24 Ways Kids Are Different And how our children’s hospital meets their needs

24 Ways Kids
Are Different
And how our children’s hospital
meets their needs
Welcome to the
New Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital.
The moment you walk through the doors of our new 14-story building, you
recognize that our hospital is a special place. A place that offers the most
advanced pediatric specialty care and, at the same time, understands that
children are different.
There are 24 hours in a day, and we think there are 24 important ways children
are different from adults. Throughout this brochure, you will learn how children
are unique, why they need doctors specially trained to care for them, and why
children benefit from a hospital designed just for them.
All you have to do is look at kids to know they are different from adults—
developmentally, physically and emotionally. So when we first began planning
the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we asked ourselves one all consuming
question: How can we create the best healing environment for children? This
was our answer. We needed:
Specially trained physicians. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has more than
150 doctors practicing in more than 40 different pediatric specialties.
Dedicated nurses. In 2009, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, along with
Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals, was awarded Magnet Recognition® status.
This means it delivers nursing care that meets the most rigorous national
standards—something that only 6 percent of hospitals nationwide can claim.
Family-centered care. We involve the child and the family in all discussions and
decisions about the care the child will receive, and provide care that is culturally
competent and respects family traditions.
Innovative programming. During the past 20 years, Helen DeVos Children’s
Hospital has grown by developing new programs that meet children’s diverse
health care needs. Our diabetes program has more than 1,000 children managing
their disease thanks to insulin pump technology. Our sedation program, one
of the largest in the country, was developed to minimize pain and anxiety for
children undergoing medical procedures. And children with cancer benefit from
leading-edge research through our relationship with the international Children’s
Oncology Group.
Special equipment and medical technology. We stock 10 different sizes of blood
pressure cuffs, ranging from the BAND-AID®-sized cuff for a 1-pound preemie to
an adult-sized cuff to fit a high school football player. In addition, we have state-ofthe-art technology just for children, including a specialized neonatal MRI to scan
the brains of premature babies and diagnostic radiology equipment that produces
the most detailed images with the lowest possible radiation dose.
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Bob Connors, MD
President and Surgeon
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Access to the latest advances in pediatric medical education and research.
In collaboration with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the
Van Andel Institute, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is training the next generation
of pediatric specialists and researchers. This relationship ensures our physicians
have access to the latest pediatric clinical therapies and leading medical science.
Lots of amenities designed especially for kids. Because it takes more than just great
medicine to heal children, our hospital is a place especially designed for children and
their families. Artwork created by children, interactive play areas, an outdoor
garden, and even an ice cream shop and a stone-hearth pizza oven in our restaurant
are some of the amenities we offer to help make kids feel comfortable and at home.
All of us at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are proud of our new hospital. We are
very grateful to the community and the many donors who have supported us over
the years. What we have built here together will serve generations of children to
come. Join us as we celebrate this great, once-in-a-lifetime achievement.
Bob Connors, MD
President and Surgeon
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
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Children Come in
All Sizes.
Think about the difference between the tiniest preemie who fits in the palm of
your hand and the high school linebacker in an XXL uniform. Would you use
the same size blood pressure cuff on them? Of course not. Children’s hospitals
are designed to accommodate kids of every size, age and developmental
stage from birth through young adulthood. At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,
we not only have blood pressure cuffs in all sizes, but also gowns, pajamas,
masks, tubing, needles, equipment and beds. Our focus is unique and singular.
All kids, all the time.
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Children Need Highly
Specialized Care.
Children need care that reflects their growth and developmental stages. Starting
with the littlest babies in The Gerber Foundation Neonatal Center, Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital provides services that meet the dramatically different needs of
growing children. This includes a multidisciplinary developmental pediatrics clinic
that addresses developmental delays along with the medical issues associated
with them; an intensive feeding program that helps children who can’t eat because
of underlying medical issues; a diabetes and endocrinology program that helps
children with metabolic disorders that affect their growth and development; the only
pediatric sleep program in West Michigan; and dentistry for children with disabilities.
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Children Need
Child Life Specialists.
To a child, hospitals can be scary. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital physicians and
staff members understand this. They help kids process the unknowns of a hospital
visit, and identify and calm their fears. And while everyone who comes in contact
with our patients is trained to make children feel comfortable, they get some extra
help from our child life team members who are specialists in child development.
“We believe that a traumatic hospital experience can mark a child and family for life,
while a good experience changes everything,” says Jodi Bauers, CCLS, manager of
child life. “We spend time with the child and family to learn the family’s story, and
understand how the child learns and processes information. We then adjust our
approach for these factors, and the child’s age and developmental stage.” Strategies
include directed and undirected play, guided imagery, explaining what will happen
during an upcoming procedure, allowing children to play with the medical
equipment (either real or a miniaturized version), and putting them in control by
giving them choices.
Children Feel Pain
A child’s pain should be eliminated or controlled. That is the philosophy at Helen
DeVos Children’s Hospital. To accomplish this, we use a number of pharmacological
and nonpharmacological techniques. For some of the most painful procedures, we
rely on our sedation team. In fact, a group of pediatric specialists at Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital pioneered a sedation program that is now one of the country’s
largest. With carefully calibrated dosages that are based on the child’s weight, kids
can undergo a brief, safe period of sedation with no memory of the procedure.
We also believe that discomfort is a form of pain and should be avoided. At Helen
DeVos Children’s Hospital, discomfort is eliminated or minimized using various
techniques. One technique called positions of comfort has a parent or loved one
hold the child during a painful procedure. Another uses a nonverbal pain scale to
immediately determine if the child feels discomfort. In the emergency department,
a simple device called a J-TIP® infuses quick-acting analgesic medicine through the
skin to minimize the pain of a needle poke.
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Children’s Care Is a
Family Affair.
At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we practice family-centered care. This is
based on the core idea that no one knows their child better than mom, dad and
members of the child’s extended family. We put families at the head of the care
team and encourage them to speak up, get involved, be part of every decision and
share their wisdom with us. Family involvement may include promoting a home-like
environment through shared meals, parents doing the bathing and diaper changing,
and participating in daily rounds with the care team. A program called Condition
Concern encourages families to speak up if they feel that staff members may not
understand their concerns. We do this because we respect and honor family input.
Most importantly, we know that children’s medicine is a family affair.
Children Don’t
Understand “Adult Speak.”
If you tell a child, “We are going to give you an IV,” they will likely think of the plant
ivy. Or when an anesthesiologist says, “We are going to put you to sleep before
your surgery,” the child may think of the family dog that was put to sleep. The fact
is kids are literal. And in a hospital, with a culture and language all its own, it is
especially important to speak using words and terms children understand,
supplemented with plenty of explanations. The child life team at Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital encourages staff to talk with children in child-friendly terms
and serves as a resource to caregivers. Consider a CAT scan. Some children might
imagine a cat being scanned at the grocery store checkout. So our child life team
explains that a special camera is going to take their picture. A blood pressure cuff is
giving your arm a hug and a tourniquet is a big rubber band. At Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital, we view the world through a child’s eyes.
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Children Get Sick Faster.
If you are a parent, you’ve seen it. One minute your child is fine. The next they have
a fever of 103 degrees. That’s why it is preferable to seek care at a children’s hospital,
where the full backing of resources and specialists is available. That way, if your
child’s condition quickly worsens or develops complications, he or she can get
immediate care by the right experts. It’s also important to note that the doctors and
nurses at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital have most likely treated dozens, if not
hundreds or even thousands, of similar cases. They have the skills to recognize and
assess the subtle physical changes that indicate a child’s condition is deteriorating.
This translates into faster diagnoses, fewer tests, quicker treatment and appropriate
care across the continuum.
Teens Speak Their Own
Language. We Get That.
And sometimes it takes a professional to get through to them. At Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital, our adolescent medicine team is staffed by board-certified
adolescent medicine physicians who are specially trained to talk with and care for
teens. This is key because teens are at a critical juncture in their health. They are
often dealing with adult issues that a decade ago were confronted by people in
their 20s. They may also be dealing with complex issues such as chronic diseases,
ADHD, depression, mood disorders, reproductive issues, eating disorders and
domestic violence. Central to the adolescent medicine clinic’s approach are:
• Allotting more time for appointments.
• Taking a multidisciplinary approach, which includes a social worker plus
connections to an array of community resources.
• Using multimedia and special educational tools that appeal to teens, all set in an
age-appropriate environment.
• Building a relationship over time. Teens typically are seen for primary care in the
adolescent medicine clinic between the ages of 12 and 22. “This long relationship
helps us guide teens toward the ultimate goal of being well-adjusted young adults,”
says adolescent medicine specialist Lisa Lowery, MD.
• Confidentiality. While parents are included, there are also one-on-one
conversations between teen and doctor. “We’ve created a safe zone,” says
Dr. Lowery. What teen doesn’t crave that?
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Children’s Medicine
Is Different.
You wouldn’t send a 6-year-old to college for their education. Why would you treat a
child at a hospital where the physicians are trained to care for adults and the facility
is designed primarily for adults? The fact is children are not small adults. There
are so many things about children that are different—their size, weight, physiology,
emotional development, the way their body reacts to medication, the way they
experience pain, the language they use to express themselves, the kinds of diseases
they get. Children’s doctors have specialized training because children require
medical therapies and treatments that meet their unique needs. At Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital, everything from the dose of medicine kids get based on their
weight rather than age to the dose of radiation used in diagnostic imaging has been
carefully designed to meet the special medical needs of children. What we provide
is not adult medicine applied to children, but children’s medicine practiced the way
it should be.
Physicians Who Care
for Children Need Special
Medical Training.
Doctors who dedicate their lives to treating children often go to school longer than
their counterparts who treat adults. But they do so willingly because of their passion
for healing children. Pediatric practitioners are required to take additional years of
training in children’s medicine depending on their area of expertise. They also must
have a unique understanding of children’s physiology at each stage of development;
understand how play techniques are integral to promoting healing; be skilled at
child-specific communication; build trusting relationships with parents; minimize
pain; and work collaboratively with all members of the care team, most importantly
the family. Thankfully, many pediatric specialists learn these skills at Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital. The hospital is a training ground for future pediatricians and
educates medical students, residents and fellows. With projected nationwide
shortages of pediatric physicians in the near future, this is good news for West
Michigan, because more than half of the doctors who train at Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital remain in the region.
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Children’s Radiology
Is Different.
Not only are children’s bodies different from adults’, but they also can be dramatically
different from child to child. As a result, physicians who treat children need to be
trained not just in their specialty, but also in pediatrics. Take radiology, for example.
You may think all X-ray studies are the same, but because children are more
sensitive to radiation, they should receive lower doses unique to their body size,
something that not all hospitals have the specialized expertise and equipment to do
well. According to Brad Betz, MD, medical director of pediatric radiology at Helen
DeVos Children’s Hospital, “Our radiation doses have always remained among the
lowest of all children’s hospitals.” This is due both to the pediatric radiologists’
expertise and access to the latest dose-reducing technology. Helen DeVos Children’s
Hospital radiologists are specially trained in pediatric diagnosis, providing expert
interpretation of the most complex developmental issues, including those of the
heart and brain. Pediatric radiologists also are trained to look for the impact of
disease on growth and development, such as evaluating fractures that may involve
the growth plates of a child’s bones.
Children’s Hospitals Help
Kids Develop Healthy
Eating Behaviors.
Kids need guidance, modeling and sometimes a little extra attention to develop a
lifetime of good eating habits. At the hospital, we do our part by providing a childand teen-friendly menu. For children and teens who need extra education on
nutrition, healthy choices and weight management, we have our Healthy Weight
Center, designed to help children with obesity. And for children who may not be able
to eat because of prematurity, a physical or emotional issue, a missed developmental
stage or food allergies, we have the intensive feeding program, one of only a few in
the nation, led by a neurodevelopmental pediatrician and child psychologist.
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Children Need to Play.
Play is how children learn. Play is how children communicate and process feelings.
Play is vital to a child’s development. That’s why incorporating play into the
children’s hospital experience makes so much sense. At Helen DeVos Children’s
Hospital, play is integral to just about everything we do. Our certified child life
specialists use play to explain medical procedures or upcoming surgeries through
dolls and miniature medical equipment. They also let a child work out upsetting
emotions through artwork or focused play. One example is using a “volcano” made
of baking soda and vinegar to talk about emotions like anger. The hospital has
dedicated spaces, both indoors and outdoors, to play. It also has its own theater
stage located in the lobby, a library and a collection of DVDs available for checkout.
Care teams throw parties to celebrate a child’s birthday or important milestones.
Visits by therapy dogs provide recreation and a sense of home, and many celebrities
and sports stars stop by when they are in town.
Children’s Care Requires
Lots of Listening and Time
for Conversations.
With a sick child, a quick appointment just doesn’t cut it. Worried parents may
not take in all the information at the outset. Children need explanations in ageappropriate language. Other family members or siblings may need attention as well.
At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we take our time with children and families.
Questions are not only welcome but encouraged. Education is a priority. Family is
invited to participate in daily meetings with the multidisciplinary team. Parents can
stay with their children in the anesthesia induction rooms before surgery, whenever
possible, and be in the recovery room when they awake. “With children’s medicine,
there is no substitute for time,” says Jeri Kessenich, MD, residency director. At Helen
DeVos Children’s Hospital, our goal is to be in continuous conversation with our
patients and their families.
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Children’s Hospitals Need
to Be Kid-Focused.
We know the small things are just as important as the big things. That’s why at
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we take care of both. Yes, we deliver world-class
medicine by some of the country’s leading pediatric specialists, but we do it in a
kid-friendly, child-focused way. This translates into slushee machines throughout
the hospital; making “character BAND-AIDS®” readily available; giving children the
opportunity to watch a movie either through video goggles or a mirror that reflects
images while receiving an MRI; offering body casts in fun colors; using wagons
instead of stretchers or wheelchairs for transport; and making sure parents are
present during procedures. As one staff member says, “Putting stickers in the
children’s journals is just as important as giving them their medicine.”
Children’s Medical
Procedures Are Different.
If the average adult has trouble staying still for a 45-minute diagnostic scan, can you
imagine what it’s like for a 3-year-old? But believe it or not, the child life specialists
who work in collaboration with the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital radiology team
can often get children to hold still for all kinds of tests. “We turn it into an adventure,”
says child life specialist Shauna Boughey, CCLS, CTRS. “We tell them that their job
is to stay still. Or we give them time to get all their wiggles out, and then they play
the freeze game. It all depends on their age and developmental stage.” Younger
children may watch mom take a ride in the scanner first. Older children may put on
earphones (not like those for an iPod®, but like those for a fighter pilot!) equipped
with a microphone that lets them be the boss. With very young children, having a
parent and a child life specialist sing their favorite song often works. Other children
respond to stickers, light wands, video goggles, prizes and high-fives. All respond to
upfront education, which includes listening to recordings of the sounds they will
hear in the scanner, practicing with a mini-CT scan and a Barbie® doll, and
understanding why they will undergo the procedure. “All of this gives them a sense
of control and mastery, something they can be proud of,” says Boughey.
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Children Need a Hospital
That Celebrates Children.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital wanted children and their families to feel welcome
and at home as soon as they walked through our front door. We thought the best
way to do this was to have children welcome children. That’s why we commissioned
a local art gallery in Grand Rapids, LaFontsee Galleries, to oversee the creation of
artwork by more than 8,000 children and teens throughout the region. The vibrant
display of kids’ art in our hospital celebrates the vision and imagination of children,
and it sends children a message the minute they walk through the front door that
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a place that celebrates the joy of being a child.
Children’s Hospitals
Keep Kids Safe.
Children’s hospitals play a major role in helping the community keep kids safe.
Through our Center for Child Protection, we offer a safe haven for abused children
by providing advocacy, evaluation, treatment and intervention. Through our Safe
Kids Program, we educate parents about child passenger safety. In our pediatric
emergency department, children are protected from potentially frightening adult
emergencies and inappropriate situations. In addition, Helen DeVos Children’s
Hospital has a goal to be the safest children’s hospital in the country. We have
created a culture of safety that focuses on delivering the right care, the first time and
every time. Safeguards in place include evidence-based care; medication doses
based on the child’s weight rather than age; a hand hygiene program; quiet zones for
preparing medication; checklists for when patients transition to the next nursing
shift; a badge system for visitors that is color-coded by floor; and many other
processes that have been carefully engineered to enhance patient safety.
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Children’s Hospitals Help
Kids Stay in School.
At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we have our own classroom and a full-time
certified teacher who works with long-term inpatients and those who miss school
due to frequent outpatient visits. The teacher acts as a liaison between parents
and teachers, coordinates homework, helps ease the transition from hospital back
to school, educates teachers and other students on the child’s diagnosis, and
helps parents prepare for individual education plan (IEP) meetings. Resources,
all of which are donor supported, include computers and books, Skype™, science
materials, laptops and a library that has many books patients are allowed to keep.
“In addition to helping children stay current with their studies, having school at
the hospital helps normalize things for kids—giving them structure, routine and a
familiar environment,” says Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital teacher Emmy David.
Our Children Deserve
Pediatric Care.
Of course they do, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is where they get it. For
example, because we are a member of the prestigious international Children’s
Oncology Group, all children with cancer have access to the latest clinical trials
and protocols. Babies with acute lung disease who would otherwise die without
intervention have access to our ECMO machine. And because we have one of the
largest and most comprehensive diabetes programs in the state of Michigan, very
rarely does one of our patients need to be hospitalized for diabetes upon diagnosis.
In addition, our doctors pioneered a program to minimize the need for blood
transfusions. As a result, even complex spinal fusion surgery can be performed
by our pediatric orthopaedists with minimal blood loss. And because our pediatric
intensivists believe that children should not feel the pain or anxiety of invasive
medical procedures or tests, we have one of the largest sedation programs in
the country.
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It Takes More Than
Great Medicine to
Help Children Heal.
At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, we celebrate all the ways children are unique.
We have designed the new hospital, our care processes and our medical protocols
to reflect their individuality. From infancy through young adulthood, we become
partners in each child’s health care journey. We respond to the child and family
on their own terms and take into account all the factors—physical, emotional and
developmental—that affect their health. Yes, we offer some of the most advanced
treatments, but we know children need more. They need people committed to
providing them with the special care they require. We are fortunate at Helen DeVos
Children’s Hospital to have passionate doctors and clinicians, and a community
committed to providing the best for their children. We thank them all for their
unbelievable support over the years.
Children’s Health Care
Requires the Support
of Philanthropy.
Scratch the surface of any children’s hospital, and you’ll find a supportive community
behind it. The fact is caring for sick and injured children costs more than adult
medicine. Children require more personalized care and a higher nurse-to-patient
ratio. Most arrive with complex conditions that demand specialized knowledge,
highly trained staff members and unique medical equipment. Additionally, pediatric
care is reimbursed at a lower rate and, unfortunately, many vital services—including
child life, the Center for Child Protection and the intensive feeding program at Helen
DeVos Children’s Hospital—receive little or no reimbursement. Because of our
generous community, we have been able to grow and meet the needs of children
and families. To ensure that this level of specialized care remains available in our
community, the hospital will continue to need the support of its many donors.
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Pediatric Specialties
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a Grand Rapids-based teaching hospital serving
children throughout Michigan. We are supported by more than 150 pediatric
specialty physicians, many of whom are employed by the Spectrum Health Medical
Group. Our team is trained to provide medical and surgical care to infants, children
and adolescents in more than 40 pediatric specialties. Many of our programs and
services are made possible by support from the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Foundation. Visit devoschildrens.org/give to find out how you can be part of
children’s health care.
š Adolescent medicine
š Allergy and immunology
š Anesthesia
š Behavioral pediatrics
š Bone marrow transplant
š Cancer and blood disorders
š Cardiology
š Cardiovascular surgery
š Child abuse and neglect
(Center for Child Protection)
š Critical care
š Dentistry
š Dermatology
š Diabetes and endocrinology
š Ear, nose and throat
š Emergency medicine
š Gastroenterology
š General pediatrics
š General surgery
š Genetics
š Hand surgery
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š Hospital medicine
š Infectious disease
š Kidney (nephrology, dialysis
and transplantation)
š Maternal-fetal medicine
š Neonatal center
š Neurodevelopmental pediatrics
š Neurology
š Neurosurgery
š Ophthalmology
š Orthopaedics
š Otology/neurotology
š Pathology
š Plastic surgery
š Psychology
š Pulmonary and sleep medicine
š Radiology
š Regional Burn Center
š Rehabilitation (physiatry)
š Rheumatology
š Urology
Please return this card to:
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation
100 Michigan Street NE, MC004
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Thank you for your life saving
and life changing support!
Home phone
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Expiration date
100 Michigan Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
250320 SH14065 ©11.2010