Children’s & Women’s Hospital seeks current and former patients for Teen Advisory Council
The council will be open to current and former patients and their siblings who range in age from 14 to 19 years old. To be eligible, a patient would have been hospitalized during the past four years, beginning in August, 2016.
By Casandra Andrews
Being hospitalized as a child or teenager can be a daunting experience. That’s one reason USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital is seeking current and former patients and their siblings to apply for a new Teen Advisory Council being developed at the hospital in Midtown Mobile.
“We continuously seek new ways to improve the hospital experience for our patients and their families,” said Chris Jett, administrator at Children’s & Women’s Hospital. “With the creation of a teen advisory council, we want to give teenage patients and their siblings a more direct voice in how we can enhance the quality of programs and practices that impact them during hospital stays.”
The council will be open to current and former patients and their siblings who range in age from 14 to 19 years old. To be eligible, a patient would have been hospitalized during the past four years, beginning in August, 2016. An application is required to be considered for the council. To apply, visit www.usahealthsystem.com/teen-advisory-council.
Before the COVID-19 global pandemic placed restrictions on hospital visitors across the state, siblings of young patients often spent long hours at the hospital, so they also have an idea of how the experience can be changed and updated to best meet the needs of teenage patients.
Similar programs in other hospitals have led to improvements for teenage patients, said Brandi Purvis, community outreach coordinator at Children’s & Women’s Hospital, who will facilitate the council.
“Creating a distinct forum for current and former teen patients is vital to receive honest feedback about programming, policies and the overall care of the teen population at our hospital,” Purvis said. “Once feedback is received, we will ensure hospital leaders are informed of the council’s work.”
Besides seeking input from former patients, another goal of the Teen Advisory Council is to encourage its members to gain leadership and public speaking skills as well as developing experience in giving presentations. Those who are selected for the council, Purvis said, must commit to attending meetings, have parental consent and provide official immunization records.
Children’s & Women’s Hospital has a long history of incorporating innovative programs and highly-trained staff members to create and maintain a welcoming environment for pediatric patients. The Mapp Family and Child Life Program aims to normalize the hospital experience for children and teens. The program uses child life specialists, recreational therapists and teachers who specialize in education, preparation and support activities. Trained volunteers also are utilized throughout the hospital, including to rock babies in the level III neonatal intensive care unit. Guidelines require that participants spend a year volunteering in other hospital departments before they can qualify to help with the hospital’s tiniest patients.
USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital holds the distinction of being part of the only academic medical center in the region. The highly-trained specialists who work with pediatric patients have the unique ability to create new knowledge, translate that into new medical care and then educate the next generation of care providers on these advanced medical practices. Patients benefit from team approach because as medical educators, USA Health physicians and advanced providers stay up-to-date on treatment options and therapies that translate into better care.