Staying up-to-date with current events is hard to do as a parent. Your time is valuable and you have so many other responsibilities that require your full attention and effort.
We are here to make it easier for you.
Provided below is a mix of national health and safety news, local safety events and milestones and product recalls. Use us as your resource to stay educated on what is happening nationally and in your local community.
The Safe Kids Car Seat Inspection Station at Imani Family Life Center will be held on the last Thursday of each month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
By appointment only. Call to reserve your spot at 859-323-1153.
The Safe Kids Car Seat Inspection Station at Immanuel Baptist Church will be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fifth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last week. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bluegrass Baptist School (BBS) in Lexington, Ky., and Kenneth King Middle School (KKMS) in Harrodsburg, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/ Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBRSB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment from Gao, Garretson Epperly, and Jianhang Jia. The event also featured short talks by Henry Clay student and cancer survivor Rod Jackson, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the Student Series of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, 445 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BBS and KKMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $3,617.64 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit http://www.studentseries.org/.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2016) – This June, taking your bike for a ride could help save lives.
UK HealthCare and the Lexington Cancer Foundation are teaming up to present the Survive the Night Triathlon and the Roll for the Cure on June 17-18. All proceeds from these events will benefit the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, providing funding for patient care, research and more.
Survive the Night is a unique overnight triathlon relay created by Markey radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock, who is also an avid triathlete himself. Participants will swim, bike and run for a combined 140.7 miles. Participants can choose to compete solo or put together a team of up to 10 people to complete the relay.
Roll for the Cure is the Lexington Cancer Foundation's annual bike event to raise awareness and funds for cancer care. Participants can choose the length of their ride: 95, 50, 35, or 10 miles through Kentucky Horse Farms, or a short Family Fun ride around Commonwealth Stadium. The longer rides will include rest stops at Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve.
Survive the Night begins Friday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. beginning at Commonwealth Stadium on the UK campus. Registration is $450 per team through April 30 and $500 per team thereafter until May 30.
Roll for the Cure will also begin at Commonwealth Stadium, starting on Saturday, June 18 with the 95- and 50-mile rides at 8 a.m. The 30- and 10-mile rides will begin at 10 a.m. and the Family Fun ride begins at 11 a.m. Registration for the longer rides is $75 and the Family Fun ride is $10.
For more information or to register for Survive the Night or Roll for the Cure, visit lexingtoncancerfoundation.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2016) — Spring is here which means children will begin playing outside more often. With the change in the weather, it also means time to add another chore to the list: mowing the lawn.
Depending on where you live, you may mow your lawn 30 times or more this year. However, every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous, potentially deadly piece of equipment.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors each year and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation. In addition, 75 people are killed and 20,000 injured by mowers with one in five deaths involving a child. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers.
Injuries are caused most often when children run behind a mower; slip under the mower while riding as a passenger; collide with mower blades when machines were steered in reverse; or are struck by a mower that rolled over due to an uneven and/or wet surface. In many cases, adults did not realize children were near the mower when injuries occurred.
This spring, the Amputee Coalition and Limbs Matter, a group of parents who have children who have undergone amputations due to lawn mower accidents, began a campaign to raise awareness of limb loss prevention. The group urges parents to keep children indoors when mowing the lawn and to practice safety measures when operating lawn mowers.
One split second can change a child and family’s life forever, making it important to practice safety measures when mowing the lawn. Children should not ride as passengers on a lawn mower and to provide the safest conditions, should not even be outside while mowing is being done.
Besides children, adults and teenagers who mow, should also take safety precautions to prevent injuries.
Injury prevention tips include:
Remember to use your lawnmower safely and keep children indoors while mowing. To watch the PSA produced by the Amputee Coalition and Limbs Matter, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1xdp6hMubY.
Dr. Lesley Wong is an associate professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a plastic surgeon at UK HealthCare.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2016) — University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare employees seldom need convincing to wear blue in support of UK athletic teams.
But on Friday, April 8, wearing blue signifies support for a greater cause — the safety and welfare of children across the Commonwealth — as UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital observe Commit to Prevent Wear Blue Day, which brings attention to child abuse awareness.
UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital employees can wear blue and join the official photo for UK Wear Blue for Child Abuse Awareness photo at 1 p.m. on April 8. The photo will take place in the Pavilion A Auditorium main lobby. Participants can use the hashtag #committoprevent in social media posts or make a pledge to safeguard children in their community by clicking here.
According to Ginny Sprang, executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children, studies show adverse childhood experiences predict a host of short- and long-term health and behavioral consequences, including violence, smoking, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, risky sexual behaviors and more. In 2012, more than 15,000 children in Kentucky were victims of abuse and neglect.
Commit to Prevent Kentucky recommends several actions to help prevent child abuse in Kentucky:
If you suspect a child is a victim of maltreatment or abuse, call 1-800-CHILDREN. If you fear a child is in imminent danger, call 911.
For more information on preventing child abuse, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 21, 2016) — In the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a shared sense of loyalty to patients unites neonatologists, nurses, surgeons and support staff in their work.
NICU caregivers exert every effort to achieve the best possible outcome for patients and their families — through whatever means, and to whatever end.
The NICU staff’s unflinching commitment to caring for families reminds KCH Development Council Chair Missy Scanlon of someone who instilled in her the importance of pushing forward until the job was done — her mother.
“They serve the families, whether it’s a good outcome or not a good outcome” Scanlon said of the NICU staff. “They see the tiniest of babies with these situations and they don’t give up, and that’s how my mom was.”
Scanlon, the chair of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) Council, said her mother Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor wouldn’t quit working until she finished the task at hand. While Taylor confronted a number of setbacks in her life, she faced conflict head-on and fought her battles with grace and dignity. Scanlon used the metaphor of a duck on water to describe her mother’s handling of tough situations — gliding across the surface but paddling with urgency underneath.
“She was a good soul, and she tried her best,” Scanlon said of Taylor. “You keep going until it’s done and you just don’t stop — whatever you have to do, whatever you have to make happen, you have to keep going until you get it done.”
Nearing the end of her second and final term as KCH Council chair, Scanlon has mirrored her mother’s determination through years of leadership, volunteerism and fundraising on behalf of KCH. Sealing the completion of a renovation and relocation of the NICU, Scanlon has donated a $2 million legacy gift to name the new facility after her mother. The March 20 gift announcement occurred on the would-be 90th birthday of Taylor, who passed away in 2002. The Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU, set to open in the spring of 2018, will equip the NICU staff with more resources and greater capacity to care for Kentucky families.
The new Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU will feature spacious patient rooms and areas for family consultation and privacy. The 47,000-square foot facility will accommodate the rising number of patients and families receiving care at the region’s only Level 4 Pediatric Trauma Center. Patient rooms, themed after Kentucky native wildlife and landscape, will include conveniences for the long-term stay of patients, including sleeper sofas, wardrobes and kitchen spaces.
The new location on the first floor of the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital will improve the flow of patient care with direct access to the Pediatric Emergency Department. The facility also provides new spaces for procedures and training, including a new procedure room, a simulation room for training exercises, and “huddle” rooms for staff mentoring and team building.
The KCH NICU serves as a regional hub for advanced neonatal care, with pediatric transport services from 22 hospitals across Eastern and Central Kentucky. In 2015, the KCH NICU admitted 913 babies and the NICU Graduate Clinic scheduled more than 1,500 appointments.
UK Executive Vice President of Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf recruited Scanlon to serve on the KCH Council more than a decade ago. Scanlon brought to the Council experience increasing awareness and fundraising for causes in the Lexington community. Scanlon’s civic life has centered on efforts to improve the health and welfare of children.
Scanlon steps down as KCH council chair in June but plans to continue advocating and organizing on behalf of KCH. The KCH Development Council consists of volunteer community leaders who provide organizational support and advisory council to strengthen KCH and elevate the awareness of KCH in the community. Scanlon credited the cohesiveness of a hardworking KCH Council and an exemplary KCH staff for gaining ground to transform KCH facilities. Channeling the wisdom of her mother, Scanlon emphasized that the job isn’t finished for the KCH Council.
“KCH is near and dear to my heart — it’s my happy place,” Scanlon said. “There are so many things that are happening there, and there are so many things that need to happen there.”
To learn more about KCH, click here. For more information about giving to KCH, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2016) – The Transplant Games of America's National Flag Tour will stop at UK HealthCare this Thursday, March 17, to celebrate organ donors and recipients on its way to the 2016 Games in Cleveland this June.
The Transplant Games of America (TGA) is an Olympics-style sport festival held every two years to show how transplants can transform lives. To compete, participants must be either transplant recipients, living donors, or a member of a donor family.
Prior to the TGA, the official flags of the event travel across the country to help raise awareness of organ donation and of the event itself. The flags are also signed by the members of each state's TGA team. Members of Team Kentucky will be present to sign the flag this Thursday.
Karen Michul, a UK HealthCare employee and living kidney donor, will be participating in the Games for the second time this year, competing in several bowling events.
"Seeing the comraderie of the donor families and recipients at the Games is amazing," Michul said. "And some of these people are meeting for the first time! It's an emotional ride."
The flag will be on display and available for Team Kentucky to sign this Thursday at 10 a.m. inside the atrium of University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion A. Attendees are encouraged to wear blue and green, the colors of the Donate Life organization. Following the flag-signing and a few short remarks, attendees are encouraged to stay for a short photo session to celebrate the gift of life.
Registering to become a donor is the most effective way to ensure you can save lives through donation and serves as a sign of hope to those who continue to wait. Everyone can register as a donor today at www.donatelifeky.org or by saying “YES” when you renew your driver’s license.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
This article first appeared as the Lexington Herald-Leader Your Health column on Feb. 21.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2016) — Humans have consumed gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, for at least ten thousand years. Only in the past decade has celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity captured the public’s attention with the rise of the gluten-free diet.
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that requires a clinical diagnosis. A disease often misdiagnosed and incorrectly self-diagnosed, celiac entails an immune response to gluten, which results in the deterioration of the gastrointestinal (GI) lining and prevents proper absorption of vital nutrients. Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people in different ways.
A few children have no symptoms whatsoever, but most have one or more of the several hundred known symptoms and long-term complications that can occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea, malnutrition, growth failure, development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, and intestinal cancers.
At Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the pediatric gastroenterology team provides the required individualized care that is crucial for children and their families diagnosed with celiac disease. Although some children with celiac disease are symptom-free, all children with celiac disease are still at risk for long-term complications, whether they display any symptoms or not. At this time, lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is the only effective therapy to minimize symptoms and prevent complications of celiac disease. While gluten is not an inherently dangerous food property, even a small amount will disrupt the GI tract of people with celiac disease.
For parents who suspect their child is reacting to foods containing gluten, a simple blood test screening can suggest the presence of celiac disease with good accuracy. If a child tests positive, then a diagnosis will be made through an endoscopic biopsy, a procedure that allows physicians to see inside the GI tract. Myriad inflammatory bowel disorders, not just celiac disease or gluten intolerance, must be ruled out through a diagnostic process.
As with any disease that requires a dietary exclusion, parents must also ensure children with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet receive a balanced diet. Parents and caregivers should collaborate with their pediatrician and nutritionist to optimize nutritional choices for children diagnosed with celiac disease. Like most inflammatory bowel diseases, the variant nature of celiac disease requires individualized and continuous pediatric care.
Dr. George Fuchs is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2016) – UK HealthCare has achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. Out of nearly 6,000 health care organizations in the United States, less than 7 percent have achieved Magnet designation.
"Magnet recognition is a mindset and an approach in patient-centered care,” said UK HealthCare Chief Nursing Executive Colleen Swartz. “Our team has been extremely dedicated, focused and committed in achieving this goal and it shows in every interaction we have with patients and their families.”
UK HealthCare has 4,473 nursing services employees including 2,006 full-time registered nurses.
Achieving Magnet Status is a process that culminates in a rigorous review to demonstrate the hospital's commitment to sustaining nursing excellence and improving professional practice. The status represents a solid commitment to continuing education and nursing specialty certification, a cultural transformation of the work environment involving a shared governance model and laser focus on patient safety.
“Our nursing staff have worked very hard to achieve this important distinction and have been committed to this goal and truly deserve this Magnet recognition,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.
In 2001, UK HealthCare became just the 38th Magnet-recognized organization. The hospital maintained its designation until it was up for renewal in 2009, when the ANCC restructured the Magnet Recognition Program criteria. The fundamental shift from a process-structured infrastructure to an outcomes-based infrastructure led to UK HealthCare needing to make changes to regain its status.
“From a nursing practice perspective, we used the loss of Magnet as a call to action for us to really focus on quality outcomes, patient experience and staff experience,” Swartz said. “The end goal for us was superb clinical care; Magnet status is a byproduct of that goal and we should embrace it as such.”
From 2010 to 2013, UKHC began an improvement process that signified a cultural change toward patient- and family-centered care. That process included evaluating the nursing strategic plan, identifying areas in need of quality improvement, and developing strategies for improvement, measurement and accountability.
“While Magnet recognition is awarded by a nursing organization, it is truly an honor resulting from the leadership of our nurses to demonstrate that it is all of our caregivers who focus on meeting the needs of our patients, their families, and one another each and every day in our hospitals and clinics,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “Everyone at UK HealthCare is proud to be one of less than ten hospitals in Kentucky and one of less than 500 in the nation to have earned this distinction.”
To achieve Magnet recognition, organizations must pass a rigorous and lengthy process that demands widespread participation from leadership and staff. The process begins with the submission of an electronic application, followed by written documentation demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding patient care and outcomes. If scores from the written documentation fall within a range of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly assess the applicant. After this rigorous on-site review process, the Commission on Magnet will review the completed appraisal report and vote to determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.
Magnet recognition, which hospitals must reapply for every four years, has become the gold standard for nursing excellence. The recognition is based on adherence to Magnet concepts and demonstrated improvement in patient care and quality. U.S. News & World Report’s annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality of inpatient care.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com or 859-323-6363
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2016) — With his mom dragging an IV pole in the wake of his excitement, 8-year-old Isaiah Thompson paraded down the hallway of Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) flaunting his detective skills to the nursing staff.
“I found the hotel,” Isaiah said, turning to a group behind the nurse’s desk. “They said the hotel was the hardest to find, and I found it. It was hiding under a flower.”
Isaiah found the elusive hotel — a red Monopoly game piece about the size of a thumbnail —in the dense brush of paper flowers on the Valentine’s Day mural hanging in the KCH lobby. The hotel piece was one of more than 20 hidden items in the heart-shaped mural composed of frilly red and white construction paper flowers, gems, bows and ribbons. More than just a piece of Valentine’s-inspired artwork, the mural served as a life-size “eye spy” game to occupy the minds of families and children receiving care at the hospital. Directions taped to the wall beside the mural instructed patients, siblings, visitors and family members to find figures camouflaged into the heart’s design, including a wrench, a cow, a butterfly and a tiny chair.
Since mural appeared in the lobby window at the end of January, nurses, doctors, Child Life workers and families checked off every item on the list of hidden items — except for the mysterious hotel piece. Isaiah and 12-year-old patient Anna Shelton were the first to spot the hotel, thanks in part to a tip they received from the mural’s creator, Debbie Van Leeuwen.
Van Leeuwen, a Lexington artist and volunteer for KCH who designs murals for children receiving treatment, watched from the edge of the lobby as Isaiah and Anna explored the Valentine’s mural on Feb. 9. An uncover artist for KCH since early 2015, Van Leeuwen assumes a background volunteer role as the silent source of artwork for children and families at KCH.
With the help of the Child Life team at KCH, Van Leeuwen paints individualized murals for children staying in the hospital for extended periods of time. The Child Life team at KCH recognizes when a patient or sibling of a patient needs extra encouragement or a positive distraction from their treatment. The Child Life team gathers four to six facts about the child’s interests, such as his or her favorite cartoon characters, toys and sports teams, and reports the information to Van Leeuwen, who then begins designing and painting a mural based on those details. The murals are 3-feet by 3-feet and attach and detach from walls without causing damage to the room. Van Leeuwen has created 34 vibrant murals depicting images such as Spider Man and G.I. Joe, as well as the Frozen princesses and Dalmatians.
While she only receives a child’s first name, age and a list of their favorite things, Van Leeuwen feels like she bonds with the young patients through her creative process. The artist doesn’t know why the recipients of her artwork are in the hospital, and she never meets them in person. When she first volunteered to create murals for children, she struggled with a lack of closure, wondering whether her artwork provided a glimmer of hope or moment of joy for children in the midst of a negative circumstance. She wondered if she got the child’s personal preferences right and if her compassion was translated through art.
The Child Life team provided Van Leeuwen with some resolution when they started writing down word-for-word the comments of children and family members upon receiving their special mural. After they deliver the artwork to the child’s hospital room at an appropriate time, they type all the comments from the child and family members in an email. Van Leeuwen said one of the emails reported that a young girl wanted to hug her Mini Mouse mural.
“Honestly, it is that email that I wait for, and it charges me for the next painting,” Van Leeuwen said. “It is one of the most precious things in my life.”
Last summer when Van Leeuwen was dropping off paintings at KCH, Judi Martin, the Child Life coordinator, showed her a window in the lobby overlooking a brick wall. Martin asked Van Leeuwen to help obstruct the view with a piece of artwork. Van Leeuwen created a Christmas mural to hang in the window during the holidays, and replaced the Christmas mural with the Valentine’s Day mural in January.
Van Leeuwen, an empty nester who created murals for her three children while they were growing up, has also supplied murals for major milestones in the lives of KCH patients, including individualized murals for high school graduation ceremonies of cancer patients and a memory tree mural for a KCH remembrance service. She relies on her Child Life team informants to ensure her work for individual patients accomplishes its purpose. She said the support provided by the Child Life team allows her share art and bring joy to patients without having a physical presence in their lives.
“My thing is painting and their thing is the relationship with the child,” Van Leeuwen said. “And they know when it’s the right time and they know who needs it and who could use it.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2016) — Lexus of Lexington will raffle away a brand new Lexus ES 350 to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Lexus Store located at 1264 East New Circle Road. Tickets can still be purchased to enter the drawing.
Funds raised through raffle tickets will improve facilities for children receiving treatment at KCH. Lexus of Lexington has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the 2015-2016 raffle and supports Ocean Pod renovations at KCH.
“Giving back to the community has always been an important part of our business, and who better to support than KCH, the pediatric care center that takes care of Kentucky’s kids,” said Lexington businessman Rick Avare, co-owner of The Lexus Store of Lexington.
Raffle tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givetokch.org/lexus, in person by visiting the Lexus dealership on 1264 E. New Circle Road, or by contacting the KCH Development office at (859) 257-1179. There is no limit on the number of tickets purchased, and ticket holders do not have to be present to win.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2015) — With her tiny body too vulnerable to withstand the world outside her mother’s womb, infant Emma Lewis continued to grow and develop inside an incubator during the first four days of her life.
But the life-preserving incubator at Kentucky Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) also separated Emma from her mother’s nurturing touch, which plays an important role in comforting and strengthening newborns. Those days were emotionally grueling for parents Katie and D.J. Lewis, who feared they were missing out on a critical time of bonding with their baby.
“I just always thought I’d have a picture-perfect delivery,” Katie Lewis said. “That I will get to hold her, and all the family will come and see her and hold her.”
Halfway through Katie’s pregnancy, a serious and rare complication expedited Emma’s delivery, making Katie’s vision of a perfect birth impossible. Obstetricians at St. Joseph East diagnosed Lewis with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening variation of preeclampsia that causes a depletion of red blood cells and liver failure in the mother. As symptoms worsened, Katie’s brain swelled and liver started to fail. Because the only way to stop the progression of HELLP syndrome is through delivery, doctors sent Lewis to UK HealthCare where an obstetrics teams delivered baby Emma via emergency cesarean section at 26 weeks gestational age.
One-pound, 15-ounce Emma arrived on July 13, 2015, attached to intravenous lines, beeping monitors and a breathing ventilator to support her underdeveloped lungs. The neonatal care team watched Emma closely because of the risk of brain bleed, and monitored her red blood cell count and bacterial infections. While the team focused on giving Emma the best chance for survival and recovery, they did not neglect the essential function of maternal and paternal bonding during her stay in the NICU. Even in cases involving the earliest born and weakest babies, the NICU nursing staff attempts to accommodate maternal-paternal bonding with families through postponed Kangaroo Care.
In 2015, three Kentucky Children’s Hospital nurses, LaQuinta Bailey, Tara Hunt and Lisa McGee, received special training to facilitate Kangaroo Care for parents whose baby required treatment in the NICU. A standard method for initiating the maternal-infant bonding process of skin-to-skin contact, Kangaroo Care is typically conducted immediately after birth by placing the baby on the mother’s chest. Skin-to-skin contact soothes infants under stress, stimulates the nervous system, regulates an infant’s heart rate, and improves weight gain, among other benefits for mothers and babies. In the busy NICU environment, where intravenous lines, incubator isolation, heart monitors, and feeding tubes complicate the process, nurses must work within their environment and parameters to engage families in bonding practices.
Lisa McGee, a NICU clinical nurse specialist, said the additional expertise has prepared KCH nurses to help families navigate the challenges of implementing Kangaroo Care hours, days or even weeks after birth.
“There is a lot of science behind Kangaroo Care,” McGee said. “Actually, the biggest thing it does is to decrease stress in the baby, and it helps parasympathetic nervous system to come into play, so that the baby calms down.”
Katie Lewis recalls nurses in the operating room encouraging her to look at Emma immediately after the cesarean delivery. Because Emma required immediate placement in an incubator, the medical team couldn’t spare any time for maternal bonding. Instead, the nurses initiated paternal bonding with D.J. Lewis after birth by allowing the new dad to touch Emma as she was relocated to an incubator.
A day later, Katie recovered from surgery and reunited with Emma, who was still inside the incubator. After four days passed, the eager parents were able to hold Emma outside the incubator for the first time. During this interaction, nurses helped initiate skin-to-skin contact by setting Emma on the chests of her parents.
At first, the couple held Emma for increments of an hour and a half because getting the baby in and out of the incubator frequently was a risk. Emma relied on the warmth of her parents’ bodies to retain heat, calories and body temperature. As Emma gained strength, the nursing staff gradually introduced the parents to new bonding opportunities, such as giving Emma a bath, pushing her food through a feeding tube, giving her a bottle of Katie’s breast milk and reading her books.
Bonding was especially important for D.J. Lewis, a sergeant in the U.S. Army. At the time of Emma’s birth, Lewis was preparing for a yearlong deployment to Kuwait in September. He couldn’t wait for IV lines and monitors to disappear to begin the bonding process with their daughter.
“He loved it,” Katie Lewis said of D.J.’s role in paternal bonding. “He would just fall asleep with her and rub her head and read books.”
Katie Lewis said the NICU nurses encouraged and affirmed the parents in interacting with their fragile child. The nurses shifted equipment and rearranged areas in the NICU pods to accommodate peaceful Kangaroo Care time for the family, even in the middle of the night. As Emma’s chances of survival increased with each day, the nurses transitioned the responsibility of care to the parents. The parents learned the baby’s signals indicating breathing problems or a loss of body heat.
“None of them made me feel like I didn’t know what I was doing,” Katie Lewis said of the nursing staff. “They would help reposition us, they would move the incubator — to make us feel as at home as possible.”
By the time Emma was ready to leave the hospital in September, Katie Lewis felt terrified but also excited.
“When we got home, I sat on my couch and I held her and I cried because it’s such an exciting feeling,” Katie Lewis said. “To be able to reach that milestone and go home for good was a very exciting feeling.”
More NICU nurses will receive formal training to become certified Kangaroo Care Caregivers. McGee said low birth weight infants received Kangaroo Care in about 45 percent of cases, with efforts underway to increase the number of families benefiting from Kangaroo Care.
And paternal bonding was worth the extra effort for D.J. Lewis, who came home to visit his family in November. Emma had no trouble snuggling and sleeping on her dad’s chest after his time away.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2016) — UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have finalized an agreement to partner for pediatric heart care and other services. A Letter of Intent (LOI) for a partnership was announced between the two health care systems last September.
The collaboration combines the strengths of the region's leading provider of advanced subspecialty care in UK HealthCare with one of the country's leaders in children's health care, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and will enable more Kentucky children to receive care closer to home.
The initial focus of the partnership will be pediatric heart care services with the goal of delivering outstanding surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiology. In addition, the master services agreement will provide the option of extending the partnership beyond these services in the future.
As part of the agreement, a heart surgeon will be jointly recruited and have a primary appointment at Cincinnati Children's in a 'one program, two sites' model; the surgeon will be based in Lexington and perform services at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
"By partnering with Cincinnati Children's we will be teaming-up with one of the top children's hospitals in the country and a Top 10 pediatric heart care program," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "Our goal is to keep patient care close to home when clinically appropriate with patients traveling to Cincinnati for the most complex surgical procedures but eventually having some surgical procedures, as well as post-surgical care and pediatric cardiology subspecialty care, available in Lexington."
The first surgical procedure at UK will likely be targeted for late 2016 or early 2017. UK HealthCare will also work toward having cardiac subspecialists performing diagnostics and therapeutic interventions at Kentucky Children's Hospital with the support of Cincinnati Children’s subspecialists when necessary.
Training, support, infrastructure development and reactivation of on-site surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital will be done in a manner to ensure sustained outstanding outcomes as measured by national registries and reporting mechanisms. This includes developing and implementing shared and common clinical standards for environment, design, equipment and operations. Additionally, training will be provided by Cincinnati Children's initially and on an ongoing basis for Kentucky Children's Hospital personnel.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with UK HealthCare to serve pediatric cardiac patients and their families in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Andrew Redington, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s.
Currently the majority of Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric CT surgery patient families who need clinical referrals for care already are choosing Cincinnati Children’s. However, this new 'one program, two sites' model will provide an even more seamless process for these patients and families as well as the new patients and families needing these services each year throughout the Commonwealth.
UK HealthCare voluntarily suspended Kentucky Children's pediatric cardiothoracic (CT) program in October 2012 and a task force charged with providing recommendations regarding the future of the program was established and convened in 2013. Initial joint negotiations with Cincinnati Children's began in early 2015 and led to the LOI being signed in September.
"We said we would only re-open the program when we were ready to provide the best care for our patients and their families and we are confident that this collaborative arrangement meets that mark with the highest quality surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiovascular services for patients of Kentucky and their families," Karpf said.
Video on benefits of partnership with Cincinnati Children's: https://youtu.be/-FTdnEt_-8M
UKPR CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-323-6363 or 859-806-0445
CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S CONTACT: Jim Feuer, email@example.com, 513-636-4656
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2015) — Surrounded by an army of “elves” wearing red hairbows and headbands with pointy ears, Owen Sayers waited backstage for his microphone check during a dress rehearsal for the holiday performance of “Elf Jr.”
The freckled 11-year-old prepared to play the role of Michael, a young boy who befriends Buddy the Elf, in the musical adaptation of the popular Christmas movie, “Elf.” Wearing a green sweater and navy blue pea coat as his costume, Owen warmed up his soprano voice for a full run of the show in the Lucille Little Theatre of Saints Peter and Paul School on Dec. 17. The Academy for Creative Excellence, a preparatory performing arts program offered by UK Opera Theatre, produced the musical, which starred up-and-coming vocal performers the weekend of Dec. 19-21.
All cast members, even the swarms of elves, were acquainted with Owen, a vocal major at the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) who freely gives out hugs. But not everyone knew about Owen’s traumatic brain injury earlier in the year. When asked about his accident, Owen parted his red hair on the side to show the proof: a pink scar from the incision. He related his injury to the story of Humpty Dumpty.
“Because he was fragile,” Owen said, comparing himself to the character that cracked his head in the nursery rhyme. “Because really, everybody’s head is fragile.”
While riding his bicycle on the first warm day in May, Owen hit a curb and flew headfirst over the handlebars and into a tree. Tim Sayers, Owen’s father, found his son at the crash site dazed and worried about his glasses. A former football player, Sayers suspected a concussion and took Owen to the emergency department of St. Joseph East as a precaution. A CT scan revealed Owen was suffering from more than a concussion — he was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma, or serious brain bleed. While in the emergency department, Owen became drowsy and his vital signs started to drop. Doctors knew every second counted and Owen’s life was in danger. The medical staff expedited Owen to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Eastern and Central Kentucky, where a team of surgeons, doctors and nurses waited at the doors to rush him into emergency surgery.
KCH surgeons brought Owen into a recovery room around 1 a.m. While the surgery was successful, the medical team told Tim and Becky Sayers only time could tell whether Owen suffered any loss of cognitive function from the injury. It was impossible to know the full extent of the trauma until Owen regained consciousness.
“We embraced — we were really scared,” Becky Sayers said. “We said, ‘Whatever we find in there, we have to be strong,’ and we went back to recovery.”
The couple stayed awake all night waiting for Owen to regain consciousness. Around 3 a.m., Owen reached for something then drifted back to sleep. At 5 a.m., the Sayers turned on the hospital room television to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. As the characters danced on the screen, the Sayers looked up to see Owen, who was still supported by a breathing tube, shaking his “jazz” hands to the rhythm of the song.
“Tim and I looked at each other and said, ‘Are you dancing?’” Becky Sayers said. “And he nodded his head. We knew that he understood he was dancing to the TV, and we just cried.”
Owen, who at the time of the accident was cast as Flounder in an upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid,” regained his voice at a whisper after the breathing tube was removed the next day. A few weeks after he was released from the hospital, he auditioned for a role in “Into the Woods,” and two months later he played the lead role of Simba in “The Lion King Jr.” Aside from the embarrassment of a shaved head and a few headaches in the weeks after surgery, Owen was able to return to the stage untarnished by the incident.
Unintentional injuries are the most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents. Dr. Scottie Day, chief of the pediatric critical care at KCH, said Owen’s remarkable recovery is attributed in part to collaborative efforts of his entire medical team, from the emergency department to the PICU.
“We do not consider it a job, but a privilege as a team, to take care of patients like Owen and their families,” Day said. “We want each and every family to know that they are part of our story as well. “
After he hit his head on the tree, Owen wondered whether he’d be able to sing and dance again. He was relieved to be back to normal soon after he got home from the hospital. He said he doesn’t really ride bikes anymore, but sometimes rides a scooter with his helmet. Becky Sayers said Owen’s resilience helped him bounce back after the injury.
“I feel really lucky,” Owen said. “I got back up again. I didn’t give up.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org; Whitney Hale, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) – UK HealthCare has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in seven categories by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.
UK HealthCare — which includes the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital — was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for:
UK HealthCare is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.
The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures included in the recognition program including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.
To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:
“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of UK HealthCare for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.
“Quality and safety is vital to our success at UK HealthCare in providing the best care for patients across the Commonwealth and beyond," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "This recognition is an acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of our staff working hard day in and day out."
For more information about the Top Performer program, visit www.jointcommission.org/accreditation/top_performers.aspx.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, (859) 323-6363, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2015) -- Last year at UK HealthCare, about 140 families experienced the loss of an infant from stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death. To honor and acknowledge the lives of the infants and the loss experienced by their families, UK's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Labor and Delivery unit hold an annual event to remember these loved ones.
UK HealthCare's annual Walk to Remember is held the first Sunday in October each year at The Arboretum at UK and is an event that has been occurring now for more than 20 years.
"This service provides a way for families to honor and remember their child that they have lost," said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. "We walk to previously planted trees that were planted in honor and memory of the babies that had died during previous years. At the end of the walk, our grieving families help plant a new tree for that year in memory of their loved one."
In addition, families can write a message to their baby and plant it with the tree that includes an inscription and bronze plaque provided by UK HealthCare administration that reads, "In memory of your baby's life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered."
For UK HealthCare Palliative Care and Oncology Chaplain Diana Hultgren the Arboretum at UK is a very symbolic setting for the event. "It not only provides a beautiful, family-friendly setting, but a living framework for reflecting on and experiencing the cycles of life," She said. "In many cultures, trees are symbols of life and renewal, the span of generations and hope for the future and by blessing and dedicating these trees, we share in one another’s sadness and joy, knowing we are not alone and do not remember alone."
Families take pictures by the trees year after year, and it is amazing to watch the trees grow, Hultgren added. "Through these gestures and rituals of healing, we strengthen the bonds between us, draw our UK community closer together and let our love and remembrance take form in new ways to bless family and stranger alike."
Steele, a NICU nurse who has been a member of the committee for 16 years, said the event is a time of healing not only for the families but also the nursing staff. "We feel that it’s a way to give back to the families and help provide closure," she said. "We want them to know that we share in their loss by providing a service where they can remember and honor their beloved child."
Sandy Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery, is also a longtime committee member and says providing a memorial and remembrance for these babies and their families has been her calling since she first became a labor and delivery nurse 27 years ago.
"The ceremony means so much to the families and I find especially it is important for the families who have experienced a miscarriage or early loss because it gives them an opportunity to memorialize their baby that they may not otherwise have had."
For more information about the event, contact Shannon Haynes at
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