For most people, visits to the hospital are generally avoided; however, Sharks Foundation board members and staff recently had the pleasure of visiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) as part of the 2013-14 grant recipient site visits. The trip offered a unique glimpse into the hospital’s mission to improve the well-being of community members.
For two years running, the Sharks Foundation has proudly granted LPCH with grants to fund the hospital’s Mobile Health Van. The renewed grant of $25,000 supports the van’s ability to provide prescription medication to at-risk youth at no cost. After visiting the van last summer, Sharks Foundation Board Members and staff were eager to visit the Palo Alto hospital and witness its greater community impact.
Upon arriving at the LPCH campus, board members and staff observed the major construction in progress to expand LPCH and its patient services. Throughout the tour, several staff members commented, “The moment the hospital opened in 1991, we knew we had already outgrown the space.” Two areas that will benefit from the expansion and coincide with the Sharks Foundation’s focus on youth and their families include the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Child Life and Recreation Therapy Center.
While visiting the NICU, Dr. William Benitz, the Division Chief of Neonatology and 27-year veteran of the hospital, provided a thorough insight to the days and nights in the NICU. His passion and dedication to the patients and their families were evident as he shared stories of struggle and survival. With several nurses and physicians coming and going throughout the tour, Benitz claimed, “It really does take a village.”
Just steps away from the operating rooms and endless medical equipment, is the Child Life and Recreation Therapy Center. Program Director, Colette Case described the range of care provided here; from stuffed animals used to demonstrate how a surgery will be performed, to extravagant events like hosting prom or celebrity visits. It was clear that effort is taken to ensure a child can embrace childhood while recovering at LPCH. Through the medical field’s endorsement of the recreation therapy and hours of work from countless volunteers, Case and her team make the LPCH Child Life and Recreation Therapy Center the place to be for recovering children.
The mission of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has always included family-centered care. Generous donations and grants from dedicated community members and organizations has allowed Lucile Packard to evolve into a world-class facility. Amy Wong, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations noted “We are incredibly grateful for the Sharks Foundation’s support of our program. Packard Hospital is committed to providing life-changing health care services to the children and youth who need it the most. We could not do this work without our community partners.”