Tiffany St. James, APRN-NP, PNP and patient

Care Delivery

Seamless, safe patient transitions

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, 8% of pediatric beds in Illinois have closed. Such closures across the country make it increasingly difficult for children to access care. Lurie Children’s Transport Team, Patient Access Center and Digital Health created a collaborative workspace with the goal of providing care for all children. In July 2022, the Lurie Children’s Connected Care Center opened. This newly created “transfer center” took teams that already worked together but were geographically separated and co-located them to better oversee patient transitions so children reach their optimal point of care as quickly as possible. Led by Laura Westley, BSN, MSM, RN, C-NPT Senior Director, Interfacility Transport, Emergency Services, and the Connected Care Center, the Connected Care Center enables instant communication and oversight of patient movement in one centralized location. The Connected Care Center nurses provide support to referring facilities with care recommendations, assures the appropriate level of care is assigned and that teams are aware and ready on each unit for patient arrivals. “The Center’s team supports safe and efficient transitions of care with a goal of always having a bed available when children need us most. The whole concept allows us to work smarter, not harder, and to be able to provide care to as many children as possible,” said Westley.

Nurses develop program for innovative treatment

In late December 2020, Lurie Children’s became one of a handful of Brineura treatment sites in the country to administer this enzyme replacement therapy. This is the first approved treatment for the CLN2 form of Batten disease (a rare and fatal disease of the nervous system) and preserves the child’s developmental milestones along with improving quality of life. Kathleen Romanski, MS, APRN, CPNP, Neurosurgery, led the development and implementation of this treatment program alongside Eileen Romano, DNP, MBA, RN, CENP, Neuro/Endo Inpatient Director and Ann Beland, BSN, NPD-BC, CPN Nursing Professional Development Practitioner. The program required building a standard operating procedure, sequestering of special equipment, education to multiple teams, and coordination of many moving parts. Bryan Johnson, BSN, RN, Inpatient 19, became a primary nurse for patients receiving Brineura and has been instrumental in ongoing improvements to the program that have led to more individualized care. Lurie Children’s was the first program to administer Brineura to a patient under one year of age and was among the first program to utilize an implanted reservoir and catheter that was accessed through the patient’s chest instead of the head. Lurie Children’s nurses have been gratified to see the impact of the care they provide to our patients and their families. Johnson reflects, “I take great pride in knowing I am able to help these children and families with a treatment that was not possible a few years ago.”

Lurie Children's was first to administer Brineura to a patient under one year of age

Innovative gurney design to prevent falls in children

Michael Olsen, MS, RN, CPN, Kim DeNicolo, MSN, RN, CNL, CPEN

After several years of working on fall prevention strategies, Clinical Quality Coordinators Kim DeNicolo, MSN, RN, CNL, CPEN, and Michael Olsen, MS, RN, CPN, recognized that the commercially available gurneys are a root cause for falls in the Emergency Department. “We needed to think outside the box,” said DeNicolo. Now they are partnering with Kelley Elahi, MSE, BSN, RN, CPN, and Kosh Ghosh, MS, MBA, at Innovate2Impact (I2I), the innovation hub at Lurie Children’s, to create a gurney or gurney accessory that prevents falls in children. In early 2022, their idea was awarded $15,000 in the Lurie Children’s Nursing Shark Tank Innovation Challenge. The I2I team then connected them with an industrial design firm that facilitated a multidisciplinary brainstorming workshop for new gurney designs. Recently, the team began discussions with a major gurney manufacturer about new design requirements. “We’re excited that a safer gurney for children will be on the market one day,” said Olsen.