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Patients grateful for new lymphedema clinic

 

Sandra Simmons had been living with excess fluid in her legs for years. The swelling caused issues with mobility – she had difficulty navigating the four steps to leave home or even putting on socks and shoes. It also led to frequent hospitalizations where she was given diuretics intravenously to reduce the swelling. It wasn’t until last year that she officially received the diagnosis of lymphedema. Sandra was recently referred to the newly created Lymphedema Clinic at Swedish Covenant Hospital to receive the care she needs to reduce the excess fluids and improve her quality of life.

According to the National Lymphedema Network, lymphedema is an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin. This swelling, or edema, occurs most commonly in the arm or leg, but it also may occur in other parts of the body. The swelling associated with the condition affects the patient’s quality of life, making it difficult or impossible to drive, walk or even find properly fitting clothes.

The Lymphedema Clinic at Swedish Covenant Hospital began serving patients like Sandra in July 2017. In the two months since the program started, the clinic has treated 11 patients. Patients are seen two to four times per week. According to Juanita Robinson, staff nurse and Certified Lymphedema Therapist, while there is no cure for lymphedema, treatment can better manage the condition and help patients lead more productive lives.

“What I like is that patients have renewed hope,” Juanita said. “Patients say that they’ve never felt so good.”

The clinic is unique in that it fills a gap in service for patients with lymphedema. Prior to the opening of the specialized clinic, many patients would not have been able to receive treatment because insurance companies often refuse coverage if the patient does not have a lymphedema-related wound.

The clinic is made possible through the generosity of donations to Swedish Covenant Hospital. Funds supported training for the lymphedema therapist, Juanita, and patient treatment including manual lymphatic drainage, garments and pumps for patients, when needed.

In just two months, Juanita and Christina Wagener, Wound Care Center manager, have observed significant improvements in patients. Since the program has started, they have seen a patient’s calf circumference go down as much as 12 cm. It typically takes one month of treatment for improvements to be seen with the combination of massage, compression garments and a pump.

“Before and after each appointment, the nurse measures my legs and I’m always surprised at how much of a difference there is from the beginning of the program,” Sandra said.

To learn more about supporting programs like the Lymphedema Clinic at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at foundation@swedishcovenant.org or 773-293-5121.

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Edgebrook Women’s Club partners to care for SCH babies

 

Babies exposed to drugs in utero require special care, especially in their first few weeks of life. Among their many needs, these babies require constant motion. To provide this extra care, nurses and other staff in the Swedish Covenant Hospital Family Birthing Center often needed to take turns holding and comforting the babies. Thanks to a generous donation by the Edgebrook Women’s Club, Swedish Covenant Hospital was able to purchase a rockaRoo infant seat that provides a gliding motion to help soothe babies.

Edgebrook Women’s Club is a neighborhood advocacy, social, and philanthropic organization whose philanthropic mission is to care for women and children in the community. The 120 members ranging in age from 27 to 93 contribute financially, as well as time and talent to support a number of philanthropic initiatives in the community.

In addition to the rockaRoo, members of Edgebrook Women’s Club have contributed hand knit items, including hats, booties and other items through their “Soft Touch” campaign. This campaign was designed to help meet the needs of newborns, women and families who are patients of Swedish Covenant Hospitals’ Family Birthing Center and nursery. The campaign began in June 2016.

“We really appreciate what Edgebrook Women’s Club does for Swedish Covenant Hospital,” said Maria BaMaung, MBA, BSN, RN, director of nursing for the Family Birthing Center. “They have been so supportive of the needs of our patients.”

According to Maria, the nurses enjoy picking out a special item or two for the 2,200 babies born each year in the Family Birthing Center. Each baby is given a hand-knit item to take home with them. These items provide warmth, comfort and security to newborns adjusting to the world around them. In addition, they have collected receiving blankets to provide to the unit.

“We chose to partner with Swedish Covenant Hospital because we realize that it has a significant presence in our community,” said Judy Heyworth, president of Edgebrook Women’s Club. “Their building of the Mayora Rosenberg Women’s Health Center demonstrates that they align with our mission to care for women, children and families.”

To learn more about supporting the Family Birthing Center at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at foundation@swedishcovenant.org or 773-293-5121.

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Meet the 2017 Nursing Leadership Fellows

 

Swedish Covenant Hospital introduced a Nurse Leadership Fellows program in 2017 to provide an opportunity for nurses to strengthen and improve their leadership skills. The 9-12 month leadership program consists of a variety of experiential learning activities for nurses who aspire to achieve a higher level of leadership within Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Two nursing fellows were selected at the beginning of 2017 to participate in the program. Fellows benefit from coaching, an individual project, regular meetings with nursing leadership, development of presentations skills, and additional education opportunities by attending the national Nursing Magnet Conference.

The 2017 Nursing Fellows are Eva Peroulas, manager, family birthing and women’s health and Angela Alpasan, staff nurse on AP5. Read on to learn more about our 2017 Fellows.

What do you hope to gain/achieve from the program?

Eva: I would like to participate in data collection and research study that will help increase quality women safety initiatives.

Angela: I am hoping to expand my knowledge about leadership skills and learn about the organization’s functions. I want to learn more about evidence-based research and learn how to apply it on my unit. I hope to gain confidence as a leader and to become a change agent in my unit.

What has been your experience so far?

Eva: I have been working at Swedish Covenant Hospital for the last 17 years. I started off as a staff nurse and charge nurse in the Family Birthing Center. I became the system analyst for our documentation system and then the clinical educator. Currently I am the manager of the Family Birthing Center and recently became the manager of the Women’s Health Center. Throughout my career Swedish Covenant Hospital has supported my decisions to return to school through the tuition reimbursement program and the flexibility with my schedule, nursing scholarships and now the fellowship program. I am blessed to work in such a nurturing organization.

Angela: I attended a 4-week course called “Crucial Conversations “. I really enjoyed this class as it taught me techniques when having conversation or confrontation. I am also working on my project on decreasing preventable interruption during medication administration. I have started to do some literature review on the topic. My supervisor Ruth Orozco also teaches me about financial budget for our unit and for the hospital.

How will this impact your career?

Eva: I am hoping to strengthen my leadership skills and facilitate my professional growth by working with organizational leaders with different backgrounds and different leadership styles.

Angela: This program will enhance my leadership skills as a charge nurse. I feel that this program will help me better understand what I will do in the future for my nursing career.

To learn more about supporting nursing education at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here contact the Foundation at foundation@swedishcovenant.org or 773-293-5121.

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