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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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.
Managing a child’s mental health can feel like an uphill battle with no end in sight. Often times, parents and caregivers feel lost when it comes to navigating through their child’s emotions when they are experiencing a mental health crisis or mitigating a situation before, during and after a crisis occurs.
Some of the best resources to help parents and caregivers better understand their child’s mental health are the same tools providers routinely use for any patient coming into Seattle Children’s with a mental health issue. Developed by pediatric mental health experts at Seattle Children’s and used in clinic for over a decade, the escalation cycle is one such tool that parents and caregivers can easily adapt to use at home.
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Adria Cooper, 17, shares her experience dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being a teenager isn’t easy by any means. With school, friends, and extracurricular activities, along with added the pressure of increased responsibilities and desire for more independence, teens are battling a load of complex emotions on a day-by-day basis.
Now, top off their struggles with a global pandemic that’s completely transformed their lives, and they’ve got a whole new set of challenges they must navigate ahead of them.
“Being away from school and friends feels very weird,” said Adria Cooper, 17, a junior in high school. “Sometimes I am happy to be on my own and not have to worry about what other people think. I can do what I want, but other days I feel very isolated and lonely.”
As a society as a whole, it’s not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about increased feelings of loss, grief, uncertainty and loneliness.
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Parents are facing some high expectations right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of uncertainty to our homes, impacting finances, food security, health and safety. And while that would have been plenty to worry about, many parents are also required to work from home while managing their child’s education at the kitchen table.
It’s a lot.
“We know there are direct correlations between parental stress and a parent’s ability to give their child the one-on-one positive interaction that kids need to thrive,” said Dr. Megan Frye, a child psychologist at Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. “We also know that the brain is super flexible. When we are going through stressful experiences, we as parents can learn and implement concrete skills and practices that will help us manage our own stress, connect better with our children and model what it looks like to be resilient when things are challenging.”
Reducing anxiety can feel impossible if your child care is obsolete and you don’t have time for an hour-long yoga class. On the Pulse has collaborated with Seattle Children’s experts to identify practical tips to help parents manage their stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and long after.
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The Teasley sisters visit Dr. Kathy Sie, who helped them become the successful young women they are today. From left to right: Erika, Alicia, Dr. Sie and Janna.
When Ken and Kathi Teasley learned their two oldest daughters were deaf, they feared it would hold them back. Instead, Seattle Children’s providers taught the girls to live without limits and use their experience as people who are deaf and hard of hearing to help others.
Now in their 20s, all three of the Teasley sisters volunteer or work at Seattle Children’s. Read full post »
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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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)
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 »
Seattle Children’s Zero Suicide Initiative helps identify and treat children ages 10 and up who are at risk for suicide.
A teenage boy arrives at Seattle Children’s Emergency Department (ED) with an increased heart rate. His parents are scared and unsure of what could be causing their son’s pulse to spike. While the nurse takes the patient’s vitals, she asks him a series of questions about suicide — prompting the patient to share that he tried to overdose on prescription medication the night before. The nurse informs the provider, and an immediate plan is set in motion to further assess not only the patient’s physical health, but his mental health, as well.
A 10-year-old girl enters the ED with a sprained elbow after taking a tumble on the soccer field. Her parents have been taking her to therapy to help with her anxiety, and the therapist communicates his findings with them often. Because she is so young, the therapist has never directly asked the patient if she’s ever had suicidal thoughts. After the ED nurse initiates suicide-screening questions, the girl admits that she has had thoughts about harming herself in the past. Prior to discharging the patient, a mental health evaluator shares resources and information about suicide with the family, and the provider contacts the patient’s therapist and asks the girl’s suicidal thoughts be addressed in their next appointment.
These are just two stories of the more than 500 children who have screened positive for suicide risk in Seattle Children’s ED and inpatient settings over the past six months who presented for concerns unrelated to their mental health. These crucial “catches” were made with help from a new clinical pathway known as Seattle Children’s Zero Suicide Initiative (ZSI), a universal screening method to help identify and treat youth at risk of suicide.
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For Shameka Cornelius, Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) is more than just a community clinic. To her, OBCC is family.
The clinic provides medical, dental, mental health and nutrition services to all families, regardless of their ability to pay. It also offers a unique model of care that addresses the socioeconomic and environmental roots of illness.
Shameka Cornelius poses with her three children, Saymirah, Shayrielle and Sy’ier.
Since Cornelius was a little girl, OBCC has been her medical home. From dental visits to well-child check-ups, Cornelius has fond memories of the clinic. She remembers walking from her grandmother’s house just blocks away in Seattle’s Central District to go to clinic appointments. For her, it never felt like going to the doctor. She was always excited to see the smiling faces of her care team.
“I still remember the very first fish tanks they had,” Cornelius said as she laughed. “Those were my first fish. You get your tokens when you go to the dentist and pick out a book after getting your shots. They even had popsicles sometimes.”
Cornelius says above all else, it’s the people that have made OBCC so special to her.
“Everyone should experience that type of service and a clinic of home and togetherness,” Cornelius said. “They actually care at OBCC. Everybody there is really friendly. For me, I wanted my kids to experience the same care that I received. The same people have been there since I was young. You can tell it’s not just work for them; they actually have a passion to be there.” Read full post »
Carson Bryant, an 11-year-old from Gig Harbor, Washington, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Through the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Seattle Children’s South Clinic in Federal Way, Carson is able to receive the treatment she needs much closer to home.
Creativity is at the center of 11-year-old Carson Bryant’s life.
“I would describe her as being imaginative,” her mother, Andrea Bryant, said. “She has a love for theater and dreams of being an illustrator someday.”
In January 2018, Carson had to put her creative passions aside when she began experiencing symptoms that sparked concern for her mother.
“I noticed Carson was making frequent trips to the bathroom,” she said. “I became even more worried when there was blood in her stool.”
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