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A new program at Children's Hospital Colorado on Anschutz Medical Campus and South Campus is helping guide patients and families through the surgery process in a fun and informative way that minimizes stress and anxiety.
Using "procedure passports," team members from the surgical and procedure centers at both locations walk families through the surgery process in a step-by-step journey that encourages questions and allows parents to be fully informed about their child's care.
Planning for the passport program began in early 2014 after the Perioperative Services Patient-Family Experience team did an experience-mapping exercise that walked them through a typical surgical procedure from the point of view of patients and their families. The team looked at what Children's Colorado's patients and families feel and expect to happen during each step of the process. After doing this walkthrough, the team began designing a new experience meant to minimize unease, as well as set and manage expectations.
The result of this planning was the passport program, which was piloted at the surgical center on the Anschutz Medical Campus in July 2014. The program involves team members giving patients a procedure passport and walking their families through the surgical process.
Along the way, patients get stamps and stickers for their passport from various team members they meet. This introduces families to their child's care team and gives parents confidence that there are many people watching over their child. At the end of the procedure, the child keeps the passport as a memento, which also gives families a nice roadmap of the experience.
When a patient brings a completed passport to the waiting room after discharge at South Campus, they also get to choose a gift to take home. Gifts include things such as stuffed animals, coloring books and homemade blankets, all of which are donated by the Association of Volunteers. In addition, families can receive a 10 percent discount in the gift shop at South Campus for presenting the passport.
"The passport program has been a great tool to help patients and families understand what will happen during their stay and brings a little fun to the process," said Renato Lunnon, patient/family liaison at Children's Colorado South Campus. "The passport directs families' attention away from the fear and anxiety of surgery and focuses their attention on something fun and informative."
The program was an immediate success at the surgical center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, and after its six-month trial run there, it was also implemented at South Campus. Today, it is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of patients coming through the doors for a surgical procedure at both locations participate in the program.
"The younger patients all love the stamps and stickers, while the older patients and family members appreciate the information it provides," said Belinda Tessean, patient/family liaison at Children's Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Both of Lora's daughters had tonsillectomy surgery. Now she's sharing advice on everything from anesthesia to recovery with another family about to go through it.