March 2017

Zebra partners to care for victims of violence


When a patient comes to the emergency department as a result of human trafficking, domestic violence or sexual assault, he or she may not have personal care items needed, like toiletries and clothing, if the patient chooses to leave home and stay with friends or at a shelter.

In a recent lunch and learn presentation with more than 20 employees from Zebra Technologies, a corporate partner of Swedish Covenant Hospital, Kate Lawler, Director of the Violence Prevention Program at Swedish Covenant Hospital recalled one such instance.

According to Kate, a patient arrived in the emergency department after being injured by her partner. With Kate’s support, the patient decided to go straight from the hospital to the courthouse in order to pursue an order of protection against her abuser. However, she didn’t feel dressed appropriately to appear in front of a judge in the pajamas she wore to the emergency department.

To help patients in this situation, employees from Zebra Technologies partnered with Swedish Covenant Hospital by collecting and assembling comfort bags to give to survivors. The donated duffel bags contain sweatpants, sweatshirts, socks, underwear, toiletry kits, water bottles, notebooks and pens, and prepaid cellphones from the Verizon HopeLine program, which allow patients to communicate with family, friends, agency and shelter support staff and current or prospective employers.

“These care packages enable us to support survivors of abuse when they are most vulnerable,” said Anthony Guaccio, president and CEO of Swedish Covenant Hospital. We greatly appreciate this generous donation and the ongoing support of Zebra Technologies.”

The Violence Prevention Program was created to strengthen Swedish Covenant Hospital’s capacity to identify and respond to patients who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Since the program’s inception in 2015, more than 700 clinicians have been trained to recognize when a patient may be experiencing abuse and to respond in ways that increase safety, reduce isolation and connect survivors with ongoing support in the community.

“We very much appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the hospital to support the community,” said Randy Briley, vice president, North America Healthcare for Zebra Technologies. “Our team is committed to supporting those in need and it’s inspiring to see the passion they have to be involved and learn firsthand how these donated care packages will help support those in need when they need it most.”

To learn more about corporate partnership opportunities at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at 773-293-5121 or

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First CenteringPregnancy cohort gives birth


In 2016, Swedish Covenant Hospital’s midwifery practice introduced a new model for prenatal care – CenteringPregnancy. The program provides group care to expectant mothers. As the first cohort reached their due dates in December, 5 of the ten inaugural mothers found themselves on the labor and delivery unit at the same time, extending the community of support that is at the core of the model. The program was made possible through a grant from VNA Foundation.

“The CenteringPregnancy model has had a really impactful change physically and emotionally for patients,” said Lily Sarmiento, Centering clinical coordinator. “Expectant moms feel better informed and comment that through the group model, they are getting answers to questions that they hadn’t even thought to ask.”

CenteringPregnancy replaces one-on-one prenatal visits with group sessions to promote greater patient engagement, empowerment, and community-building. The Centering model empowers women by valuing the experience each woman brings to the group, while building knowledge through skill-building and education. Centering also supports the development of a social network of mothers who can support one another.

“Being able to go through the pregnancy experience with other women and have that social aspect, while also learning from each other, made a big difference,” Casey Clevenger said. Casey was a member of the second Centering cohort and recently gave birth to her son, James.

Each Centering cohort consists of 8-12 women with similar due dates, giving members a community of support from women at the same point in pregnancy. The group meets 10 times, beginning at 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. During meetings, each woman receives an individual exam. A group discussion is then facilitated on a range of topics, from nutrition and exercise, to childbirth preparation and parenting. Since June 2015, 53 women and their partners have participated in the program.

It was the group discussions that Casey found most valuable. In addition to presentations by the midwives who facilitated the group, speakers from various disciplines at Swedish Covenant Hospital provided information that she believed she wouldn’t have accessed through a traditional model. For example, a labor and delivery nurse presented different tools and props that can be used during childbirth.

In addition to educational opportunities, Lily observed how social connections have formed through groups, which has helped to lessen the isolation that many expectant mothers and new moms experience. Many group members have formed friendships that extend beyond group time, including the December cohort, who are already planning a swimming date for their newborns, and another mother who provided baby clothes from her previous child to a group member.

Results from the initial six months of the program show that the program has far-reaching health benefits including fewer pregnancy-related complications, more women staying within their recommended range for weight-gain during their pregnancy, and other indicators. Patients also report increased satisfaction with their prenatal care as a result of the model.

In addition to the CenteringPregnancy program through the Swedish Covenant Hospital, the midwives will be starting a Centering program in partnership with Infant Welfare Society.

“We are excited about the social connections and support that expectant mothers will have through the new Centering group at Infant Welfare Society,” said Rosemary Baldwin, nurse midwife at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

To learn more about supporting women’s health at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at or 773-293-5121.

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Vein illuminators ease blood draw process


downloadThe introduction of a new tool that eases blood draws and IV placement is a resounding success, according to Eileen Wright, clinical nurse educator at Swedish Covenant Hospital. Nine vein illuminators were deployed throughout inpatient units and the emergency department. The illuminators were made possible by generous donations to Swedish Covenant Hospital.

AccuVein Vein Illuminators are leading-edge devices that allow health care professionals to see a map of peripheral veins on the skin’s surface. The devices assist the nursing staff in reaching their goal of accessing a vein to draw blood or begin an IV infusion on the first attempt.

Staff members who have been trained to use the new devices have shared their positive feedback about the ease of use – especially with difficult sticks. From a new graduate nurse who credited the illuminator with helping to visualize a good vein after three unsuccessful IV starts, to a nurse who was able to start an IV on the first attempt on patient that would have been considered a difficult stick.

“We are continually working to improve the care provided to our patients,” Eileen said. “Our nurses are very pleased to be using a product that can influence their development of venipuncture skills while enhancing patient experience. There have already been many positive stories that illustrate significant patient satisfaction through the use of the AccuVein device.”

In addition to adults with difficult to draw veins, the illuminators provide a positive distraction for pediatric patients who are frightened of having blood collected.

Because of the success of the new devices, the Swedish Covenant Foundation recently granted funds for the purchase of additional devices to be used in the Foster and Galter Medical Pavilion outpatient labs.

To learn more about supporting patient care initiatives at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at or 773-293-5121.

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Center for Advanced Therapy receives update


An expanded nurse’s station, new infusion chairs, fresh paint and new artwork are among the many recent improvements to the Center for Advanced Therapy. The updates, unveiled in late 2016, were made possible through funds from generous donors to Swedish Covenant Hospital’s 2015 gala.

“The inspiration for the update came from the need for a more modern space to better care for our patients and improve the flow for our staff,” said Chuck Rosenberg, ‎director of nursing at Swedish Covenant Hospital. “We are grateful for the generosity of donors who made this possible.”

Prior to the update, the center had original finishings from  Galter Medical Pavilion’s construction in 1999 and wear-and-tear had taken its toll. In updating the center, a new central nurse’s station was created that allows more visibility for nurses, and brings the nurses closer to the action to better monitor patients receiving infusions.

New décor was brought into the patient exam rooms, including spa- and Chicago-themed rooms. In addition, patient artwork from the Healing Arts program, made by patients of the cancer center, decorate the walls.

Funds from the 2015 gala also support the cancer survivorship program, which provides a holistic approach to meeting the needs of survivors. Services within the program aim to reduce stress, enhance quality of life and mood, increase treatment adherence, and reduce the onset and severity of weight loss.

To learn more about supporting cancer care at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at or 773-293-5121.

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