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Giving Community Helps Bothwell Foundation Provide Care, Technology

Megan Valente

Individual and business donations made to the Bothwell Foundation to establish funds and through special events are being put to good use in the hospital and outpatient clinics.

The nonprofit Bothwell Foundation raises money to help purchase equipment and technology and support community health care needs as well as provide scholarships for Bothwell employees and students studying health care careers.

To disburse funds each year, the foundation accepts requests from employees for equipment or projects in areas such as patient safety or comfort, clinical outcome improvements, community education, regulatory mandates, cost savings or community wellness.

Lauren Thiel-Payne, foundation executive director, said the organization awarded over $215,000 this year to clinics and departments for equipment and projects that ranged from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

“The foundation board knows there are a lot of needs and that the hospital’s operating budget has limits,” she said. “Capital purchases are prioritized, yet there’s always more need than dollars, which is where the foundation can help.”

Thiel-Payne works with hospital leadership to ensure requests fit the overall mission of the health center and either provide patient care, support the community or help staff increase their knowledge and skills.

Nurse training gets virtual boost

With more than 450 nurses working at Bothwell, members of the Clinical Education and Nursing Education departments focused their funding request on nurse learning. Kim Perez, Clinical Education director, and Laura Weisenburger, Nursing Education educator/recruiter, were approved to purchase a one-year license for a virtual reality (VR) program that simulates lifelike scenarios for training purposes.

“Our CEO Lori Wightman read an article about VR training and asked us to look into it,” Weisenburger said. “We ended up going with the Oculus system, which a lot of people may be familiar with from a gaming standpoint. Kim and I have personal headsets, so we were already familiar with how the technology worked. It’s the same just with scenarios made for health care.”

Trainees wear a headset and hand controllers and are dropped into 360-degree active learning environments. They can look, speak and move about in the scenario and interact with avatars and equipment. They can practice giving commands and reacting to situations they might not see very often or are too dangerous to practice in real life. At the end of each scenario, trainees receive a score and, if necessary, are coached on how to reach proficiency level.

Ashley Schroder took just two attempts to pass a scenario on malignant hyperthermia, which is a severe reaction to certain drugs used for anesthesia. Without prompt treatment, complications can be fatal. Schroder is a registered nurse in Bothwell’s Post-Anesthesia Care Unit and was impressed with her VR experience.

“It’s really high-tech and reminded me of a video game,” she said. “It puts the ‘sim’ in simulation but is pretty life-like. Malignant hyperthermia is rare, but it is serious, so this was a great opportunity to practice something we don’t see often so we can be prepared if it does happen. Overall, I was super impressed.”

Perez said VR training checks a lot of boxes when it comes to providing ongoing training for nursing staff and supporting their professional development.

“It’s interactive, which is more interesting and learner-centric than training that takes place on a computer or in a classroom with a static mannequin,” she said. “And it’s mobile; the equipment is simply a laptop, headset and controllers and can be carried to wherever nursing staff are, and sessions are anywhere from five to 30 minutes. I think it also shows staff we are invested in giving them state-of-the-art learning opportunities to provide the best care to patients.”

Both Weisenburger and Perez are veteran nurses and agreed the focus of health care has changed over their careers.

“Patients in the hospital these days are sicker and have more complex illnesses,” Weisenburger said. “That complexity increases the expectations for nurses, too. Whatever we can do to stay up with technology and support them with where they’re at in their nurse learning, we’re going to do it.”

New bassinet a ‘game changer’ for moms

Skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and dedicated nursing care are all parts of bonding and better home preparation for moms who deliver their babies at Bothwell. This is accomplished by rooming-in care, where the baby stays with mom in a postpartum room after delivery.

Women’s Health and Newborn Care Director Hollie Dubroc elected to request funds from the foundation to purchase a new baby bassinet to improve the rooming-in care experience.

“The time has come to replace the current bassinets,” Dubroc said. “We are very excited about the new bassinet model, which is specifically designed with flexibility to keep newborns closer to mom.”

Dubroc requested to purchase one HALO BassiNest, which is the only hospital bassinet designed to safely keep baby closer to mom more than ever before. The 360-degree swivel motion is ideal for all mothers but especially those recovering from a C-section or those with physical disabilities. The bassinet can swing over the hospital bed, which makes it easier to see and tend the baby while in bed, reducing the likelihood of accidental falls or drops.

“The more the bassinet moves, the less a mom has to,” Dubroc said. “It really promotes mother-centered and safe rooming-in care and allows moms the most and best access to baby throughout their stay with us.”

The bassinet has already arrived and Dubroc hopes to order four more at a cost of about $3,600 each if donors are identified. A community member who wished to remain anonymous has already donated funds to purchase a bassinet in honor of a long-time Bothwell employee. Other people who would like to donate toward the purchase of the additional bassinets should contact the foundation.

Thiel-Payne said that since its inception in 2005, the foundation has given back over $4.5 million to the hospital and community that has come through both big and small community contributions.

“I think it’s important for people to realize that every dollar counts,” she said. “Some of these needs aren’t large amounts yet are really important to the daily functioning of a department or clinic and improves care and the patient experience, which is our goal every day.”

For more information about the Bothwell Foundation or to donate, visit brhc.org/foundation or contact the office at 660-829-8855.


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