Patients & Families
Driscoll, H-E-B join to make grocery shopping therapeutic
November 09, 2011
Project will be the first of its kind in a children's hospital
CORPUS CHRISTI - The regular trip to the grocery store - a life's chore that is tedious for some adults and perhaps enjoyable for others - will in the near future be a part of Driscoll Children's Hospital's rehabilitation therapy program.
With some extra space to fill in Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department, staff members recently brainstormed on what to do with it. Their goal was to have a place for pretend-play. A member mentioned seeing an H-E-Buddy Market at the Children's Museum of Houston, which gives children the grocery shopping experience in miniature. The group realized the therapeutic possibilities the activity would offer to Driscoll patients.
"When you put it all together, the grocery store would help us create a series of events that are encountered in the real world," said Susan Fields, director of Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department. "Children learn best when they don't know they are working."
A meeting with representatives from H-E-B followed, and the company enthusiastically decided to donate $30,000 toward an H-E-Buddy Market at Driscoll. Tomorrow, officials from H-E-B will present a check to Driscoll officials for the project and display items from the H-E-Buddy Market. When completed, it will include small grocery carts and baskets, shelves of child-friendly food packages, plastic produce, a refrigerated food section, check-out stand, a touch-screen cash register and more.
H-E-Buddy Markets in children's museums such as those in Houston and Laredo are designed to engage children in activities that will help them learn and grow, said Shelley Parks, manager of Public Affairs for H-E-B.
"The museums offer children a chance to make decisions based on healthy eating, menus, what they can buy for the money they have to spend and how to count and make change. There are a lot of learning activities that go into the museums."
Fields said several rehabilitative therapies can be employed in the mini-market as well. With Driscoll's physical therapists, children can improve their standing and balancing ability by reaching and picking items from high and low shelves. Pushing a grocery cart can help those who need to work on walking. In a play kitchen next to the grocery store, they can choose where to store the food. Speech therapists can help children improve language skills by having them name, match, categorize or describe products. And with Driscoll's occupational therapists, children can work on problem solving by planning a meal, purchasing items, making change and generally improving their fine motor skills.
"All these goals can be addressed while playing in a first-class, pretend-play environment," Fields said. "We're taking something H-E-B has done very well and we're going to apply it to helping the children in the community that we both serve."
Parks said incorporating an H-E-Buddy Market into a children's hospital for rehabilitative purposes hasn't been done before.
"H-E-B is proud to be able to partner with Driscoll on this unique program. The idea that children will learn to improve their balance and dexterity by using grocery carts, pulling items off of shelves, ringing up items, etc....is a wonderful example of creative thinking that works."
When completed, the H-E-Buddy Market at Driscoll will be available to any child in the community who needs rehabilitation therapy. For more information, call Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department at (361) 694-5678.
- What: H-E-Buddy Market display and check presentation
- When: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services Department, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll patients trick-or-treat in the hospital during the Pumpkin Parade
October 28, 2011
WHAT: The 11th annual Pumpkin Parade is a chance for patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital to get dressed up in their Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating within the hospital. Driscoll employees will line the route with toys for the children as they parade by. Representatives from Stripes convenience stores and naval aviators from the Pilot for a Day program will also participate.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital, main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Patients to have Halloween celebration at Driscoll Children's Hospital
October 18, 2011
WHAT: Volunteers with Spirit Halloween's Spirit of Children program are bringing a Halloween celebration for patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital, including costumes, activities and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos and interviews.
WHEN: 1:30-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Reunion brings once-fragile babies back to see their caregivers
October 14, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Oftentimes, infants who are brought to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend several months in the hospital, day in and day out, so it's no surprise that strong bonds are formed with the physicians, nurses and other members of the healthcare team who not only care for a child, but offer support to a child's family as well.
Because of the relationship that forms between patient and caregiver, Driscoll Children's Hospital holds the NICU Reunion each fall to give patients and families a chance to reconnect with their healthcare team and to celebrate the lives of those babies who have grown to be healthy children.
Trish Carr, assistant vice president of Patient Care Services says, "The reunion is a great way for our staff to keep in contact with the patients they care for. They are always so excited to see the progress the children have made. It's a great thing, being able to watch [our patients] grow up."
During the fall festival-themed celebration, staff who have cared for Driscoll patients over the years will be on hand to meet with the more than 200 families who are eager to share stories of what their children have been doing since their stay at Driscoll - some possibly many years ago. In addition to dressing up in their Halloween costumes, patients will enjoy games, prizes, pizza and other goodies at the annual event.
Driscoll Children's Hospital's level III NICU cares for newborns and infants for a variety of reasons, including prematurity (carried less than 37 weeks), respiratory distress, infections, birth defects and other illnesses. Staffed by neonatologists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the 41-bed NICU has cared for more than 20,000 premature and critical infants in South Texas, offering the highest level of care in 31 counties.
- What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual NICU Reunion
- When: 2 - 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services parking lot, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Support group offers help for grieving children, their parents
October 04, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - When a loved one dies, adults and children both grieve. However, children grieve differently than adults, according to Nora Besinaiz, child life specialist at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Recognizing that there are few programs in the community to help children through the grieving process, Driscoll Children's Hospital has developed the Lean on Me program.
"Children need a special place where they can go," Besinaiz said. "They need to be around other children experiencing the loss of a loved one. This helps them learn that they're not the only ones grieving. They don't have to grieve alone and wonder about their feelings."
Lean on Me is a structured, six-week program for children ages 6 years and older that begins on Oct. 6. It includes bereavement curriculum specially designed for children, and each session builds on the previous one. With the guidance of Driscoll's chaplains and child life specialists, children will be encouraged during meetings to express their feelings by discussion or through art or writing.
Parents and caregivers are also included in the Lean on Me program because the death of a loved one affects the whole family, Besinaiz said. Adults will meet for bereavement sessions with Driscoll's social workers and chaplains while the children's group meets.
"Our goal is to give the family tools and ways to help them talk to each other and support each other when they're not with us in the one-hour sessions," Besinaiz said.
Besinaiz said the fall session of Lean on Me was planned before the holidays because for many families it may be the first holiday season without their loved one, and holidays typically are the toughest times for those who are grieving.
There is no charge to participate in the Lean on Me program. Driscoll only asks that families - children and their parents or caregivers - commit to attend the six-week program. Babysitting will not be available during the program.
- What: Lean on Me program for children ages 6 years and older and their parents or caregivers
- When: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 6 through Nov. 10
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, fifth floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.
- Information/registration: Nora Besinaiz, (361) 694-5763
National Weather Service Employees to deliver gifts to cancer patient
September 27, 2011
WHAT: Employees at the National Weather Service's Corpus Christi and Brownsville offices will present gifts they collected to a Driscoll cancer patient whose story they read on Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org). Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, had to have his lower left leg amputated last March due to osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. He now receives care at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway
Car seat inspection event will be hosted by Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, community partners
September 23, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 3-14 years old. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that roughly three out of four child safety seats are not used correctly. Many parents are unaware that their child's car seat is not properly installed or realize their child is not fitted correctly into their car seat.
Through a partnership with the All Star Mitsubishi dealership, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program and community partners urge parents and caregivers to have their children's car seat checked on National Seat Check Day, Saturday, Sept. 24. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to inspect car seats and provide hands-on advice. They will also focus on reminding the community to "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car." Forty-nine children died from heat stroke while unattended in cars in 2010 - the worst year on record. Texas led all states with 13 deaths.
"We want to remind the community to make sure kids are buckled up in an appropriate child safety seat every time," said Maricruz Cantu, injury prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "We need to give kids the best opportunity of surviving a crash and avoiding serious injuries. We also want to make sure kids are not left alone in vehicles not even for a minute and to make it a habit to always check the back seat."
The current Texas law on child passenger safety requires all kids younger than 8 years old - unless they're taller than 4 feet 9 inches - be properly restrained in a child safety seat.
Updated recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type as they grow. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit their local inspection station to ensure their children's car seats are used properly:
- Birth - 12 months
For the best possible protection, any child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing parents to keep their child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
- 1 - 3 years
The child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- 4 - 7 years
Keep the child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
- 8 - 12 years
Keep the child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seatbelt properly. For a seatbelt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
Parents and guardians should remember:
- Select a car seat based on the child's age and size, choose a seat that fits in the vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to the specific car seat manufacturer's instructions; read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
- To maximize safety, keep the child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
- Keep the child in the back seat at least through age 12.
- What: Children's car seat checks
- When: 10 - 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24
- Where: All Star Mitsubishi, 2440 S. Padre Island Dr.
2nd annual Hair Cutting Event a clear-cut success
September 20, 2011
The second annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Hair Cutting Event at Driscoll Children's Hospital Sept. 19 was a huge success. About 400 people came through the doors of the hospital's auditorium, some to have their hair cut and some to support friends and family members who were having their hair cut. More than 100 ponytails were clipped by the end of the event, all of which will be used to make wigs for young cancer patients who've lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Some Driscoll cancer patients even assisted the hair stylists as they cut hair.
People watch with anticipation as the first ponytail is clipped from a generous donor at the Childhood Cancer Awareness Hair Cutting Event on Sept. 19.
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame was on hand to read a proclamation in observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Other speakers included Steve Woerner, Driscoll's president and CEO, and Clay Powell from ExxonMobil, whose generous donation helped make the event possible. Free food was provided by Freebirds World Burrito, and music was provided by DJ Dexter Miranda. The Coastal Bend Blood Center had a bloodmobile on site and received 33 units of donated blood. And of course nothing would have been possible without the hair stylists who gladly donated their time to cut hair for this wonderful cause. Based on the community's response, organizers at Driscoll are already looking forward to next year's event.
Driscoll patients to unveil annual holiday cards, gifts they designed
September 20, 2011
Proceeds from sales will go toward scholarships for cancer patients
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll's annual Hollywood-style Celebrity Celebration will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21 to mark the release of the hospital's 2011 holiday card collection, Christmas storybook and holiday gifts. Celebrities at the event are past and present patients who created designs for the items. The media is invited for interviews and photos.
"This is one of the largest annual events we have and the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital is proud to put it on," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services. "We look forward to rolling out the red carpet and putting the spotlight on our little 'stars.'"
For this annual tradition, Driscoll patients from throughout South Texas drew pictures for seven unique holiday cards and a Christmas storybook. They also created designs for a holiday apron, silver angel charm, kitchen towel, t-shirt and two Christmas tree ornaments. A group of community members selected the artwork for the items. Proceeds from their sales will go toward the Marcia K. Wilcox scholarship, which has benefited more than 90 Driscoll cancer patients since its inception.
This year's holiday card artists are:
- Jonathan Arebelo, 5, of Corpus Christi
- Ulisses Cavazos, 8, of Edinburg
- Aidan Flores, 7, of Aransas Pass
- Lily Smith, 8, of Corpus Christi
- Natalie Smith, 10, of Corpus Christi
- Brittney Soliz, 19, of San Diego, Texas
- Cassandra Zepeda, 10, of Corpus Christi
Storybook artists are:
- Brittney Fricks, 11, of Bayside
- Jazel Guzman, 10, of Pharr
- Emily Haefs, 14, of Corpus Christi
- Rickey Jordan, Jr., 15, of Corpus Christi
- Asa Glenn Matis, 13, of Corpus Christi
- Jaclyn Ramirez, 9, of Portland
- Deyanira Reyes, 14, of Brownsville
- Lillian Ruiz, 12, of Hebbronville
- Brittney Soliz, 19, of San Diego, Texas
- Cassandra Zepeda, 10, of Corpus Christi
After the patient-artists enter Driscoll's auditorium on a red carpet amid camera flashes and applause, their artwork will be unveiled for everyone to see. Then they'll autograph their work for family, friends and fans. Following the celebration, the children will be treated to a limo ride to Gattitown for some food and fun.
The holiday cards, Christmas storybook and other items can be purchased through Driscoll's web site, www.driscollchildrens.org, and at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop. For more information, call (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE.
- What: Driscoll Children's Hospital Celebrity Celebration
- When: 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
- Information: (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE
Community invited to get a haircut to benefit cancer patients
September 19, 2011
WHAT: In observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Driscoll Children's Hospital is holding its second annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Hair Cutting event. The community is invited to come and have their hair clipped by local stylists so it can be donated and made into wigs for cancer patients who've lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Food, music and commemorative t-shirts will be featured, and a bloodmobile from the Coastal Bend Blood Center will be on site.
WHEN: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.