Charitable dollars at work

The benefits of charitable donations to The Carle Foundation are evident in every aspect of the Hospital’s services. Carle Center for Philanthropy funds a long list of programs and services to meet the needs of Carle Foundation Hospital, its physicians, and its patients. Charitable donations are used to fund:

Child Life Program Child Diagnostic Clinic Medical Research Heart and Vascular Institute Carle Auxiliary Guest House Camp Healing Heart

Child Life Program: Making hospital stays a little less scary

Nobody wants to be in the hospital over the holidays - especially when you're a kid. But that's exactly what happened to Layna and Kevin. Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, they had doctors and nurses visiting their hospital beds.

Seven-year-old Layna had not felt well for several days and no one knew why. When she arrived at Carle, she was scared and frustrated. All she wanted was her stomachache to go away.

Four-year-old Kevin arrived at Carle with significant abdominal pain. But it was more than just the hospital that frightened him. Kevin could only speak Spanish, making Carle even scarier.

Thanks to Carle's Child Life Program and the generous support of numerous donors, young patients like Layna and Kevin have advocates at Carle. Our certified Child Life Specialists spend their days helping children and teens adjust to the overwhelming situations that often accompany hospitalization.

They spend hours explaining procedures in ways that children can understand and guiding them in different coping techniques. They also use toys and games to creatively distract children during medical procedures. It is estimated that Carle's Child Life Program helped more than 4,000 children in 2011.

With better knowledge of what was happening, Layna was empowered to overcome her fears and feel a sense of pride. And Kevin's experience was made better because a Child Life Specialist was there to comfort him and support his parents during the IV insertion. Child Life Specialists also used play as a common language to build trust and melt away his fears.

But what made Layna and Kevin smile the most during their hospital stay was the life-size gingerbread house, built especially for the holidays by Carle's Child Life Program to help create a more kid-friendly environment in the hospital. Here, kids escaped their pain and fear by painting the "frosting" on the house and decorating oversized pieces of candy.

Kids need more than medicine to get well. Whether it's a life-size gingerbread house or talking over an upcoming procedure, Carle's Child Life Program provides the resources children and teens need to cope with their illness, injury or hospitalization.

Child Diagnostic Clinic: Helping families in need find answers

Tom's mother knew her youngest was a handful. He had been already diagnosed with multiple ailments and developmental delays. And yet, his unpredictable and aggressive behavior continued to spiral out of control. It had gotten so bad that the family stopped going places. Tom needed help.

Enter Dr. Charles Morton, a board certified developmental and behavioral pediatrician, and Dr. Andrea Klein, a licensed child clinical psychologist. Every month, they host Carle's Child Diagnostic Clinic, the only clinic of its kind in east central Illinois.

Here, a team of physicians, therapists and social workers meet to evaluate young patients like Tom. Children seen in the Clinic range in age from 2 to 18 and suffer from behavioral, emotional, attention, language, learning, sensory and/or coordination difficulties.

"We analyze the child's difficulties from many perspectives to provide a more definitive diagnosis and to develop a comprehensive plan of appropriate therapies and services," Dr. Klein explains. Thanks to the team approach, members of the Child Diagnostic Clinic are able to observe the child from different perspectives, share observations and address the root cause of the difficulties.

Every child seen in the Clinic averages nine diagnoses when the evaluation is completed, Dr. Morton explains. "Often times, we find ourselves advocating for the child.

Unfortunately, many families who seem to need evaluation and intervention for their children are those that can least afford to pay for the evaluation or the services needed. Dr. Morton and Dr. Klein sought assistance from the Women's Legacy Circle.

Since 2009, this philanthropic group of women has awarded nearly $100,000 to the healthcare programs at Carle and in our community. The Circle gave the Clinic $15,000 to provide services to one child with financial needs each month.

Now, Tom's mother knows exactly what her son's challenges are. The team diagnosed Tom with autism and ADHD as well as moderate retardation/intellectual disability and delayed expressive and receptive language. Most important, Tom's mother received concrete recommendations and resources to help meet her son's challenges head on.

Medical Research: Searching for a good night's sleep

Restless Legs Syndrome. It's a frustrating condition that affects 5 to 10 percent of people, and yet, there is no definitive, objective way to diagnose the condition.

Dr. Charles Davies, a Carle neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, hopes to change that.

"At this time, Restless Legs Syndrome is diagnosed by history," Dr. Davies explains. "While there are validated questionnaires to establish the presence and severity of Restless Legs Syndrome, no objective test exists for this affliction."

According to Dr. Davies, Restless Legs Syndrome involves uncomfortable urges to move the legs. The urges are worse at rest, worse at night and improved by leg movement. "It disturbs sleep and can disrupt long car rides or plane travel," he adds.

Dr. Davies heads a research study at Carle that hopes to prove that leg movements during sleep of individuals without Restless Legs Syndrome are more variable than leg movements among patients with Restless Legs Syndrome.

"One potentially helpful feature is that roughly 80 percent of Restless Legs Syndrome sufferers also have periodic leg movements in sleep," Dr. Davies says.

To quantify the leg movements of sleeping individuals, Dr. Davies uses an ankle monitor. His goal is to recruit 16 patients to wear the monitor for one night in Carle's sleep lab and six nights at home. The sleep lab study allows Dr. Davies to measure leg activity during sleep and ensure the subject does not suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic condition that also disrupts sleep.

Because insurance companies do not cover sleep studies for research purposes, the cost of the sleep study performed in Carle's sleep lab is prohibitive. Thankfully, charitable gifts designated to research are being used to cover the full cost of each sleep study.

"By quantifying the variability in leg movements, we may be able to find a new approach to the diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome," he summarizes.

Heart and Vascular Institute: Building a better collaboration

Every morning, Drs. Michael Neuwirth, Scott Santeler and Steve Hong get a unique view of Carle's latest and largest construction project. If they stand just right, they can look beyond the steel frame and directly into the second floor of the new nine-story medical tower - one of the two floors dedicated to a state-of-the-art Carle Heart and Vascular Institute.

In this building, these three vascular and interventional radiologists will focus on detecting and treating peripheral artery disease, a common precursor to heart disease and stroke.

When construction is complete in 2013, the Carle Heart and Vascular Institute will bring outpatient and inpatient cardiac services together under one roof, resulting in great collaboration among healthcare staff and seamless care for patients. For instance, Drs. Neuwirth, Santeler and Hong will work hand-in-hand with cardiologists and vascular surgeons to save patients from heart attack and stroke.

"What makes Carle unique is that our cardiologists, vascular surgeons and vascular interventional radiologists work very well together and are able to treat patients using a multidisciplinary approach," Dr. Hong explains. "This new building is the embodiment of that collaborative effort among the Carle physicians."

Charitable donations, including major gifts from many current and retired Carle physicians, are already playing an important role in this project. These generous gifts will help provide more comfortable surroundings and patient amenities, secure the latest equipment and technology and recruit and retain highly skilled caregivers.

"Interventional radiology is a constantly changing field that performs minimally invasive procedures that reduce or eliminate the need for surgery," Dr. Santeler explains. "This new facility will offer our community the resources needed to continue to offer cutting-edge treatments right here in Urbana-Champaign."

Gifts to the Carle Auxiliary Guest House Care for Patients’ Families

When Charles Moore’s wife was admitted to Carle’s intensive care unit on January 7, 2003, he and his family found the 50-mile drive from their hometown exhausting. Fortunately, Carle offered Charles and his family a solution. They became the first guests of the Carle Auxiliary Guest House.

Built by The Carle Foundation and located just across the street from the hospital, the Guest House provides families a home away from home where they can get some much needed rest without being too far from their loved one. It’s a safe place—a pleasant, quiet escape from the tense and often chaotic atmosphere of a hospital room.

The 12-bedroom house includes private baths, a comfortable living room, library, full kitchen, dining room, laundry facilities and direct phone lines within the Carle system. The Guest House is also staffed 24 hours a day.

All of this adds up to operational costs of more than $135,000 every year. And yet, the accommodations are offered at no cost to families with loved ones in the hospital.

Without charitable gifts, the Carle Auxiliary Guest House would not exist. In 2010, the Auxiliary took steps to ensure the future of the Guest House when the group made a $25,000 pledge and established the Guest House Endowment. As this fund grows, it will provide the annual resources needed to support the operational expenses of the Guest House.

A gift to the Guest House Endowment is a gift the will keep on giving. The endowment portion is never spent. Instead, it is invested. The earnings from the fund are made available to offset Guest House operations in perpetuity.

For more information, please contact Carle Center for Philanthropy at (217) 383-3021 or send an e-mail to philanthropy@carle.com.

A special day camp for grieving children and teens

Children respond to death in different ways. They have so little life experience that moving through the grief process can be extremely difficult and have lifelong consequences.

Camp Healing Heart grew from an acknowledgment that children need special support as they grieve. Hosted annually by Carle Hospice, this special day camp provides a safe and caring environment for children who have experienced the death of a loved one or friend.

At Camp Healing Heart, children and teens find tools and skills to help them regain a healthy life balance and still honor the life of the loved one they have lost. Campers learn how to recognize and label their feelings as well as different methods to express and release those feelings.

Camp Healing Heart is offered at no cost to grieving families thanks to generous donations to Carle Center for Philanthropy and numerous volunteers who contribute countless hours.

Gifts to Camp Healing Heart help create a comfortable setting in which these kids can express themselves, be heard, meet others in similar situations and remember and honor those they have lost. It's an amazing experience for the kids and the volunteers, and we have donors to thank for it.

Take a moment to experience the spirit of Camp Healing Heart through the slideshow, and see how your support can help us make a real difference!

 

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