Respecting culture at a traumatic time

Respecting culture at a traumatic time

Resiliency is one of the markings of a health care hero, and the Oak Lawn pediatric intensive care unit team recently showed they have the makings of warriors after providing compassionate and culturally sensitive care to one family for the entirety of their nearly two-month stay.

Recently, a child came to Advocate Children’s Hospital after a traumatic injury. Due to the family’s religious and cultural beliefs, the care provided had to be adjusted for the patient. Ultimately, the medical team worked closely with the parents and the parents’ religious leaders to develop a plan of de-escalation that was consistent with their religious beliefs. Engaging this family’s religious identity was crucial in providing them support during this difficult time and in creating a plan of care for their child that was respectful of their beliefs.

There were a number of holidays important to the family during the more than seven weeks in the PICU before the child passed away peacefully in the hospital. The PICU team worked hard to be as accommodating as possible so the family could engage in religious and cultural practices that were important to them during a very difficult time.

Rev. Eliza Stoddard Leatherberry, Pediatric Staff Chaplain, was a primary connection from the child’s care team and the family. She said she was extremely proud of the way the PICU team was open to considering the family’s religious beliefs and maintaining compassion as they adjusted the care provided in this situation.

“At some point, there can be the experience of exhaustion in a long-term care situation like this, but the team did such an excellent job keeping compassion at the center of their care, “ Leatherberry said.

Jen Tavares-Kitchen, Manager of Clinical Operations for the PICU, said there were moments when some of the staff struggled, but all pushed through and sought support when needed.

“For those 7.5 weeks, this team came in and gave their whole hearts on 12 hours shifts to this patient – only to come back and do it again the next day,” Tavares-Kitchen said. “I’m honored to be their leader. Despite knowing what the outcome might have been, they embraced the family and went above and beyond to provide excellent care.”

Nurses Nicole Papiernik, Jessica Liskovec, Janelle Blazek, Beth Wilson, Patrycja Wegiel, Cindy Kruse and Hannah Rosenthal, as well as Dr. Luis Torero and Respiratory Therapists also were involved in this child’s excellent care

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About the Author

Bridget Kozlowski
Bridget Kozlowski

Bridget Kozlowski, health enews contributor, is a public affairs manager with Advocate Aurora Health. She holds a masters degree in Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Missouri. Bridget previously worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and has also lead local government communications teams for both the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan and the Village of Lombard, Ill. Bridget loves trying new restaurants, traveling and spending as much time as possible with her son, husband and rescue mutt.