Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Healing Journey

When Frank was discharged from a Southern California hospital, he was in need of intensive follow up care; he was also homeless.

For hundreds of Angelenos who are without a home, a hospitalization can cause a momentary interruption of homelessness, but the reality of receiving follow-up care and healing on the street is such that many homeless patients find their way back into the hospital.

National Health Foundation’s (NHF) Pathway Recuperative Care offers patients like Frank a safe and supported environment where they can continue their healing journey and, thanks to our continuum Bridge Housing program, find a permanent and stable home to return to upon discharge.

Patients spend an average of 7-10 days in recuperative care and this respite often triggers a desire in our guests to find a stable home; however, the process is often challenging and takes a team of individuals to connect the guest with the best possible permanent housing solution. Since our program began in 2010, we have helped more than 3,000 formerly homeless individuals heal and nearly half find their way home.

On #GivingTuesday, we are inviting the community to donate generously to NHF’s Pathways and Bridge Housing programs. Your donations will provide taxi vouchers for patients to be transported from the hospital to our facilities, personal hygiene supplies, clothing and basic furnishings to help a formerly homeless individual make a house into a home.

For more information about Pathway recuperative care, click here.
For more information on Bridge Housing, please click here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

This Giving Tuesday, Give Teens the Power to Choose

Ty’Keese wants to be a mom someday. Just not right now.
Robert used to think that pregnancy was not really his problem.

Both Ty’Keese and Robert have participated in National Health Foundation’s Be A Star programs that offer at-risk youth in South Los Angeles high schools the type of frank and open conversations about pregnancy, sexual health, goal setting and personal responsibility that have proven to reduce teen pregnancy. After all, Be A Star’s motto is Be A ‘Successful Teen Acting Responsibly’!

Ty’Keese is currently attending Humboldt State University working towards her degree in psychology and Robert is in his last year of high school and serves as a mentor to other young men in the program.

The harsh reality is only 40% of teen moms finish high school and fewer than 2% finish college by age 30*. High school dropouts face unemployment, poverty – and shorter lives. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a significant link between education and health. High school graduates live longer than high school dropouts. College graduates have even longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices, and overall better health.

Be A Star has provided more than 700 students with the tools they needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy and set a clear path to graduation and beyond. For teens who are already parenting, the program encourages students to complete high school, set goals for college and prevent any additional unwanted pregnancies.

“It is amazing to watch the young men and women in the program really step into themselves. They come in somewhat shy and unsure and by the time they complete the program they are knowledgeable and empowered. You can see it in the way they speak. More importantly though, you can sense the hope they have for their futures,” shared Be A Star program manager, Jeanette Pena.

All of the donations received by National Health Foundation on #GivingTuesday will be used to expand and improve our health programs such as Be A STAR. We’re hoping to raise $8000 to increase the number of participants we can serve. Click here to connect with our donation page.

Find out more about the Be A Star Boys from Raymond Diaz, program coordinator: Click here

*The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “Preventing Teen Pregnancy is Critical to School Completion,” Briefly… (Washington, D.C.) July 2010

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stories of Courage and Care: National Health Foundation’s Hospital Heroes 2016

The 2016 National Health Foundation Hospital Heroes Nominees
On Friday, November 4th, 2016, we celebrated the 11th annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon. Together with our Sponsors, Providence Health & Services, Southern California, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Cedars Sinai Hospital, Desert Valley Hospital and PomonaValley Hospital Medical Center, we heard the stories of 31 heroes who, through a deep commitment to care and community, have gone above and beyond the call of duty as nurses, doctors, support staff, health care administrators and volunteers. The task of choosing the three winners was challenging, to say the least.

 Mistress of Ceremonies NBC4LA's Beverly White, Shawn Aguirre,
Bryce Kulasxa and NHF CEO, Kelly Bruno

What makes Shawn Aguirre, nurse educator at St. Jude Medical Center a Hospital Hero? Perhaps Shawn's philosophy on nursing says it best: “On or off duty, I am a nurse. My purpose is to heal.” This past January, Shawn was on her way home when she saw two trucks, one hoisted on top of the other and legs sticking out from under one of the trucks. She immediately pulled over and ran across the street to see if she could help. A fourth-year medical student was also on the scene and the two devised a plan; he would go assess the young man’s legs and Shawn would climb under the truck to determine the rest of his injuries. “I noticed his name tag was still on his uniform, so I asked him if he knew his name,” Shawn said. “He was pale with shallow breathing. He kept asking over and over how he got under the truck and why his leg hurt so badly. He was clearly in shock.” For the next 30 minutes, Shawn lay under the truck to calm him while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She did more than just assess his injuries clinically. She held his hand. She told him it would be OK. Bryce Kulasxa joined Shawn at the Hospital Heroes luncheon.

Beverly White, Tommy Covington and Kelly Bruno
Tommy Covington, RN, has worked the 7 pm – 7 am shift on the hematology-oncology floor of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since 1975.  His tireless work ethic is driven by his motto: “I try to live in the now and let the future develop around me. Many of my patients succumb to their diseases. When there’s a remission or a recovery, we rejoice in that.” Covington has remained in contact with many Children’s Hospital families. One family, whose child died 20 years ago, joins him on fishing trips. “We email, we talk, and we reminisce about their child we took care of and the love we shared,” he says.  “Love is the reason I do what I do.  It’s painful when you have a loss, but I love my job.”  Upon receiving his award, Tommy was visibly emotional, sharing that receiving this recognition, just months before his retirement, was a beautiful way to celebrate his 46 years of service.  

Beverly White, La Verna McMiller and Kelly Bruno
La Verna McMiller, RN, BSN, MSN, from Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, manages one of the most challenging patient care units in the state, the sub-acute care center at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro. Patients are transferred from hospitals throughout the state with gunshot wounds, terminal cancer, and other life threatening conditions. She urges her nurses to never give up on a patient and shares her motto, “Miracles do happen”. La Verna leads her team with a sense of optimism resulting in amazing outcomes for patients who were never expected to return home. “I’ve always liked working with these patients who I believe have the greatest potential of getting better. I don’t give up on them,” shares La Verna. La Verna manages this 125-bed specialty unit assuming both administrative and clinical oversight. La Verna is on call seven days a week and regularly comes in on weekends and evenings to meet with patient families and staff. She understands the value of recognition for her team and special events for her patients and makes sure that every birthday and holiday is a celebration. As we celebrated La Verna’s 27-year career, she vowed to become more educated so she could make a greater difference through her work.

For National Health Foundation, calling attention to the work of the health care community is one way in which we express our gratitude for the care and services of individuals, as well as for our partner hospitals. We could not do what we do without he formidable help of our partner hospitals and the heroes therein. As a nonprofit charitable organization, we also could not do what we do without the financial support of our partners and our community. The Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon is one way for organizations and individuals to celebrate the work of these heroes, while supporting NHF’s many important health initiatives in and around Los Angeles County.

For more information about National Health Foundation, please click here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hospital Hero Debbie Keasler is Connecting the Community to Life-Saving Skills

Since 2005, National Health Foundation (NHF) has reached out to the Southern California health care community to nominate Hospital Heroes. These are the individuals who, through their commitment to care, have left an indelible mark on their patients, coworkers and communities. Since then, more than 200 medical, technical, clinical, administrative and volunteer staff members have been celebrated. The 11th Annual Hospital Heroes Awards Luncheon will be held Friday, November 4th, 2016 and once again, we will shine the light on the incredible service of the health care community. At the event you will have the opportunity to meet heroes such as Debbie Keasler who shares life-saving skills with her community over and above directing the cardiac and stroke programs at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

It takes a special person to direct one of the most comprehensive, patient-centered and nationally recognized cardiac and stroke service programs in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Since 2001, Debbie Keasler, RN, BS, MS, has done all of this and more at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC). A former cardiac critical care nurse, she has seen both devastating and miraculous outcomes of patients with heart and brain conditions. Debbie is much more than a director and clinical nurse; she is frequently heralded as an “Unsung Hero” in the hospital. She is an avid patient advocate, a skilled and experienced mentor to employees, and a kind friend to many.

Debbie works selflessly to put her patients and their families first, including being available to answer questions and provide reassurance 24/7. No task is beneath her. She is a keen listener, advocate, and a quick learner who always adapts to her patient’s changing and challenging needs without question. Acts such as these have earned Debbie four awards from the hospital’s Guardian Angel Recognition Program, which gives grateful patients the opportunity to support the hospital while honoring a special health care provider.

Debbie is a champion for our community. She reaches out to neighborhoods weekly to educate people on how to identify symptoms and increased risks of heart disease and stroke and how they can live healthier lifestyles. She teaches Hands-Only CPR to local schools, senior homes, and in the community to provide others with tools that can save lives, and volunteers for the American Heart Association. Debbie’s involvement is a testament to her steadfast dedication to heart and vascular health. Debbie goes beyond the scope of her responsibilities to support our communities and ensure that her patients receive compassionate care. She’s a hero to all.

For National Health Foundation, recognizing Hospital Heroes is especially important because we are a nonprofit that is dedicated to improving the health of individuals and underserved communities by taking action on the social determinants of health and bridging gaps in the health care system and it is through our partnerships in the community that we are able to effect change. Hospital Hero luncheon proceeds will directly benefit National Health Foundation programs. For more information about National Health Foundation, please click here.