Helping Our Friends

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York is celebrating “Christmas in July” by hosting a community-wide Wish List Donation Drive to help support our guest families.

Throughout July, community members are collecting items on the RMHCNY wish list, which includes nonperishable food and drinks, office and household supplies, and children’s toys. With more guest families staying at the RMH, there is a greater need for wish list items and day-to-day supplies.

 Example wish list items include: coffee, bottled water, granola bars, bagels, dry cereal, English muffins, butter, individual snack bags of chips, fresh fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, peanut butter, small and extra-large trash bags, all-purpose spray cleaner, liquid hand soap, paper plates and paper towels, stainless steel appliance cleaner, white copy paper (8½” x 11”), glue sticks, baby dolls, family movies (DVD and Blu-ray), family-related video games for Wii and Wii U, and more. Gift cards to BJ’s Wholesale Club, Wegmans, Wal-Mart, Price Chopper, Tops and Target are also appreciated. 

 All items must be new for the safety of children with compromised immune systems. To view the complete list of donation items, visit www.cnyronaldmcdonaldhouse.org.

 “Christmas in July” culminates with a donation drive for community members to drop off any donations they’ve collected on Thursday, July 31, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the CNY Ronald McDonald House at 1100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse. For alternative drop-off times or to learn more about our needs for perishable items and volunteer-cooked meals, please contact Lee Wilder at lwilder@rmhcny.org.

 The Central New York Ronald McDonald House has been a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children for more than 30 years. 

 When families with seriously ill children travel to Syracuse from counties throughout Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania to receive medical care at Golisano Children’s Hospital, other local hospitals and health care facilities, Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY offers an atmosphere where they can share experiences with other families and have the comforts of home at a very reasonable cost.

 Since opening the doors to the new, fully handicap-accessible house in 2012, Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY has been able to serve even more families in need and keep more families together during some of their toughest times. The larger house allows RMH to meet diverse needs and offer expanded services for new populations of guest families.

 

 

Posted in Peds to Parents | Comments Off

Celebrate Family Wellness Month

By Mary Ann Russo, MS, RD, CDN, Pediatric Nutritionist

Did you know May is Family Wellness Month?  It was created to help families overcome their biggest challenges to staying healthy and connected – our busy pace of life.  The goal is to provide an opportunity to reflect on family habits, lifestyles and find ways to improve mental and physical health.  May is almost over but the positive results from changes in habits and activities will continue into the summer and the rest of the year.

What can you do for Family Wellness Month?

Sometimes the biggest obstacle is where to start. Do you wish you had more time to spend together? Can you improve physical health by adopting healthier eating habits or participating in physical activity? No matter what your answers are to these questions, it’s never too late to make a change for the better. Here are some ideas for taking charge of Family Wellness Month.

Change your family’s eating habits: This doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul of the way your family eats. Make a few small changes that your family will be able to make a part of your routine.

  • Try new foods no one in your family has tried before.
  • Cook dinner together one night per week.
  • Slow down and eat dinner together at the table instead of on the run.
  • Cut out pop and soda and replace with water.
  • Be a good role model for your children. If they have to eat their veggies, so do you!
  • Go grocery shopping, visit a local farm market, and let the whole family help plan the meals.
  • Find healthy alternatives to a favorite recipe.
  • Start a garden.

Get your family active:

  • Pick an new family activity to do on the weekend go for a bike ride, a hike, play a game of tag, go for a walk after dinner or if the weather is bad play an active video game.
  • Explore a new park. An inexpensive and fun activity is trying to visit every park in your city or neighborhood. Create a memory book by taking pictures of each park.
  • Have the entire family work together on a project like cleaning the house or yard.
  • Park farther away when you go to the store. Have the kids count how many steps they take to get to the door.

 Plan some family time:

  • Game Night: Board and card games never go out of style. Even a simple card game will give the family a chance to spend some quality time together. It also is a great opportunity for everyone to work on math skills, critical thinking skills and other brain functions so we all stay sharp.
  • Family Project: A fun family project to do together is make a scrapbook of everything you did during the past school year and plan on doing in the summer. Let each family member be in charge of a few pages that highlight their favorite activities with family, friends or schoolmates over the last nine months.
  • Volunteer together: Spend a day helping others and connecting over a common purpose.
  • Visiting Family: It is Family Wellness Month after all, so make it a point this month to go visit grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins you don’t get around to seeing as often as you’d like. If family is too far to make a visit plan a Skype date with them!
Posted in Peds to Parents | Comments Off

Summer Teen Volunteer Program at Upstate University Hospital Downtown Campus

By Sphoorti Bahandre, Intern Volunteer Initiatives

2013 Teen Volunteers

Are you looking for a volunteer experience for your teen this summer? The journey of volunteers substantially changes the lives of everyone they meet along the way. It’s the unknown situations that reward them beyond imagination. For more than 12 years, Upstate University Hospital Downtown Campus has celebrated a tradition of involving volunteer teens in the healthcare environment. Upstate will be starting its successful Summer Teen Volunteer Program July 7, 2014. This year the program will feature two, three-week sessions July 7 to 25 and July 28 to August 15 at the Downtown Campus for 80 teen volunteers.

This experience will allow teens to broaden their perspective involving career possibilities. Volunteers will assist staff and adult patients in more than 20 inpatient and outpatient departments of Upstate, things such as escorting discharged patients to their cars and providing comfort care at bedside.

Volunteers will attend training sessions where they will learn about wheelchair guidelines, patient confidentiality, personal skills to enhance the Patient Experience, and customer service skills. Teen volunteers will be also involved in Upstate University Hospital Downtown Campus’s daily Monday to Friday environment. This program offers a unique and hands-on opportunity for teens to learn about adult healthcare.

Sandra Delaney, director of Payroll Services at Upstate said, “My daughter participated in the Teen Volunteer Program last summer at the age of 14.  She was able to experience a broad range of real life situations, instead of what she might imagine from a classroom or textbook…she gained a much better appreciation for all of the facets and faces of healthcare that support their healing process…this experience took her from a dreamy 14 year old to a more open minded and compassionate, focused young adult.”

Rhonda Butler, manager of Upstate’s Volunteer Initiatives said, “The teen volunteers have been a big part of our volunteer program every summer. I really enjoy watching them learn the hospital environment and to better understand how important it is to take care of others. I think their volunteer time not only makes an impact in patient satisfaction, but also in the lives of the teen volunteers themselves.”

Teen volunteers at Downtown Campus are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours within a single three week summer session – one eight hour session or two four hour sessions per week. Schools, including Fayetteville-Manlius, Christian Brothers Academy, Baldwinsville, Cicero-North Syracuse, West Genesee and 18 other area school districts are an important part of Upstate’s Teen Volunteer program. We thank them for their contribution in making our communities better and healthier.

Teens who wish to join Upstate’s Downtown campus volunteer program need to apply at http://www.upstate.edu/hospital/volunteers/teen. New teen volunteers have an application deadline of May 30. The deadline for returning teen volunteer applications is May 16.

Brief Bio: Sphoorti Bhandre is a Public Relations Graduate Student in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is interested in consumer, digital and healthcare Public Relations.  She served as an intern with Rhonda Butler, Director of Volunteer Initiative in the Spring Semester of 2014.

Posted in Peds to Parents | Comments Off

An Insider’s Guide to Surviving Your Child’s Hospital Stay

By Elizabeth Nelsen, MD, FAAP

young girl in hospital bed with teddy bear

As a pediatrician, I take care of children that sometimes need to go to the hospital. I’m often in a position to explain to them what will happen when they are there. As a parent, I recently experienced what it is like when my daughter was admitted to the hospital after surgery. While we were there, I recognized some points that may be helpful if your own child is admitted to the hospital.

  1. Be an advocate. You know your child better than anyone else. If you recognize that your child needs rest, it’s ok to say no to family members that want to visit. If your child is uncomfortable, ask the nurse and child life specialist what can be done to help (for example, pain medication or a toy or video to help with distraction).
  2. Keep things normal (as best you can). If you have a younger child who takes a regular nap or two at home, try to have them nap at their regular time. Also try to keep the bedtime routine as consistent as you can. You might not be able to do everything you would at home, but ensuring that your little one gets to bed around the same time they do at home will help create a sense of normalcy. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or toy, consider bringing that with you. If they have a favorite cup they drink from at home, bring that as well. It may help especially if your child is having some difficulty eating and drinking because things are unfamiliar or if they are recovering from something painful.
  3. Rest when you can. It’s hard to sleep in the hospital, even with the pull out chairs and love seats in the patient rooms. Plus, you are very focused on your child and how he or she is doing. It’s crucial that you eat, drink, and get your rest so that you can help to care for your child.
  4. Take notes. You will likely be tired and frazzled during your stay. This can affect your memory and concentration. Writing down questions you have for the nurses or doctors when you think of them will help you to remember what your concerns were when they come back to check on you and your son or daughter. You should also jot down their responses – again, just to help you keep track or if someone else asks you the same question about your child.
  5. Breathe. You’re in the best place possible for your child. Caring for a child that needs to stay in the hospital is not easy. The doctors, nurses, and staff at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital understand this and go above and beyond every day to provide excellent care for you and your child. Take a deep breath and know you’re in the best hands.

Brief bio: Elizabeth Nelsen, MD, FAAP, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. She is also an associate program director for the pediatric residency program.

Posted in Peds to Parents | Comments Off

To Tell or Not To Tell?

By Janice Nellis, MS, CCLS

child life specialist with young patient before surgerySo your child is having surgery.  As a parent you are feeling anxious and have multiple questions running through your head.  How successful will the surgery be?  Will my child make it through the surgery ok?  Will my child be able to do the things they could do before surgery?  How much pain will there be?  Will I be able to be with my child when they go to sleep?  Will I be able to stay at the hospital with my child?  How do I talk to my child about the surgery?  Do I tell them at all?

This is all normal!  It is important for parents to talk with their child’s caregivers prior to the day of surgery and have all their questions answered.  The better prepared you are as a parent, the less anxious you will feel about the whole experience.  The less anxious you feel as the parent, the less anxious your child will feel.

As far as answering the question “how do I talk to my child about the surgery or do I tell them at all,” you can contact a Child Life Specialist to help you with this.  A Child Life Specialist is trained to help prepare children of all ages for their surgery experience.  Honesty really is the best policy.  Although it may be difficult to tell your child that they need to go to the hospital and have surgery, if we don’t tell them what to expect we run the risk of losing their trust.  At Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, the Child Life Program offers a pre-admission program to pediatric patients and their families.

At a pre-admission preparation visit, you and your child will be provided with the information that will help you feel ready for the day of your child’s surgery.  You will be able to see where you will be going on the day of your surgery and meet some of the staff that may be taking care of you.  Children are given the opportunity to learn about the hospital/surgery experience through play involving the use of medical equipment as well as view a movie about having surgery.  This hands on learning helps them to gain control over their situation and learn techniques to cope with their surgery.  Your Child Life Specialist will walk you through the events of the day of surgery and give you a tour of the Children’s Hospital if your child will be staying in the hospital after surgery.

Research has shown that “most children prepared for medical procedures experience significantly lower levels of fear and anxiety as compared to children who are not prepared. Preparation also promotes long term coping and adjustment to future medical challenges.”  (Preparing Children and Adolescents For Medical Procedures, Child Life Council, 2007)

For further information about how to talk to your child about surgery or to schedule an appointment for a pre-admission visit, contact the Child Life Program at 315-464-7506.

Posted in Peds to Parents | Comments Off