February 21, 2017

On February 8, the March of Dimes hosted the 2017 March for Babies Citywide Kickoff Celebration at the downtown Hyatt Regency to recognize everyone who contributed to the success of the March for Babies’ fundraising campaign last year with the hopes of adding to this success again this year.

Through the generous support from Texas Children’s employees, team leaders and donors, Texas Children’s was named the 2016 Top Corporate Team in Houston. The hospital raised nearly $180,000 for the March of Dimes based on corporate sponsorship and employee and team fundraising.

Surrounded by more than 300 guests at the Hyatt Regency, the celebratory luncheon featured opening remarks from Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women Senior Vice President and Chair for the 2017 Houston March for Babies Cris Daskevich, who congratulated the Executive Leadership Team, 2016 Top 10 Teams and 2017 sponsors for their continued leadership and commitment to healthy babies.

“Each and every one of you who are serving as ambassadors and fundraisers for the March of Dimes mission are critical to the March of Dimes and the families and babies they serve,” Daskevich said. “The March of Dimes and Texas Children’s share a mission to end premature birth. Together with your support, we can give every baby a fighting chance and make a meaningful difference in their young lives.”

The luncheon also featured guest speakers including Texas Children’s and Houston’s 2017 Ambassador Family, Leanne and Kiran O’Brien, who shared their touching story and the challenges they faced as their twins were being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Children’s for four and a half months. O’Brien was also cared for at the Pavilion for Women after experiencing potentially life-threatening complications following the delivery of her babies.

This year will be particularly exciting for Texas Children’s. The organization will serve as the 2017 Signature Sponsor for the March for Babies Walk scheduled for Sunday, April 23, at the University of Houston. This year’s goal is to raise $2.2 million for the March of Dimes!

Teams are already forming at Texas Children’s! If you would like to support the March of Dimes, be sure to register for the March for Babies Walk. Click here for more information on how to register and/or join a Texas Children’s team to help support this worthy cause.

Let’s go Texas Children’s as we gear up for another successful March for Babies Walk and campaign!

January 17, 2017

11817CNOR640For the third year in a row, Texas Children’s Hospital has been named CNOR Strong by the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI).

To achieve this recognition, more than 50 percent of a hospital’s operating room (OR) nurses’ must undergo a rigorous process that involves mastering high standards of perioperative practices before nurses can earn their individual CNOR certification.

“Words cannot express how proud I am to be the leader of an OR that is CNOR strong for the third year in a row,” said Amanda Austin, manager of Surgical Services at Texas Children’s. “It has been amazing to watch the dedication and drive grow amongst the OR nurses who worked extremely hard to achieve this milestone. They are showing their passion for what they do.”

While obtaining the CNOR designation is not an easy task and requires lots of study and preparation, this nationally recognized certification exemplifies Texas Children’s commitment to being the best of the best in the delivery of safe patient care.

“It all goes back wholeheartedly to being patient advocates that set the highest bar for the care we provide to our sleeping patients,” said Nakeisha Archer, director of Perioperative Services at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and president of the Greater Houston Chapter of the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses. “We are proud of being designated as a whole, and putting the Pavilion for Women on the map as the first women’s hospital to become CNOR strong internationally.”

Research shows that nurses who earn the CNOR credential have greater confidence in their clinical practice. A team of CNOR certified nurses who have mastered the standards of perioperative practice furthers a culture of professionalism and has been correlated to improved outcomes in surgical patients.

In a recent study published in the journal of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, hospitals with high rates of specialty nursing certifications saw significant lower rates of central-line associated bloodstream infections among surgery patients. The study also found that a 10 percent increase of CNOR’s and other support certified nurses resulted in an 8 to 16 percent reduction in surgical infections.

“I am honored to be involved with an institution and perioperative departments that have a commitment to excellence,” said Janet Winebar, director of Perioperative Services at West Tower. “I commend the individual OR RNs who have worked so hard to achieve this honor and their leaders for supporting them.”

November 15, 2016

111616newpfwwebsite350In case you haven’t already noticed, the websites for Texas Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women have a new look and feel.

Sporting bright colors, vibrant photographs and iconography, the websites have been redesigned to better reflect Texas Children’s branding and marketing materials. The websites also have been revamped to incorporate best practices and user study feedback.

New features of the websites include:

  • A new content management system that allows for quicker, more timely updates
  • Incorporated branding (pictures, colors, icons) to match Texas Children’s current marketing material
  • Reorganized navigation based on usage data/analytics so that visitors can easily find the most searched-after content
  • Revamped website search that provides more accurate results
  • Improved responsiveness on mobile/tablet devices
  • New online health libraries provides valuable information to current/prospective patients as well as assists with search results through Google, Bing and other search engines.

Both websites have seen tremendous traffic with the Texas Children’s Hospital website garnering almost 6 million page views this year from 1.3 million different users and the Pavilion for Women website receiving 1.2 million views from 411,000 users. In addition, statistics have shown improvement in the amount of page views, average load time and bounce rate.

Work on Texas Children’s websites will continue with a new face and feel for Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care coming soon. A new safety and outcomes page also will be unveiled, offering our patients and their families the most complete and accurate information possible about how we are doing as a health care system.

Click here to see the new look of the Texas Children’s Hospital website and here to get a feel for the new website for the Pavilion for Women.

The web team would like to hear your feedback and answer any questions you might have about our new websites. Please direct your comments to tmmorri1@texaschildrens.org.

November 1, 2016

11216drgeorgeverghese175Texas Children’s is proud to announce Dr. Verghese George as the new division chief of women’s radiology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

George, who also serves as associate professor of Radiology at Baylor College of Medicine, received his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College in India. After completing four years of residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in India and the United Kingdom, he pursued residency training in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Subsequent to this, he moved to the U.S., and completed three fellowships: Abdominal Imaging (University of Washington), Body MRI (Yale University) and Nuclear Radiology (Yale University).

As new division chief of women’s radiology, George will merge his prior Ob/Gyn training with his clinical interest in Women’s imaging. His research interests include placental and pelvic floor imaging, and imaging of chronic pelvic pain including pelvic congestion syndrome and vulvodynia. His work focuses on multimodality abdominopelvic radiology in the adult population.

October 18, 2016

101916babybistro640As a nationally designated Baby Friendly Hospital, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women offers many helpful services to patients and employees to support them during their breastfeeding journey.

For Veronika Javor, choosing to exclusively provide breast milk to her babies during their first year of life was an important commitment. To ensure her now 3-year-old daughter, Harper, and 1-year-old son, Lincoln, both born at the Pavilion for Women, continued to receive the nutritional health benefits of being fed her breast milk, she had to overcome several challenges. She credits the supportive environment at Texas Children’s as one reason why she was able to continue pumping when she returned to work.

“Having a place where you can both pump and rent a pump, right where you work, is incredible,” said Javor, a senior public relations specialist at Texas Children’s. “On numerous occasions, I have had busy days with media shoots and meetings at the hospital, and the Baby Bistro has always opened their door to me and allowed me to use one of their lactation rooms to pump between my meetings.”

Conveniently located inside the Bella Luna Boutique on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women, the Baby Bistro offers lactation support services to nursing mothers, including breast pump rentals. Employees pay a monthly rental fee just like everyone else does but they have the opportunity to get reimbursed through Texas Children’s Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance provider.

Under the BCBS plan, Texas Children’s employees can select a single-user breast pump that is mailed directly to them or receive reimbursement for the rental of a hospital grade rental pump. Since the insurance plan does not cover both options, it is important to determine which breast pump is appropriate based on one’s personal preference and breastfeeding needs.

“For moms returning from maternity leave, remembering to pack a breast pump may not always be top of mind,” said Gina Marrinucci, manager of Retail and Concierge Services at the Pavilion for Women. “Our services are here to help them during their pumping journey. Besides the Baby Bistro, employees can also take advantage of several other employee pumping locations throughout the Pavilion for Women and in West Tower to meet their breastfeeding goals.”

In addition to these services, one-on-one consultations with board certified lactation consultants are available at the Baby Bistro to help new mothers learn the breastfeeding basics, how to overcome breastfeeding challenges such as latching issues, and develop strategies to achieve their breastfeeding goals. There is a fee for this service and appointments should be scheduled by calling Baby Bistro at Ext. 6-8881.

“Pumping for your baby is a huge commitment and it’s great to have access to the tools and support to make it easier,” Javor said. “I hear so many mothers facing challenges in the workplace over having to express milk and I am grateful to work for an organization that both values this important job and facilitates the process.”

Texas Children’s commitment to providing lactation support for both patients and employees is one of the many reasons why the Pavilion for Women is a Baby Friendly Hospital. This coveted designation means Texas Children’s is providing the highest level of care related to breastfeeding education, instruction and support to our patients. For a summary of our breastfeeding initiatives, including a link to Baby Friendly USA, read this Connect article.

For a list of employee pumping locations at the Pavilion for Women and West Tower, click here.

For other breastfeeding and lactation support services at the Pavilion for Women, including how to donate excess breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank to support critically ill babies in the Newborn Center, click here.

October 11, 2016

101216modinside640When Leanne O’Brien glances down at her healthy 18-month-old twins, Remy and Ronan, she knows their lives are nothing short of a miracle. Born nearly 28 weeks premature as a result of severe preeclampsia, her twins spent the first four and a half months of their young lives at Texas Children’s Newborn Center.

“As soon as they were born, the NICU team took care of our babies who each weighed between two and three pounds,” said O’Brien, assistant director of IS Customer Service at Texas Children’s. “They immediately went to NICU 3, then we went to NICU 4 for PDA closures to treat a congenital heart defect and then to NICU 2 until our babies were well enough to come home.”

At the time, O’Brien didn’t know much about the causes and complications of infant prematurity. After her family’s NICU journey, she decided to do something she’d never done before – participate in the March for Babies Walk with her husband and their twins, and her mom and sister on behalf of Texas Children’s to support other NICU families who have encountered similarly challenging situations.

“I wanted to use my voice and share my testimony to help pregnant women and families wherever and however I can,” O’Brien said. “Participating in the walk was a pretty emotional day for me. I thought about all of what my family and my kids went through and how blessed we are to be here today. But I also thought about the families and babies who are currently fighting and all the babies who lost their fight.”

With the generous support from O’Brien and other Texas Children’s employees and their families, Texas Children’s was recently honored as the top corporate team in Houston to raise nearly $180,000 in total funds for the March of Dimes based on corporate sponsorship and employee and team fundraising.

“Of the Top 50 participating teams, we are thrilled to see Texas Children’s Hospital take the number one spot in Houston for the first time,” said Darcie Wells, executive director of the March of Dimes Foundation of Greater Houston. “We thank Texas Children’s leaders and employees for their incredible efforts for moms and babies.”

Several months prior to the March for Babies walk, departments and units from across the organization formed their own teams to help raise money and rally support around this worthy cause. Teams hosted barbecues, designed and sold t-shirts, held bake sales, arranged bike tours and even paid to give their leaders a pie in the face to raise money and awareness. Each of the 63 teams raised an average of $1,476, all of which helped Texas Children’s exceed this year’s fundraising goal of $120,000.

“Since 1984, Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine have received more than $16 million from the March of Dimes to support research to prevent birth defects and prematurity,” said Cris Daskevich, senior vice president at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “Our long-term partnership has helped significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for some of our most fragile babies – giving hope to patients and families when there once was none.”

O’Brien encourages everyone thinking about participating in next year’s walk to help support the March of Dimes. “It is such an amazing cause, and by donating or walking, you can help give every baby a fighting chance,” O’Brien said.

The March of Dimes will officially celebrate the Top 10 Teams at a citywide kickoff of its 2017 campaign on February 8, 2017.

Click here to watch the slideshow of the 2016 March for Babies Walk.

September 20, 2016

92116languageservices640For non-English speaking families like Argelia Diaz, she knows that when she comes to Texas Children’s, she can always count on a Spanish-speaking interpreter to help her communicate with her daughter’s medical team.

“I don’t know what I would do without them,” Diaz said through her interpreter. “They give us all the information that the providers want to tell us and help break down the medical terms for us. They are very kind and are always there whenever we need them.”

As an internationally recognized referral center, Texas Children’s cares for many international patients including those here at home who do not speak English. These patient families rely solely on the skills and expertise of Texas Children’s Language Services Department to bridge the communication barrier.

“Language barriers have the potential to adversely impact patient care and outcomes,” said Language Services Manager Alma Sanchez. “Issues like misdiagnosis, lack of compliance, medical errors and readmissions can all be further compounded when a patient has limited English proficiency. Communicating with them in their preferred language ensures everyone is on the same page regarding the care and treatment of the patient.”

Being an interpreter at Texas Children’s is more than just speaking a foreign language fluently. As the primary liaison between the physician and patient, interpreters ensure accurate and seamless communication is delivered to both parties during every phase of the health care process. Specially trained in diverse areas including medical terminology, modes and standards of interpretation, standards of ethics and intercultural communication, interpreters also serve as a cultural broker in the communication of information since there are many factors that may impede a patient or family’s clear understanding of a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.

“While speaking in the family’s native language, we explain their child’s diagnosis and ensure they understand all of the instructions provided by their care team,” said Violeta Riccio, project analyst at Language Services. “We also help the providers understand the patient’s concerns or questions in order to resolve any potential issues.”

On average, the Language Services Department receives 12,000 language requests per month – 4,000 are in-person interpretations, 7,000 are telephonic and 1,000 are through a mobile video system called My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter (MARTTI) where an external interpreter can be contacted via live video. These capabilities enable Texas Children’s to provide interpretations in about 170 different languages.

To meet the growing demand for this service, Texas Children’s has 28 interpreters dispersed across several campuses – 17 at Texas Children’s Main Campus, five at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, four at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and two interpreters at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Spanish is the most requested language for interpretation followed by Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese-Mandarin.

Just like our patient families, Texas Children’s health care teams benefit greatly from this service too.

“Having an interpreter physically present is crucial to effective communication particularly in stressful situations when children are undergoing procedures or when critical information is being conveyed,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s. “Having an onsite interpreter in the ambulatory surgery area has been transformative in terms of family satisfaction and the efficient and safe flow of children through the area.”

To learn more about Language Services, drop by their office located on the third floor of West Tower across from the gift shop. Click here to watch a video spotlighting a day in the life of interpreters at Texas Children’s.