On Mother’s Day 2010, my son Gavin had his first seizure. That was just before his fourth birthday. Up until that point, Gavin was a healthy young boy. At the hospital that Mother’s Day, Gavin was diagnosed with epilepsy and a brain tumor. For the next three years, Gavin suffered from multiple seizures even though he was on five medications and a special diet. He had seizures most every night and sometimes during the day. We couldn’t leave him alone and had to limit our activities because we never knew when he’d have a seizure.
Every morning at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 40 to 50 people gather for our 15-minute safety huddle. It’s an opportunity for staff to share safety concerns that can range from equipment issues to challenging family situations with the potential to cause safety issues. It’s not the place where we solve the concerns, but it’s a place for concerns to be voiced and connections to be made so issues can be addressed. After the huddle, a quick email recap is sent out to more than 250 staff members.
Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates March as National Nutrition Month; this year the theme is about “Biting Into a Healthy Lifestyle” in order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of chronic disease.
“Biting Into a Healthy Lifestyle” involves making healthy food choices; however this can be hard for everyone, as many of our favorite foods and family recipes contain high amounts of calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars that have been shown to be detrimental to our health.
Simple food substitutions can help to reduce the amount of these nutrients that you consume, leading to a healthier diet. Below is a list of just a few ways to help make your favorite food healthier while still tasting delicious.
- Broil, grill, bake and steam foods instead of frying to reduce the fat content
- Use fresh fruits to add sweetness to foods such as yogurt or oatmeal to decrease sugar consumption
- To reduce sodium intake cook with herbs and spices instead of salt
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a reduced fat content
- To reduce the amount of sugar when baking, replace the sugar with applesauce
- Choose leaner meats such as ground turkey instead of ground beef for a reduced fat content
- To increase fiber intake use whole-wheat products such as bread, pasta, and rice
Take the next step
For more information on National Nutrition Month and how to achieve a healthier lifestyle, visit the Patient Food and Nutrition Services Healthy Eating Tip of the Month page: http://www.med.umich.edu/pfans/services/tip.html
Alyssa Shrader is a dietetic intern at the University of Michigan Health System with a concentration in Pediatrics. She graduated from Colorado State University in May 2014 with a major in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a minor in Biomedical Sciences.
For more than 160 years, theUniversity of Michigan Health System has been a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. The three U-M hospitals have been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including a #1 ranking in Michigan and national rankings in many specialty areas by U.S. News & World Report.
Not all medications are formulated by manufacturers in dosages appropriate for children. Pharmacies make those medications by compounding them — meaning they crush and dissolve the adult medication and suspend it in liquid in a dosage appropriate for the child’s size. The problem is that different pharmacies may compound the same medication at different concentrations — meaning a teaspoon of medication from one pharmacy may not be the same as a teaspoon of the same medication from another pharmacy.
We wanted to investigate the prevalence of compounding variability and create a solution that would decrease the potential for medication adverse events occurring due to inadvertent wrong doses being administered. Data was collected that identified 147 medications that are compounded for children and found that there were 470 different concentrations of those medications being made. The concentrations of which varied widely.
The hospital world is one of many codes. For those of us who work here, we are trained to react quickly and with great precision when a code is initiated.
Just like with the many codes used in the healthcare world, the tools and procedures that child life specialists reach for when we’re called upon are truly evidence-based, and are an important part of your child’s health care.
As I child life specialist, when I hear the sound of crying toddlers who are having their vitals taken in preoperative bays, I grab the magical bubbles that are packaged in a crayon shape. Off I go down the hall, like the Pied Piper playing a flute of bubbles. Ninety percent of the time, bubbles work to quickly calm a tearful child. The other 10 percent, the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) becomes any number of extraordinary characters equipped with magical toys. Okay, that may be a bit exaggerated, but that often is how my day feels as I enter the PACU and the preoperative work ups begin.
My husband, Mike, and I were so looking forward to our baby’s 19-week ultrasound so we could find out the gender. That moment didn’t actually turn out as we had envisioned. In addition to finding out that we were having a precious baby boy, we also learned that he had spina bifida, meaning that part of his spinal cord was exposed outside of his body. This came as quite a shock. While I had only heard of spina bifida, my husband is a chiropractor and, with his educational background, knew all about it. For me, however, ignorance was bliss that day.
After the ultrasound and finding out about his diagnosis, we spent the day meeting with various experts from the Fetal Diagnosis & Treatment Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, including a genetic counselor and several members of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine team. We learned about spina bifida and the treatment options available. They told us about a relatively new surgical procedure that could treat our son before he was born. Although not a complete cure, the surgeons would repair the spinal canal and cover it with skin to prevent further trauma. Research demonstrates better outcomes with this approach compared to standard surgery after birth. While there were risks for both me and my unborn son, which the team carefully explained to us – we did not hesitate to say yes in light of the potential to improve his outcome.