”

April 22, 2019

This week is Patient Experience Week at Texas Children’s, a time that we highlight and celebrate the compassion that we provide to patients daily.

April 9, 2019

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.

August 7, 2018
On August 4, more than 500 patients and families traveled from all over the country for the 2018 Texas Children’s Newborn Center family reunion. The Texas-themed event celebrated former patients who graduated from the Newborn Center in 2017 after spending 10 days or more in our neonatal intensive care units at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

The reunion was held at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women where parents shared stories of hope and triumph with other neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) families and reconnected with the nurses and doctors who delivered life-saving care to their critically ill babies.

“The NICU reunion is one of the most special days of the year for those of us who work in the NICU,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Neonatology Dr. Gautham Suresh. “It is uplifting to see the families bring their children back to the hospital, and share the great progress their babies have made. During the reunion the families were able to visit with the employees, physicians and other families that they spent so much time with while being cared for in our NICU. On this day we also remember and pray for the families who unfortunately were unable to take their babies home. The resilience and the strength the families display during their babies’ NICU course and afterwards is admirable and inspires all of us.”

Highlights from the reunion included remarks from Suresh, Assistant Vice President of Nursing Heather Cherry, Newborn Center Family Advisory Committee (NFAC) member Ane Alfred, and Brian Brantley, the underwriter chairman for Bad Pants, an organization that has raised more than $6 million over the past 20 years to support the Newborn Center through the annual Bad Pants Open golf tournament.

The NICU reunion also offered children’s entertainment including a DJ, games, photo booth, face painting, crafts, airbrush tattoos, appearances from Minnie Mouse, SpongeBob Square Pants and Pikachu, and guests enjoyed a good old-fashioned Texas barbecue.

The Newborn Center team thanked everyone who helped organize this successful event including Texas Children’s NFAC Committee and Bad Pants.

July 3, 2018
“Thanks to online scheduling, it’s super easy to make appointments through MyChart now,” wrote a Texas Children’s family. “The past several times we’ve been here, we have been in and out in less than 45 minutes with the same level of quality and care. It seems like they heard our concerns loud and clear, and it shows that they care.”

This touching comment from a patient family in our Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cinco Ranch location is one of several inspiring patient testimonials that demonstrate our continued commitment to improving patient access.

Several months ago, Texas Children’s Access and Patient Scheduling Task Force conducted a baseline assessment of the hospital’s current landscape which revealed several opportunities to improve access for our patients. The Task Force proposed more than 30 recommendations and prioritized which ones would be implemented first.

Since implementing these solutions in four waves across different specialties throughout the system – the first wave went live on March 1 and the fourth wave went live on June 1 – patient families have noticed a positive difference.

Below are several impressive results during the implementation of Waves 1 to 4:

Increase appointment capacity: After evaluating 944 provider templates, we found extra slots where physicians could see patients for a duration of four hours. By standardizing clinic sessions for all specialties, over 53,000 new appointments were added to the system annually, 44 percent of those offering availability for new patients.

MyChart activation: Since launching MyChart Madness in March, Texas Children’s has seen a significant increase in MyChart activation rates. In October 2017, we had less than 8,000 monthly activations compared to over 18,000 in March. To date, Texas Children’s has a total of 72,006 same-day MyChart activations. A similar competition will be launched in July to ensure we’re getting as many patients to sign up on MyChart as possible by the end of FY18.

Online scheduling: More than 100 patients have already used this online feature to schedule their appointments. Six specialties have gone live with online scheduling for MyChart users. Nine more specialties will go live on July 23 and by September all specialties will offer online scheduling. Texas Children’s has partnered with a vendor to set up an online scheduling infrastructure for new patients who do not have a MyChart account.

Fast Pass Waitlist: Since implementing an electronic waitlist in MyChart that automatically offers up available appointments to patients desiring a sooner appointment, over 200 patients have accepted. On average, patients are getting into earlier appointments 60 days faster. So far, 16 specialties have gone live with this new feature.

One of these patients who benefitted from the electronic waitlist feature on MyChart was 10-year-old Aiden Blancas whose mother was able to get him into a dermatology appointment a lot sooner than expected.

“My son’s original appointment date was scheduled for September 4, but when I got an electronic notice via MyChart asking me if I wanted to accept an appointment in June, I accepted it,” said Monica Blancas. “While we usually go to the medical center for appointments, I didn’t mind driving a little further for my son’s appointment in Katy if it meant that I could get him in to see a doctor a lot sooner than originally scheduled.”

While improving patient access at Texas Children’s continues to remain a priority, more system-wide solutions are being considered that will further enhance patient access across the hospital system.

“Since implementing our patient access initiative, we have made significant progress to ensure our patients get into our system according to their urgency and timeline,” said Texas Children’s Assistant Vice President Carrie Rys. “We plan to continue these efforts into the next fiscal year with additional goals aimed at improving patient access.”

May 1, 2018
This year’s Patient Experience Week celebration lived up to its theme, “A Magical Experience,” as patients and their families participated in fun and engaging activities at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

Patient Experience Week was held from April 23 to 27. New this year, the Patient Experience Team launched the Compassion Challenge. Each day during Patient Experience Week, employees and staff across the organization completed a challenge that focused on the concepts of compassion, communication and connectedness. Completed Compassion Challenge forms are due Tuesday, May 1, to patientexperience@texaschildrens.org to be eligible for the prize drawing of Houston Dynamo tickets.

The week began with an inspiring speech from Houston business owner and community leader Jim McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack. In front of a packed auditorium in the Abercrombie Building, McIngvale shared his insight about the importance of serving others and how he builds his business on these core values.

“Helping people is what I was put on this earth to do. It is what we all were made to do,” said McIngvale. “No one helps children like Texas Children’s Hospital. It is beyond amazing how you do it.”

The week also included a speech from Kelly Fuhlman from the Disney Institute who shared the magic behind the customer experience created at Disney parks and resort locations throughout the world.

Hundreds of people attended patient and family experience events across Texas Children’s three campuses. The events provided many fun children’s movie themed activities along with sweet treats and photo booths.

“These kids go through so much every day, and when we have an opportunity to make them laugh and smile, it’s exciting,” said Nazish Ahmad, West Campus Ambulatory Clinic manager. “Especially as leaders, we don’t normally have that face-to-face interaction all the time, so to be in such a fun environment and make the kiddos smile just makes the day.”

Caught You Caring (CYC) Awards ceremonies were also held at the Medical Center Campus, West Campus and The Woodlands Campus to recognize our 2018 recipients who have gone above and beyond to show compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.

The CYC program’s idea was brought to life after a physician read a heartfelt letter written by the mother of one of our patients. She described the care and compassion her whole family received during her son’s admission. Since then, CYC was conceptualized, piloted in our surgery areas in 2015, and has been launched system-wide with more than 6,000 CYC cards received. CYC boxes are located throughout all campuses so that anyone can recognize a staff member or a colleague.

A panel of judges scored each nomination to select the top employees and this year’s winners received a CYC award, a T-shirt, and the highlight of the ceremony – tickets to an upcoming Houston Texans event.

Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus:
Hilda Andrade, Lead Tech for Environmental Services
Yaneth Arrue, Unit Support Assistant in Abercrombie
Shatovia Cerf, Patient Care Assistant on 14 West Tower
Krista Miller, Staff Nurse in Labor and Delivery
Sandy Rodriguez, Front Office Specialist in Partners in OB/GYN at the Pavilion for Women
Erick Talamantes, Surgery Patient Liaison in West Tower

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus:
Rosy Alvarado, Ambulatory Services Representative in the Urology clinic
Melissa Starner, Staff Nurse for West Campus 5th floor inpatient

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands:
Lisa Carr, Staff Nurse in the Woodlands Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Melanie Johnson, Ambulatory Services Representative in the Neurophysiology department

Overall, the Patient Experience events were a success at reminding employees, patients and families that care at Texas Children’s goes beyond the bedside. It has to do with how we treat our patients and their families from the moment they call to schedule an appointment with us to the point they leave our care.