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CornerStone Vol. 24, No. 2 Fall 2014
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Front page...

First-Rate Pulmonary Rehab Program Helps 9/11 First Responder Get His Life Back
NYU Winthrop Elects Two New Members to its Board of Directors
NYU Winthrop Opens Urgent Care Center
U.S. News & World Report Names NYU Winthrop Among the Best in the New York Metro Area
At NYU Winthrop, No Man is an Island
Spotlight on Community Gifts Campaign
Hospital Participates in Major International Trial
Generous Grant Supports Alzheimer's Research at NYU Winthrop
NYU Winthrop Opens New Center for Adult Congenital Heart Disease
New Treatment Improves the Lives of Patients With MR
Swimming with Purpose: Annual Event Raises Pivotal Support for Child Life Program
A Cause to Celebrate Raises More Than $147,000 for Child Life Program
A Celebration of Life: NYU Winthrop's 16th Annual Cancer Survivor's Day
Unique Partnership Supports Families Facing Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders
29th Annual Golf Tournament Raises $649,000+ for NYU Winthrop Research and Academic Center
Eighth Annual Black & White Ball Raises Nearly $270,000 for NYU Winthrop's CCFK
Eight and Forty Makes Donation to Department of Pediatrics
Richard A. Newhouse, Jr., Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Long Island Foundation's Generosity Changes Lives at NYU Winthrop's Hempstead Pediatric Clinic
Running for a Reason
National Awards Recognize Quality Breast Health Care
Once Again, NYU Winthrop Earns Designation as a NAEC Level 4 Epilepsy Center
New Patient Family Advisory Council
The STAR Program: Enhancing the Hospital Experience for Children With Special Needs
NYU Winthrop: A Pioneer in the Use of Technology to Enhance Patient Care and Safety
NYU Winthrop Debuts New Ambulances
Nurse Goes Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
NYU Winthrop Receives "Found Money"
Garden City Foundation Continues the Tradition of Making 'Miracles' for NYU Winthrop's CCFK
Twinkle Town Makes Colorful Donation to NYU Winthrop Kids
Milestone Golf Outing to Benefit the CCFK is a Record-Breaking Success
WiSH Clinic Opens
Surviving the Holidays
Hospital Celebrates Expansion With Dedication of New Specialty Center East
NYU Winthrop Unveils New "Welcome" Sign
NYU Winthrop Opens Manhattan's First and Only CyberKnife® Center
 

The STAR Program: Enhancing the Hospital Experience for Children With Special Needs

star program Lori Martin, STAR Program Pediatric Coordinator, and Fredric Daum, MD, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at NYU Winthrop, meet to discuss STAR.

When Tina Shek's son, Zen, needed stitches last October, Ms. Shek was more concerned about the hospital experience than the stitches themselves. Zen, five, is on the autism spectrum.

"This was my first experience going to the ER with him and I was dreading it," said Ms. Shek, a resident of Dix Hills and President of Building Blocks Developmental Preschool in Commack. "Anyone who has a child with special needs knows going into the hospital environment can be traumatic."

At first, her instincts were correct Zen had a hard time coping when he arrived at NYU Winthrop Hospital to receive care. But she was pleasantly surprised when a Child Life Specialist intervened and told her about the Hospital's STAR Program, which provides enhanced, coordinated care for children with special needs.

"I had no idea there was even a program like this in existence," said Ms. Shek. "I was so excited to learn something like this was in place."

star program Melanie Bucholtz, Certified Child Life Specialist, and Zen Shek play with an iPad, one of Zen's favorite toys.

The program addresses the unique emotional and developmental needs of children and their families throughout a Hospital visit, alleviating stress and providing tools to help get through the experience. NYU Winthrop is the only hospital on Long Island to offer patients and their families such a program.

STAR was started in 2010 by Fredric Daum, MD, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at NYU Winthrop. Dr. Daum is passionate about helping underserved populations, and recognized a need here at NYU Winthrop. "The number of families impacted by special needs is growing every day," said Dr. Daum. "NYU Winthrop recognized a need to support these individuals in their healthcare journeys, whether in an emergency or as part of their routine care."

Lori Martin, STAR Program Pediatric Coordinator, has worked hard to build the program since she took the reins in 2013, speaking to the community and using social media to spread word. Currently, the program has 134 patients enrolled, and continues to grow.

"STAR helps transition the patient into the healthcare environment," said Ms. Martin. "Through a comprehensive assessment, we learn about the patient's fears and stressors, likes and dislikes. That information helps us determine whattodoandwhatnottodoin the visit. For example, if we know taking their blood pressure makes a child anxious, we will do that last."

The program pairs the child and parent(s) with a Child Life team member. Child Life is specially trained in child behavior and development and the care of children with complex medical and behavioral issues. The Child Life Specialist can help the child overcome fear and anxiety; alleviate the long and short-term emotional effects of hospitalization; transform hospitalization from a potentially frightening experience into a positive one that promotes the child's growth and development; provide the family with emotional support as well as answers to questions, serving as a link between the hospital and home; improve the understanding of medical procedures through education and play; and provide the child with sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

"It has been amazing to see the impact the program has had on the families we work with," said Nicole Almeida, MS, CCLS, Director of the Child Life Program at NYU Winthrop. "The parents have raved about the ease of using the program and how it has truly enabled them to focus on what the doctor is saying, while knowing that their child is comfortable. The Child Life Program has worked hard to form a trust and bond with these families to make their hospital experience as positive as possible."

Ms. Shek said the Child Life Specialist she worked with "bent over backwards to make it a better experience."

"What I really appreciated is that they didn't dismiss me," said Ms. Shek. "It was nice to have someone who was listening during the whole process. They took the time to hear me and understand."

Once enrolled in the program, a parent or family member can call two or three days in advance for a scheduled appointment or procedure, or immediately prior to coming to the ER for an emergency situation.

"It's an amazing program," said Ms. Shek. "I feel a lot of relief that I can call ahead and let them know we're coming. This program helps to streamline the process."

"What's so unique about our program is that we make patients and their families feel like they are home," said Ms. Martin.

For more information about the STAR Program at NYU Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.