Bryan Johnson, BSN, RN, Sarah Chalekian, BSN, RN, CPN,
Kaitlan Meyers, BSN, RN, CPN, Stephanie Guataquira, BSN, RN


A stronger connection to epilepsy care

In 2019, Lurie Children’s began a grant-funded initiative dedicated to increasing access to care for rural and underserved children and youth with epilepsy. Collaborative Neurology Network for Enhanced Care through Telehealth for Children and Youth with Epilepsy consortium (CONNECT for CYE) takes a telemedicine-focused approach to reach more patients where they are and has been working to improve reporting of shared decision-making in a child's care, increase the number of completed healthcare transition readiness assessments, and increase the number of primary care providers (PCP) who report communication, collaboration, and co-management with specialty providers. Amy Tennant, MS, APRN, CPNP, has taken a leadership role in CONNECT for CYE program development to ensure the program goals are met.

CONNECT for CYE concentrates on serving medically underserved areas and populations, and over time has expanded to improving access for any child who needs an expedited seizure care appointment. “According to the CDC, about 1.2% of the U.S. population has active epilepsy. That’s roughly 3.4 million people with epilepsy nationwide,” said Tennant. “When looking to improve care for CYE in Illinois, our focus was clear: offer better access to specialists, made easily available, and improve children’s quality of life while minimizing the impact of their illness on families.” CONNECT for CYE partners with community PCP offices and federally qualified health centers to streamline referrals and achieve its goals.


Patients received BRT rounding support in first 18 months of program

Individualized, safe care for patients with challenging behaviors

Morgan Retzer, Milieu Therapist, Jim Maurer, BSN, RN, CPN, Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinator, Ryan Anselmo, BSN, RN

Lurie Children’s has seen a more than 10% increase in admissions for patients needing mental or behavioral health services since the pandemic began, with higher levels of acuity than in the past. To respond to patient needs, nurses led two initiatives to offer individualized, compassionate care in a safe environment. In an effort to prioritize safety for everyone involved as well as provide high-quality care for aggressive patient situations, the Behavioral Response Team (BRT) was established. Led by Jim Maurer, BSN, RN, CPN, Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinator, a Lurie Children’s nurse with nearly two decades of experience, the Behavioral Response Team at Lurie Children’s is a group of staff specially trained in behavioral de-escalation. The BRT has a critical role in communication, collaboration, and education across the hospital. “We help support bedside staff in caring for patients who present with challenging behaviors in the healthcare setting. We utilize a team-based approach to help staff mitigate behavioral emergencies, with a focus on minimizing staff and patient injuries and maximizing positive patient outcomes,” said Maurer.

To address the physical safety of patients and staff, Debrea Griffith, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Floor 21 Nursing Director, worked with Facilities staff to lead a review and redesign process focused on inpatient rooms tailored to patients with aggressive or suicidal behaviors. Based on the team’s tiered recommendations, five rooms underwent permanent infrastructure modifications, and 12 rooms were recommended for partial modifications so rooms remain in a ready-to-receive mode, reducing the need to prep and strip rooms before transferring patients from the ED to inpatient units. “The goal was to mitigate risk for staff and patients and reduce the time patients had to wait to be transferred,” said Griffith. “We achieved our goals, and now have rooms that are safer for this patient population.”