Chicago, in the heart of the U.S., has shown just how big a heart can be. With collaboration and connection in mind, the top children’s hospitals in the area are working together to make Chicago a ChildKind city.
What is a ChildKind city? The idea started with Renee Manworren, PhD, RN, Director of Nursing Research and Professional Practice at Lurie Children’s Hospital. She was inspired to not only have her institution achieve certification, she saw that it could benefit so many people – clinicians and patients alike – if a group of the children’s hospitals in the Chicago area worked towards ChildKind certification. To date, the certified hospitals in the Chicago area include: Lurie Children’s Hospital, Advocate Children’s Hospital, and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
Since 2017, leaders in pain management from collaborating hospitals in the Chicago area have met on a monthly phone call to discuss ideas about pediatric pain care. The group formed with two stated goals in mind: 1) transcend institutional barriers to make healthcare in the Chicago area sensitive to children’s pain, and 2) achieve Childkind Certification for all hospitals caring for children in the Chicago area. To work towards these goals the meetings focus on sharing best practices, processes, & resources as well as collaboration on educational, research, and funding opportunities.
A representative from ChildKind is also on the monthly call. This provides an opportunity for the hospitals to hear updates on what is happening at ChildKind. It is also a time to offer guidance to the institutions who have not yet completed the ChildKind certification process; whether it’s a question on the application process or talking through a specific protocol with the other hospital representatives.
The list of hospitals represented in the group is impressive. Including Rush University Children’s Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital, and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, in addition to the certified hospitals noted above. And it’s expanded to include colleagues from Children’s Colorado and the University of Iowa.
In addition to the monthly call, hospitals have hosted events for representatives from the Chicago area for networking and continuing education. For example, in February Dr. Manworren spearheaded a Pharmacogenetics Science Salon. The event included special presentations from pharmacogenetics industry representatives along with guests from the field of pediatric pain management. The ChildKind Chicago group is also looking to put together awareness events on topics such as pain management for vaccines or speaking with local department of health representatives regarding issues surrounding children’s pain.
We are proud to know that ChildKind certification is a goal that these institutions are working towards together. They have taken it upon themselves to collaborate, to benefit from their collective set of knowledge and experiences. And in the end it’s the children that matter: making children’s comfort the cornerstone of compassionate medical care.