New Program Helps Families with Mental Health Crises

In recognition of Mental Health Month, On the Pulse will be sharing valuable resources and inspiring patient stories each week to guide individuals and families struggling with mental health issues and help destigmatize the topic of mental health in our society.

One late afternoon in April, Jessie Early noticed something was wrong her with 7-year-old son, Rohan.

He stopped eating, was withdrawing, and exhibiting suicidal thoughts.

Extremely concerned, Early rushed her son to Seattle Children’s Emergency Department (ED), as recommended by Rohan’s psychiatrist at the time.

Within just a few minutes in the waiting room, Rohan was sent directly to one of the patient rooms for evaluation.

What could have been a stressful and trauma inducing experience for Rohan, Early was pleasantly surprised with the attentiveness and support that the staff provided her son.

“There was always someone there to answer our questions,” Early said. “It made it so we were relaxed and informed. Staff would ask him questions in a respectful and polite way, even though some of questions were difficult for him answer. They were there for us every step of the way.”

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Pandemic Catapults Rapid Expansion of Telehealth Care

Jessica Carey’s family has received care for her twin sons at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center for about four years. She transitioned to telehealth in February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telehealth refers to a broad spectrum of remote technological healthcare services, which may include non-clinical services, while telemedicine is the practice of delivering clinical care from a distance via technology.

“At first the idea of telehealth seemed daunting because it’s a lot of work for parents, but it’s actually a really nice way to be able to move practice to home from a clinical setting while still receiving support from a professional,” Carey said. “It also saves on travel time and expenses which is really positive.”

Since many appointments were cancelled or postponed, she added, “Being able to at least see our providers at Seattle Children’s helps keep consistency in my boys’ days.”

Carey is just one of thousands of families who have recently experienced Seattle Children’s rapidly expanded telehealth services to ensure children get the medical care they need during an era of travel restrictions and “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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Seattle Children’s Outpatient Surgery Center Ousts Opioids from Surgeries

Eighteen months ago, Dr. Lynn Martin, an anesthesiologist and medical director of the ambulatory surgery center at Seattle Children’s, and his colleagues at the Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center set out to reduce the use of opioids during outpatient pediatric surgeries, while maintaining or improving pain management and outcomes for patients. Ultimately, they accomplished much more by successfully ousting opioid use during surgeries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the U.S. It is a problem Martin and his colleagues believe they can help address, which is what drove them to develop a novel initiative at Seattle Children’s to reduce opioids.

Martin and his colleagues completed their breakthrough quality improvement initiative to reduce opioid use and their findings were published in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Read full post »

Masks Connecting Communities

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center donates masks to Seattle Children’s.

When Seattle Children’s posted on social media asking followers to consider donating any unopened masks in light of a global manufacturing shortage and the impact of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the community responded in a big way.

In one week, community members near and far rallied to donate more than 17,000 masks and these numbers are expected to increase with more donations in the coming weeks.

“We were overwhelmed by the rapid and extensive response by our community,” said Aileen Kelly, executive director of Seattle Children’s Guild Association. “In times like these, it is heartwarming to see people come together to serve the greater good. We are very appreciative of this generosity and it’s not lost on us how a simple thing like a mask can make a significant impact locally, nationally and globally.”

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Zeroing in on COVID-19

A curb side initial screening for COVID-19 symptoms allows nurses to determine if a patient needs isolation before entering the Emergency Department. (Slide 1/6)

If a patient is showing potential symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to be cared for in the hospital, then they are admitted to Seattle Children’s Special Isolation Unit (SIU). This photo was taken during a recent simulation training in the SIU. (Slide 2/6)

Dr. Whitney Harrington, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, plans to launch a study that will provide valuable epidemiological data from a community cohort on who’s becoming infected, when they’re becoming infected, and who’s getting sick from the infection. (Slide 3/6)

The Coler Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is using their expertise to support the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. (Slide 4/6)

Another collaborative research effort led by Dr. Peter Myler, a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s, has already contributed findings about for vaccine development efforts and new knowledge generated daily is expected to aid in drug development. (Slide 5/6)

Children and teens trying to make sense of what the COVID-19 pandemic means for their families and communities may feel more worry than usual. Any caregiver can take steps to help children and teens cope during this stressful time. (Slide 6/6)

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When health officials learned a Seattle Children’s patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in late February, it sent a ripple through health and scientific communities nationwide. It was the first example of community transmission in the state of Washington, indicating the virus causing COVID-19 had likely been spreading in Seattle and the surrounding region undetected.

It was a moment Seattle Children’s had prepared to face since establishing an incident command center more than one month prior. From this command center, teams from across the organization met to support advance planning and coordinate actions for a potential COVID-19 surge in the region.

“Before there were any confirmed cases in the U.S., Seattle Children’s anticipated the potential for an outbreak in our region,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s Chief Executive Officer. “Over the past several weeks, we have provided specialized training for our team, established strict protocols for health and hygiene, and consolidated essential supplies so that we would be ready to protect our patients.”

Now other cities are turning to Seattle for insight on what to expect as the growing pandemic reaches their communities. On the Pulse offers a behind the scenes look at how the leading pediatric hospital and research institute at the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak is responding to this quickly evolving global health issue. Read full post »