After many rounds of phone tag I was able to talk to Nancy Williams on the phone yesterday. She is the Director of Patient and Guest Relations at Crouse, super warm and friendly lady. She told me all about the things they have been doing, including the new and some changes to the old.
Nancy explained that much of their focus has been on communication and support in the Women and Children's department, with our story at the foundation. In doing this they have brought together a Home Management Team of over 200 people. This group of people range from every area in the hospital from Home Services to Chemical Dependence. Upon starting this Team they brought this large group of people together and shared our story and how and why they wanted to implement changes. She stated that many of these people feel very connected to us and Ella through our story, a bittersweet thought.
They now have a Neonatal Educator in place to work directly with families who come to Crouse unexpectedly, hence they are usually very unsettled, stressed and vulnerable. This area is still in the works, but on this team they also have a Clinical Supervisor who's job is to reach the families' needs through working one on one with them and the care providers to make sure everyone is on the same page. They have also established a Focus Group for people to bring their unheard stories, both positive and negative, forward to the staff. She said that in this group they have found some of the problems overlapped with our story. Currently in the works is a Support Group for all the families who are there, to bring them together and talk about how their needs can be met through hospital support. Through these groups they hope to improve patient experiences, continue to support their families and enhance the services that already serve in meeting families' needs.
Another new application is binders. Crouse is encouraging and supplying families with binders for families to keep journals and logs with their experiences and questions. They also provide the families with information that pertains to their situation and they ask the families to write down any questions that come up at any time so they are not forgotten in the few short minutes they get during Dr.'s rounds. Unlike when we were there, they now allow and strongly encourage the family to be at the bedside during the Dr.'s rounds to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Naturally, while I was on the phone my children were wild and crazy, so Nancy knows how busy our lives are, but she encouraged me to take the time to come in and see for myself what the changes look like in action. She asked if Drew and I would be willing to come in and share more of our experiences with these committees and overhear/oversee anything that they are implementing. Nancy said she would leave that door open so that at any time we could take her up on that offer.
One of the last points she wanted to make was that some people go into Crouse with an expected outcome, some go in unexpectedly and wait and see how things go, and others like ourselves, go in with a plan. Unfortunately for us, no one listened to our plan and it should have been heard as we were the parents. Above all, they want their new mission to be focused on listening and communicating with the parents.
Over and over again she was looking for the right words to explain how much our experience has changed the way Crouse does things. She kept using the words "just seemed right" and "the timing seemed so perfect" and the letter had all "the right words." She must think we are motivational speakers or have a gift/desire to speak to a group of people whom we do not see eye to eye. Truth is, it is the farthest thing from a "gift" of mine, despite what Nancy and the team of Dr.s we met at Crouse believe. We can't take any credit, His ways are higher than ours and God is the mastermind behind all of the changes that have been so perfectly orchestrated over the last couple years. Like I said before, it's proof that God is working miracles everyday that we can call these people our "friends at Crouse." I look forward to seeing what else unfolds as the legacy of Ella lives on. Glory to God!