News

A Time to Sing: The Healing Arts Program

 

Music heals the soul. As a Certified Music Practitioner for over nine years, Lisa Bassett uses music– the physics of sounds, rhythm and resonance, combined with tone and melody, to create a healing space for patients at Swedish Covenant Hospital.  As a component of Swedish Covenant’s Healing Arts Program, patients receive this service at no cost, thanks to generous donations to Swedish Covenant Health.

When Lisa enters a patient’s room, she listens, observes and then responds to the patient’s needs in the moment with a melody that may calm, relax or uplift. With a repertoire of several hundred songs that range in musical genre and language, Lisa connects to patients of different backgrounds and cultures by singing melodies that provide comfort at a stressful time.

Lisa has always loved to sing and was eager to blend her love of music and experience as a vocalist with her compassion to help others.  She received her certification as a Music Practitioner because it’s a unique type of training that uses musical techniques to complement medical science which fosters healing in patients and their families. She usually sings at the patient’s bedside and everyone present in the room—including family members and medical staff—respond to the music. As Lisa notes, “Patients, staff, and families are recognizing the healing benefits of therapeutic music. Music also stimulates the patients’ own innate capacities to heal.”

Patients and their families are changed by the interaction. A sampling of the responses include:

  • A nurse in ICU said of a patient after Lisa sang to him, “His oxygenation is better, his heart rate is down and his blood pressure is lower.”
  • A husband sang along to a gospel song while nurses changed a tube for his wife. He wept and took Lisa’s hand.  “Bless you.”  His wife had fallen asleep.
  • Lisa began singing to a patient in Spanish. Within moments, the patient began singing and then staff, passing by, entered the room and began singing along. Hearing laughter from the room, a nurse at the Nurses’ Station exclaimed, “It’s a party!”’
  •  Lisa sang show tunes with a woman having trouble walking down the hall. The patient stopped, sang a few songs with Lisa and then exclaimed, “It’s so good—it gives you energy!”

Music, so simple yet so beneficial to the soul. Lisa’s music is providing comfort and healing to patients and their families. This innovative program, an integral component of our Healing Arts Program, is made possible by SCH Foundation and our generous donors.  Your support helps change lives.  For more information about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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The Plate Method: Changing the Way SCH Feeds Diabetic Patients

 

Swedish Covenant Health staff using the Plate Method to make a difference: Left: Roxane Finegan BSN, RN-BC, CDE, DWC, Middle: Muna Siddiqi MBA, MS, RD, CDE, Right: Debbie Davis MS, RN, CDE

Diabetic patients at Swedish Covenant Hospital will soon have an easier way of staying healthy in the hospital thanks to the collaborative vision of SCH’s Certified Diabetic Educators (CDEs) and the kitchen and inpatient Dieticians. Thanks to funding from SCH Foundation, diabetic patients within the hospital will now participate in the innovative Plate Method at every meal.  The Plate Method makes use of a divided plate, whose segments correspond to the precise portions of starch, protein and vegetables that should be consumed to ensure a healthy diet.  A portion-control plate is an important tool in the management of diabetes, because mismanaged blood sugar and complications from the disease are among the leading causes of death and morbidity.

Currently, diabetic patients often complain to CDEs and nurses that they are confused by the carbohydrate counting system used in the hospital. Some are worried about elevated blood sugars during hospitalization and are confused by their dietary offerings and serving size. In response to patients’ concerns, the CDEs requested funding by SCH Foundation to purchase specialized plates and placemats to use within the hospital to better train staff and control blood sugars in diabetic patients. While segmented plates have been used in the outpatient SCH Diabetes Clinic, this portion control method will now be used within the hospital context, and training will be provided across all care areas.

CDEs will partner with inpatient dietitians and the hospital’s food services department to feed hospitalized diabetics, using segmented porcelain plates, colorful disposable placemats, and a revised diabetic menu. These new strategies will educate patients on portion control and healthy diabetic eating, as well as provide them more effective blood sugar control which will result in the decrease need for corrected doses of insulin.

SCH nurses and CDEs are thrilled to be able to provide the Plate Method to our diabetic patients.  According to Sarah Stadler, Director of Nursing, “Carbohydrate counting can be challenging for the diabetic patient and portion control remains an issue for some, the Plate Method will not only educate patients, but will prompt them to change their eating habits and lifestyle once they leave the hospital”. This innovative program is made possible by generous donations to SCH Foundation. For more information about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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Housing Connections Program

 

DONATE HERE

Being homeless has a significant negative impact on a person’s health. This unique program has shown that it can help put people on a path to better health by providing housing along with ongoing support,” said Anthony Guaccio, President and CEO of Swedish Covenant Health.

Swedish Covenant Hospital and the Center for Housing and Health (CHH) have been working together since 2017 to improve the lives of 10 chronically homeless individuals who are frequent patients in the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). CHH pays for the housing with a federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while funds from the SCH Foundation provide intensive, medical and counseling support services.

To support the Housing Connections Program, DONATE HERE.

Ten participants were selected in consultation with the Hospital’s Emergency Department staff and ER Clinical Director, Kimberly Leslie. Each month, Ms. Leslie examined a list of the top 50 frequents users of the ER and then went to work contacting each one, gaining their trust and trying to persuade them to join the program.  The work was tedious and time-consuming, but in the end, ten participants were finally selected and provided with:

  • Permanent housing
  • Monthly rental subsidy payments
  • Assistance in securing critical documents (birth certificates, ID, Social Security cards)
  • Education on tenancy skills such as budgeting and paying rent
  • Enrollment in public benefit programs including Medicaid
  • Referrals for medical services, behavioral health, job training, MCO insurance care coordination

Over the last two years, the Housing Connections program has proven to be life-changing for the participants and has helped the hospital save thousands of dollars by reducing expensive ER visits.  “We have seen a drastic drop in ER visits once these patients are provided with a stable home, counseling services and hope” said Kimberly Leslie, Clinical Director of the Swedish Covenant Hospital Emergency Department. “We are pleased that our initial participants in the program are starting on a path to improved health and safety”.

Bruce, for example, was a professional writer who after being hit by a car while biking, made a downward spiral, living in a shelter and then ultimately, under a viaduct. He made six visits to our ED over a three-month period and couldn’t function due to extreme depression. His life had hit rock bottom. With the help of SCH and the Housing Program, he is now living in an apartment, gets counseling and other social services and is currently enrolled as a student at Wright Jr. College. Bruce is feeling wonderful; he has a regained sense of pride, and more importantly, a sense of purpose.  He has only been back to the ED once since he moved into his apartment- and that was to say hello to Kimberly Leslie, the woman who gave him a chance.

Swedish Covenant Hospital’s commitment to the community is unique and our patient care extends far beyond the walls of the hospital. As Ms. Leslie points out, “We not only take care of their wounds and their illness, we can take care of the whole person.”

This program is made possible by the support of the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation Board and generous donations to the SCH Foundation. To support the Housing Connections program, please DONATE HERE, or contact the Foundation at Foundation@SwedishCovenant.org or 773-293-5121 for more information.

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