May 9, 2017

The Department of Emergency Management is presenting its 11th Annual Emergency Management Bridge Event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, on The Auxiliary Bridge.

Representatives from various Texas Children’s departments as well as external partners such as the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management will be onsite to help you prepare for hurricane season by assisting you with registering in the Employee Disaster Roster (EDR), getting your emergency supplies ready, and making sure you know where to go and what to do during a disaster.

Plan to stop by The Auxiliary Bridge to learn safety tips to help you prepare yourself, your family and your patients for the 2017 hurricane season.

April 4, 2017

Hundreds of employees with Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands recently poured into the grand lobby of the new hospital for a day-long employee orientation that covered everything from welcoming remarks by hospital leadership to expectations regarding emergency preparedness, patient experience and quality and safety protocols.

The doors of the new 550,000-square-foot building will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, April 11. The recent orientation sessions mark the near end of a long and thorough preparation process leaders and staff have undergone to ready themselves to serve the patients and families of The Woodlands and surrounding communities north of Houston.

“Opening day is almost here and I feel confident that we have done everything in our power to prepare ourselves and the entire Texas Children’s system for what will be a monumental day in our service to patients and their families,” said Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands President and Texas Children’s Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown. “Our efforts have spanned many topics but have consistently focused on quality, safety and the overall patient experience people will have when they arrive at our doorstep for care.”

During the past year, more than 600 employees and providers who will staff the new hospital have been involved in one or more of the following initiatives to prepare themselves as a team to serve the thousands of patients and families expected to seek high quality care and pediatric services in their community from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

Connections: The Experience and The Vision: All Woodlands employees, physician partners, and leadership completed two courses focused on hardwiring a culture based on both the patient and the employee experience. The goal of these sessions is to build on the existing Texas Children’s core values of living compassionately, amplifying unity, embracing freedom and leading tirelessly. In addition, the sessions aspire to establish behaviors that unify Woodlands employees as a team and leave patients and families feeling connected to the new hospital and staff as their healthcare provider.

Breakthrough Communications: Eighty physicians and advanced practice providers completed this Texas Children’s Hospital led physician communication course focusing on enhancing the conversation and dialogue between patients, families and caregivers.

Error Prevention Training: Hundreds of providers and staff working at The Woodlands campus took this three-hour class taught by members of the Texas Children’s Quality and Safety Department and trained Woodlands campus instructors. The course focused on sustaining a culture of safety and strategies for reducing medical errors and serious safety events.

Provider Orientation: The entire medical staff have either attended or is scheduled to attend provider-dedicated sessions focusing on operational details specific to The Woodlands campus. Training includes topics such as emergency response, community outreach, personal safety and security, environmental safety, quality metrics, new equipment training, useful communication tools and resources for providers, and a hospital tour.

Advanced Quality Improvement (AQI) Boot Camp: A group of about 40 leaders and medical providers attended this intense program aimed at improving care delivery and quality of care. The training occurred over three days and was based on a national patient safety training program that has shown significant improvement in patient outcomes.

Simulation Training: The leadership team at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands partnered with the Texas Children’s Hospital Simulation Center to design and facilitate a robust simulation training for the care teams and testing of the hospital environment. Using advanced technology and equipment to create life-like scenarios ranging from routine patient care to emergency code situations, the simulations allowed providers, staff, and even family members to respond as a team and test the hospital’s systems, environmental layout, and processes. The scenarios were recorded on video, allowing hospital leaders to review the training exercises and make any necessary adjustments before opening the hospital.

Emergency Management Drills: Texas Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s office, University of Texas Police Houston, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and Houston Police Department, have conducted two active shooter exercises at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. The purpose of the exercises was to test the emergency notification procedures, train staff to respond to an active shooter, and give our law enforcement partners a chance to practice their tactical response to an active shooter in the new building.

In addition to these formal training programs, leaders, physicians and staff have been meeting weekly to discuss things such as system optimizations, scopes of service, workflows, staff onboarding, teambuilding and more. Everyone involved has been working collaboratively to ensure we transition smoothly into operations on April 11, said Director of Patient Care Services Ketrese White.

“We have a unique opportunity to provide world class dedicated pediatric care to this community and surrounding communities nestled in the North,” White said. “We are excited to see the positive impact we will make in this community.”

Located off of I-45 in The Woodlands, Texas Children’s Hospital the Woodlands will serve children and families in the Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe, Spring, Magnolia, Humble, Huntsville and beyond. The new hospital will build on a decade’s worth of relationships Texas Children’s has built in the community through our primary and sub-specialty care services offered at Texas Children’s Pediatrics locations and the Texas Children’s Health Center The Woodlands.

The hospital will offer services in more than 20 areas of specialty care at a state of the art facility with 32 acute care beds, four operating rooms, 12 radiology rooms with two MRIs, an emergency center with 25 patient rooms, a sleep center, a helipad, 1,000 free parking spaces and 28 critical care rooms (14 NICU and 14 PICU). Patients will receive expert care from highly skilled clinicians, and may also benefit from support services such as translation services, child life specialists, social work, care management, chaplains, volunteer services, and patient/family advocacy.

Texas Children’s Hospital in partnership with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, University of Texas Police at Houston, Montgomery County Hospital District, Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Houston Police Department conducted two active shooter exercises on March 3 and then an active shooter exercise followed by a mass casualty exercise on March 10. The exercises were conducted in the Emergency Center, lobby and cafeteria of the hospital, which will open its doors to the public on April 11.

“I think these are critical exercises to undertake and am proud to see Texas Children’s Hospital performing these,” said Dr. Jennifer Arnold, medical director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Pediatric Simulation Center. “The opportunity to identify system flaws before a real life threatening emergency occurs is priceless.”

View photos from the exercises below.

The scenario for one of the exercises was of a disgruntled family member of a deceased patient seeking retribution on the Emergency Center physician. A police officer dressed in normal clothes and carrying a plastic training weapon played the shooter and 25 employees from across the Texas Children’s system played either an employee, patient, or family member.

The purpose of the exercise was to test Texas Children’s emergency notification procedures, staff training for response to an active shooter (Run, Hide, Fight), and to give our law enforcement partners a chance to practice their tactical response to an active shooter in our new building.

“As nurses we enter the profession to provide care to others and in these situations there is a pivotal moment where you must place yourself first to ensure safety,” said Tarra Kerr, director of nursing for Texas Children’s Hospital Emergency Center. “This is hard to do and we must continue these training opportunities to prepare, and more importantly create an avenue to have open dialogue about these prevalent issues.”

The second exercise involved an active shooter exercise in the cafeteria and common areas of the hospital, followed by a mass casualty incident and medical surge exercise in the Emergency Center using 20 young people volunteering to be patients and dressed in Moulage or simulated injuries using special effects makeup.

According to various participants, the exercises were very successful and lessons learned will allow staff to improve Texas Children’s emergency plans for an active shooter event, improve our emergency notification processes, and improve our staff training.

“While I hope to never encounter a scenario such as an active shooter on site, this drill certainly gave me and my colleagues the skills to be prepared for and to survive this terrible and hopefully exceedingly rare event,” said Dr. Joseph Allen, medical director of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Emergency Center.

February 28, 2017

Dr. Laura Monson, co-director of the Craniofacial/Craniosynostosis Clinic, was recently appointed Chief Surgical Quality and Safety Officer for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Monson was selected for the position after a thorough nationwide search and will succeed neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Luerssen, who has been the voice of surgery within Quality Operations Management at Texas Children’s driving surgical quality efforts at the hospital and throughout the system.

Among the many quality projects Luerssen was instrumental in establishing during his tenure are the OR-specific Surgical Checklist and the Surgical Quality Committee. Luerssen also was essential to the success of the hospital’s American College of Surgeons Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center Verification.

Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser and Senior Vice President/Chief Quality Officer Dr. Angelo Giardino said Monson distinguished herself in the selection process as having just the right vision and passion to lead the Texas Children’s surgical quality program into the future.

“Dr. Monson has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to improving the quality of care and quality of life for her patients as evidenced by her many cleft lip and palate and craniofacial research programs,” Fraser and Giardino said. “She is continually educating herself on quality improvement and has been an internal champion for it within the Department of Surgery.”

Monson will begin her new role on Wednesday, March 1. Click here for more information about Monson and her clinic experience and interests.

September 2, 2015

9315patientsafety640On the morning August 27, a Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women employee was struck by a car driving on Main Street. The individual was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. The individual is recovering and expected to be okay. The driver in this incident is cooperating with police.

As always, the safety of employees, patient families and visitors is a top priority at Texas Children’s Hospital. Hospital leadership immediately took action to improve pedestrian safety at this intersection.

Starting Friday, August 28, off-duty officers will be present at the intersection of Southgate Boulevard outside of the Pavilion to assist in traffic control. These officers will be monitoring the area to help the organization as we determine the best course of action, increasing safety for both pedestrians and drivers. These officers will be present during peak traffic times in the morning and evening.

“With so many people driving in this congested area of the medical center, it is extremely important that we do our part to keep our employees and patient families safe,” said Laura Reynolds, director of Facilities Operations. “We are doing our part to increase safety and we hope our employees will practice extra caution as they drive or walk around campus.”

Employees are asked to cooperate with these traffic control officers and pay extra attention when driving around the medical center where patients, families and employees cross.

“My number one advice is for everyone to be aware of their surroundings at all times,” said Christopher Carr, operations manager for Security Services. “We are constantly looking at the campus-wide plan to enhance safety and security for all those who visit or work at our organization, we want to make sure our employees are doing their part to avoid distractions as they walk or drive.”

November 4, 2014

Texas Children’s cares for some of the country’s most critically ill patients, and safe, quality care for every patient is the most important responsibility of each staff member and employee here. Equipping our staff and employees with the knowledge and tools to take preventive action is key to creating an environment of safe patient care.

In an effort to illuminate the importance of everyone’s role, each month we will share patient safety stories that help heighten staff and employee alertness and accountability and, ultimately, reduce harm. This month’s story is a reminder that being familiar with your surroundings and knowing what to do in an urgent situation can help improve the outcome.

When congenital heart disease patient Emily came to the hospital for diagnostic testing, her family and the diagnostic team expected a routine clinical visit like she’d had many times before. But this visit ended differently. During testing, Emily’s condition began to deteriorate unexpectedly. The diagnostic team rarely treated acute patients and was not accustomed to calling for help. Their unfamiliarity with emergency protocol delayed a call to *9999, and once the response team arrived, there was additional delay in finding the code cart.*

Actions everyone can take:

  1. Know how to get help in an emergency. If you don’t know, ask your leader today.
  2. Know your surroundings and the location of emergency equipment. Some areas have code carts, automatic electronic defibrillators, panic buttons and other emergency equipment. Make sure you know what emergency support is available in your area, where it is and when it should be used.
  3. Be alert. Don’t take routine situations for granted, even if it’s something you’ve done many, many times before.

*Patient safety stories are based on events at Texas Children’s Hospital. Patient names and some of the circumstances of the event may have been changed to protect patient privacy.

For the latest quality and safety information, visit the Patient Safety website on Connect.