A dream job: Using digital technology to support healing

jj bouchard digital media mott children's hospitalYou’ve probably heard the warnings.

“Limit screen time for your children.”

“Focus on real experiences vs. screen experiences.”

There are good reasons for these guidelines.

But what about kids who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? What about teens who crave even a small sense of normalcy – average teen activities, and even ways to interact with other teens from within the confines of their hospital room? Can “screens” actually be a lifeline in these situations?

That’s where J.J. Bouchard comes in.

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Gaming for Good

Xbox 360 systems now available in patient rooms at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

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When Anna Dai and Efrain Segarra signed up to take an entry-level computer engineering course at University of Michigan, they expected to learn about game software development.

What they did not expect was to find themselves taking gaming to a whole new level through a massive project at U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Thanks to their efforts – along with the generosity of dozens of other individuals and groups – patients at Mott will now find their room equipped with an Xbox 360.

Out of the classroom, into the real world

Efrain Segarra was a freshman when he took Professor David Chesney’s course.

“Dr. Chesney calls it Gaming for the Greater Good,” says Segarra, referring to the course’s focus on developing software that can benefit children with disabilities.

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To the mom of a child with a chronic illness

Lexi Behrndt, Charlie & Lincoln's momI’ve seen you in those hospital rooms. I’ve seen you hand your child off to surgeons, not knowing if you would ever get to hold them again with a beating heart. I’ve seen you pray, hope, and hold on to faith with a sheer will that would put most to shame. I’ve seen you hold your baby with tears streaming down your face because this kind of sickness isn’t the kind that just comes and goes, this is the kind where no one can assure you that your child is going to be okay.

You fight for your children when they can’t fight for themselves. You hope for them and you stay positive for them, and then run to the bathroom just to cry in the stall where they can’t see. You research and talk to doctors and talk to other parents to find the best possible treatment plans and solutions to give the best life to your child. You take part in care for your child in ways even some in the medical field are intimidated by – dropping NG tubes, changing trachs, giving IV meds through a Broviac at home.

You go to the places no one wants to go. You know a side of the world that most would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Continue reading

Who are all these people in my hospital room?

A new generation of patient and family centered care

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Dr. Kim Eagle and his medical team do their “bedside rounding” where they meet with the patient to discuss her medical plan as well as any concerns or questions.

At a teaching hospital like the University of Michigan, your room is likely to fill up with many new faces when the doctor makes his or her rounds. And you’re probably wondering: Who are all these people in my room??

The answer is simple and complex: They’re all there to care for you, and each has a specific reason for being in your room. Here’s a rundown of some of the people who might be in your room and what they do:

  • The attending physician or senior physician (your doctor) is also the “teacher” physician.
  • A pharmacy student as well as a clinical pharmacist “teacher” monitors your medications.
  •  A social worker is a healthcare professional trained to assist with social needs.
  • A nurse practitioner is a nurse with a graduate level of education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • A physician assistant is a medical professional with graduate level education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Medical students are learning your history as part of their education.
  • Residents are physicians who are learning to deliver patient care.

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Living with an ICD

University of Michigan Health System promotes ICD peer-mentoring program and a personal connection

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Jeanette McDonald’s trip to Yellowstone National Park last September marked the first time in nearly three years this ICD patient was far from medical resources. Today, she is ready to reach out to other patients.

What if you were told you had a condition that required you to have a device implanted in your body to save your life? It would be a hard reality to accept — one filled with uncertainty and fear. But if you met someone who was living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and had a full, happy life, that person might alleviate some of your fears by sharing their story and proving that life isn’t over — just changing to adapt to a new reality.

This is the concept for a unique peer-mentoring program at the University of Michigan Health System designed to help those facing life-changing procedures, such as an ICD.

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center has paired up with the Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Program to pilot peer-mentoring initiatives aimed at helping patients with specific health challenges. The U-M outpatient implantable cardioverter defibrillator clinic has been selected as one of the first five sites to pilot such a program. Continue reading

Gamers give back to Mott

Gamers Outreach team delivering Xbox 360 consoles they are helping C.S. Mott Children's Hospital install in patient rooms.Being in the hospital is a little more fun for kids at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, thanks in part to the generous support of Gamers Outreach Foundation and the Mott Family Network. And, it’s about to get even more fun!

Gamers Outreach was founded by 25-year-old Zach Wigal. When Zach was in high school, he enjoyed a wide variety of activities, but playing video games was a favorite. So much so that he decided to organize a video game tournament in his hometown of Saline, Mich. Part of his goal was to have fun, but the other part was to help dispel the negative connotation that often accompanies gaming. More than 300 people registered for that first tournament and the event raised $4,000 for the Autism Society of America. It was through that event that Gamers Outreach Foundation was born.

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