April 12, 2016

41316WCAmbulatoryOpenHouse640Practice administrators and all Health Center community leaders recently attended an open house at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus to focus on ways to embed “systemness” into our leadership structure.

In order for Texas Children’s to successfully expand across the Houston metropolitan area, it is critical that all leaders partner across the system to enhance the patient experience. These core ideas tie with the efforts around creating practice councils, which are ensuring patient care across the system is consistent at each location.

The day included a teambuilding activity, updates from West and The Woodlands, formal rounding expectations and a tour of West Campus.

March 29, 2016

When Sophia Anagnostou saw the Fight Song video about Texas Children’s Hospital’s Main Campus she was determined to create a similar music video about her own experience as a cancer patient at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a part of Texas Children’s she said not enough people know about.

“Everyone knows about Main Campus but no one talks about what’s going on here at West,” said the 13-year-old from Cypress. “This place is great, and at this point, it’s kind of like home to me.”

Almost a year ago, physicians at West Campus diagnosed Sophia with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer that attacks the blood and bone marrow. A team of oncologists and other medical staff at the hospital have been treating the 7th grade volleyball player ever since.

During one of her stays at the hospital, Sophia met Anita Kruse, founder and executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly, a program that provides a musical outlet for children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

Sophia told Kruse about her desire to make a music video about the relationships she’s forged with the medical staff at West Campus. Kruse explained that she could help her write and record a song but that making a music video wasn’t her expertise.

Sophia understood and accepted Kruse’s offer to help her write and record an original song. In two short sessions at the bedside using a portable studio, Sophia and Kruse created a song that captures the teenager’s unwavering strength and spirit as well as her bond with her mother, brother and medical family at West Campus.

Called “Strength Is In The Soul,” the song is one of the first Purple Songs Can Fly collaborations to be completed at West Campus and, according to Kruse, it won’t be the last. Kruse said she is expanding the program at West Campus and is making plans to create a recording studio at the location.

“Sophia is a great example of what can be done through Purple Songs Can Fly here at West Campus,” Kruse said. “There is a definite need for the program, which offers children undergoing cancer treatment a highly creative, much-needed musical environment to express their many varied thoughts and feelings.”

Sophia got a lot off of her chest by writing her song and soon after she got the chance to release even more emotions by creating what she had hoped for since being diagnosed with ALL – a music video! Anne Hill – director of the “Little Couple” featuring Dr. Jennifer Arnold, medical director of Texas Children’s Simulation Center – learned about Sophia’s wish from Kruse and was more than happy to make it come true.

Hill, along with Houston-based Side Yard Productions, worked with Sophia and West Campus medical staff to make a 3-minute music video set to Sophia’s song. Sophia, her mother and West Campus employees involved in Sophia’s care saw the video for the first time last week at a viewing at the hospital.

“I love it,” Sophia beamed after watching the video for the first time. “It makes me super happy.”

Ashley Edwards, an acute care nurse who has cared for Sophia since she was first diagnosed with ALL, came to the video viewing and said it reflects Sophia’s sweet, upbeat personality perfectly. Sophia’s mother Tara Anagnostou agreed and said her daughter is a trooper.

She said Sophia has experienced some ups and downs while in the hospital and that her daughter has spent a lot of time, including her 13th birthday, being sick. But the staff at West Campus and opportunities such as the ones through Purple Songs Can Fly have kept both of them going.

“Making this video made her so happy,” Anagnostou said of Sophia. “And, that brought me so much joy because I want her to be happy.”

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When you see Texas Children’s growing footprint in the Houston community – like the construction of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands and the 19-floor vertical expansion of Pediatric Tower E – we’ve achieved amazing things to ensure we deliver the right care at the right place and time to our patients. While our physical footprint reflects our commitment to patient care, it also demonstrates our commitment to green building initiatives in the design and construction of our health care facilities.

Our Facilities Planning and Development Department has used the new construction checklist from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a guide for designing Texas Children’s buildings to help maximize efficiency while significantly reducing operational costs across the organization.

“We design energy-efficient buildings to meet or exceed current energy codes as well as assess energy saving ideas for payback of five years or less,” said Jill Pearsall, Texas Children’s assistant vice president of Facilities Planning and Development. “Texas Children’s has historically invested in our long-term facilities for optimal performance including assessment of the first costs, long-term maintenance costs and replacement costs over the life of the buildings.”

Energy-efficient applications in the building design include high performance exterior glass, lighting motion sensors, public restroom hands-free motion sensor faucets, durable floor materials to avoid high maintenance costs and chemical cleaners, and the installation of building system controls to monitor and adjust energy consumption.

“Our iconic Texas Children’s granite on the outside of our facilities is a regional material from Marble Falls, Texas, and we incorporate daylight into our interior designs as much as possible,” Pearsall added.

With Texas Children’s Earth Day celebration less than one month away, there are so many other green initiative milestones worthy of recognition. Click here to read the accomplishments spearheaded by our Green Team.

Save the date – Texas Children’s Earth Day celebration

On Friday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Green Team will host two celebrations on Earth Day – one on The Auxiliary Bridge at Main Campus and one at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Dozens of vendors will be available to provide eco-friendly, cost-saving tips to employees including how to become more energy efficient, tips on eating green, as well as ways to reduce waste and recycle more.

At Main and West campuses, Pharmacy will be hosting the “Medication Disposal and Medication Take Back Program.” Please gather and bring expired medications to the event for proper disposal.

Two tree planting events are slated for Earth Day. West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón and Vice President Matt Schaefer will plant a tree at West Campus and Executive Vice President John Nickens will plant one at Main Campus thanks to the generous donations from Trees for Houston.

Stay tuned to Connect for more details about Texas Children’s Earth Day celebrations. Also, if you’d like to reach out to the Green Team with your green ideas, email teamgreen@texaschildrens.org.

March 22, 2016

32316FAMILYFUNRUN640Don’t miss out on the fun at the fourth annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run. Registration for the event ends at 5 p.m. Monday, March 28, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already.

Families with children of all abilities are invited to participate in the run at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 9 at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

The Family Fun Run will include both a 1K and 3K course. 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. Following the run, families can enjoy the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone. The zone will be packed with snacks, special guests and more than 25 attractions.

Click here to register.

Additional information, including training guides, a video from last year’s event and volunteer opportunities can be found here.

Good luck and happy running!

March 15, 2016

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From the implementation of eco-friendly programs to reduce medical waste, enhance energy conservation and promote recycling practices, environmental sustainability at Texas Children’s touches all areas of operations within the hospital.

As the nation celebrates Earth Day next month, Texas Children’s Green Team is doing its part to reduce our organization’s environmental footprint. Over the last year, the Green Team has successfully engaged employees and staff around several collaborative initiatives to help Texas Children’s go green.

Below is a brief summary of some of these Green Team accomplishments:

Reduce medical waste – The conversion to reusable sharps containers at Main and West campuses in 2015 reduced medical waste by 15 percent. Since making the switch, the hospital has saved approximately 80,000 pounds of waste annually. Texas Children’s was spending $250,000 annually on traditional sharps containers plus disposal fees and now it expects to save $150,000 each year. The goal for 2016 is to reduce regulated medical waste by another 10 to 20 percent.

Maximize recycling – The Green Team installed more than 100 recycling bins at Main and West campuses in January 2016. Since the program’s implementation, 21,000 pounds of recyclable materials have been collected. These include aluminum cans, cardboard, non-confidential office paper, plastic bottles, newspapers, magazines and phone books. This year’s goals include standardizing office supplies to include more recycled options, optimizing the use of the toner recycle program and bolstering cardboard recycling education.

Save energy and reduce costs – Texas Children’s has reduced energy consumption by implementing a number of equipment upgrades while continually working with staff to build a culture of energy conservation system-wide.

  • Installed LED lamps in all Pavilion for Women elevators
  • Replaced 5,500 50-watt spot lamps with 7-watt LED lamps to reduce energy
  • Reduced chilled water consumption for A/C use by 20 percent to optimize better temperature control throughout the buildings
  • Reduced steam consumption by 25 percent by adjusting the heating water temperatures from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 130 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Turned off bridge lights when enough natural light is coming through
  • Used the building automation system to turn off lighting and HVAC for unoccupied areas
  • Renegotiated electricity contract resulting in a cost savings of $670,000
  • Texas Children’s has saved more than $10 million in energy costs since 2008

Green transportation – In 2015, the Green Team unveiled Texas Children’s fleet of 12 shuttle buses equipped with an environmentally-friendly fueling system. Instead of using diesel, all shuttles are fueled by propane. Switching to this much cleaner-burning gas reduced our carbon footprint by 70 percent and makes Texas Children’s the first hospital in the Texas Medical Center to offer completely green-friendly shuttle service.

Save the date – Texas Children’s Earth Day Celebration

On Friday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Green Team will host two celebrations on Earth Day – one on The Auxiliary Bridge at Main Campus and one at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Dozens of vendors will be available to provide eco-friendly, cost-saving tips to employees including how to become more energy efficient, tips on eating green, as well as ways to reduce waste and recycle more.

Two tree planting events are slated for Earth Day. West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón and Vice President Matt Schaefer will plant a tree at West Campus and Executive Vice President John Nickens will plant one at Main Campus thanks to the generous donations from Trees for Houston.

Stay tuned to Connect for more details about Texas Children’s Earth Day celebrations. Also, if you’d like to reach out to the Green Team with your green ideas, email teamgreen@texaschildrens.org.

March 8, 2016

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Hundreds of children recently gathered with hospital staff on the 3rd floor Auxiliary bridge of Texas Children’s Hospital and outside the main entrance of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus to participate in one of the medical system’s most popular events – the annual teddy bear clinic.

During the clinic, children are given the opportunity to act out the roles of various health care staff such as doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians. Children pretend to perform a variety of tests, exams and therapies to diagnosis their Teddy bear’s symptoms and heal its body.

Hosted by Child Life to celebrate national Child Life Week, the event celebrates our patients and families and how the intimate world of play is used to encourage children’s learning and support children’s coping.

In just five short years, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has gone from being a brand new suburban hospital to a staple in the West Houston community. The services patients and their families previously drove to the Medical Center for are now at a convenient and accessible location near their own backyards.

Designed exclusively for children, West Campus boasts a highly trained pediatric team that engaged in more than 300,000 patient encounters last year through services in outpatient care, inpatient care, surgery and the emergency center. The number of patient encounters has tripled since West Campus opened its doors in April 2011 and totals 750,000 for the past five years.

During the first year West Campus was open, almost 2,000 surgical procedures and close to 16,000 radiology procedures were performed. Last year, nearly 6,000 surgical procedures and more than 49,000 radiology procedures were conducted at West Campus. That’s an increase of more than 200 percent.
Daily inpatient census at West Campus has skyrocketed too, going from seven during the hospital’s first year to 32 last year, an increase of almost 360 percent.

“West Campus has had unbelievable growth over the past several years,” said West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón. “We will continue to build on those successes, listen to the community and provide the services they need.”

Some major milestones for West Campus include:

  • Recognition for the past three years as a Top Children’s Hospital by the Leapfrog Group, an organization that provides the only national, public comparison of hospitals across safety, quality and efficiency dimensions. West Campus is among an elite group of only 12 children’s hospitals and is the only children’s hospital in Houston to be recognized with this prestigious distinction.
  • Activation of the system’s first helipad, which has been used frequently and allows for faster transport and subsequently quicker treatment.
  • Expansion of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit from eight beds to 16 beds, allowing the unit to see more than 2,000 patients in just five months.
  • Construction of a $16 million, 18-bed expansion of the hospital’s acute care capacity. The new unit includes an eight-bed special isolation unit designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, entervirus D68, Ebola and many others. As a result of Texas Children’s preparation in the area of infectious disease, the medical system was designated by the State of Texas as a pediatric Ebola treatment center, which means if and when a pediatric patient with Ebola symptoms arrives in Texas, they will come to West Campus for treatment.

“The Texas designation as the pediatric treatment site for Ebola is an impressive accomplishment for the West Houston market,” Chacón said. “It really allows us to grow our specialization of care in the community.”

To remain one of the most active pediatric hospitals in the Houston community, West Campus is focusing on expanding inpatient capacity, ambulatory capacity and supporting hospital infrastructure. Last year, the Texas Children’s Board of Directors approved a $50 million capital improvement effort that will help expand the hospital’s acute care capacity and is allowing the hospital to move forward with the following projects over the next few years:

  • Create dedicated suite for Interventional Radiology services
  • Expand perioperative services to include increased pre-operative and post-operative areas as well as operative suites
  • Convert offices within existing clinics into additional clinic exam space to increase access to highly sought after subspecialty care in west Houston
  • Build office and administrative support space for dedicated physicians and providers
  • Expand inpatient acute care capacity by 42 beds to include the 18-bed special isolation unit as well as another 24-bed unit in existing shell space
  • Construct additional outpatient subspecialty clinic space to increase access to our growing patient demand

“The expansion we are seeing on our campus is amazing but what really differentiates us is the people who come here every day to serve the patients who seek our care,” Chacón said. “They go above and beyond because they are passionate about making memories for our patients and families.”