I have sometimes talked about the snowball effect when Jacob is getting sick, not knowing where the snowball will finally land.
I have been involved with Children’s Colorado for the last eight years, always trying to make the hospital a better place for our children. Right now, I feel I am the snowball going down the hill, not knowing where it will take me.
This week the snowball took me to San Francisco. Yesterday, I got to present about “Partnering with Parents to Reduce Preventable Harm - from Board to Bedside” together with the hospital’s Chief Quality Officer and Director of Family Experience at the Children’s Hospital Association’s conference. The conference was located in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities. I was also able to bring Joakim along, which was no small feat. The 24 hours nursing team for Jacob (in order for us to leave) has fell through multiple times since we started to plan this trip in December. We didn’t have the final confirmation from the last nurse until 6 pm Saturday evening (leaving the following morning). I also had to take Jacob to Urgent Care Saturday afternoon due to his ears still not looking clear from his double-sided ear infection. When I finally sat on the plane Sunday morning, I needed a few deep yoga breaths to get me in the right mode.
It was great to stand in front of an audience of Pediatricians from all over the country, and talk about our lessons learned in involving Parent Partners from Board to Bedside. I think the fact that Children’s actually flew me out to this conference demonstrated that the hospital “walks the talk”. I talked about our most recent White Board project where we are now engaging with families in each hospital room. On the White Board, each family can see what hospital acquired conditions (falls, right drug, pressure ulcers, hand washing etc.) their child is at risk for. With the White Board comes a set of cards explaining what the families can expect hospital staff to do to prevent harm, and what families can do to partner with hospital staff in making sure their child is safe at all times. This project was driven by a group of parents including myself, and with the thinking that the hospital can’t get to 0 patient safety errors without engaging parents. We got overwhelmingly positive feedback on our presentation throughout the conference, and it felt really good to have shared our successes at Children’s.
Outside of the conference, Joakim and I got to catch up on some alone adult time and exploring San Francisco. This was our 4th time in the city, but the first time we made it to Presidio. We both loved this park. We ate great food and got to sleep a little bit more than normal. It was an awesome four days away from home, especially because Jacob did well and our nurses rocked!
Back to the snowball effect, tomorrow I am participating in a lunch meeting for a Quality Award the hospital is trying to achieve talking about family engagement throughout the hospital. Through the national work that I do through PEDSnet, I am the co-lead of a research project creating a Portal for involving parents in their own data linkage across hospitals in this country. I am presenting the same Presentation I just did in San Francisco at two other conferences in Denver this year. In two weeks, I get to go to Chicago and attend the national ImproveCareNow conference with focus on IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). I am going as the PEDSnet parent, and I am hoping to bring back information both to PEDSnet and to learn a few more things that can benefit Jacob and his tummy.
It has been a really busy year with the additional work at Children’s, but it’s all very rewarding work. For now, I will follow the snowball wherever it will take me.
Stay tuned, Maria.