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Carle Health hospitals honored for support of organ donors, their families

Carle Health hospitals honored for support of organ donors, their families
When a loved one’s life is at an end, discussing organ donation can be difficult, even when the patient has stated their intention to be an organ donor.

That journey is easier when patients and families find support from caring, knowledgeable and empathetic healthcare professionals.

Carle Health prioritizes offering compassionate care, including at end-of-life. Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is honoring the work that follows that commitment.

Three Carle Health hospitals – Carle Foundation Hospital (CFH), Carle BroMenn Medical Center and Carle Health Methodist Hospital – are being recognized with awards by Gift of Hope. In addition, the organization is recognizing seven CFH team members for completing a yearlong organ donation educational program that helps healthcare workers learn how to better support patients, their families and fellow healthcare providers.

CFH, BroMenn and Methodist are receiving 2022-2023 HRSA (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration) DoNation Campaign recognition. DoNation is a nationwide HRSA initiative to educate communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donation and to encourage people to register to be organ and tissue donors.

More than 100,000 Americans are awaiting lifesaving transplants, according to Gift of Hope.

Hospitals apply to participate in the campaign and share their work to raise awareness about organ donation. Healthcare providers receive points based on hospital events and initiatives throughout the campaign year, such as staff education, honor walks (when hospital staff lines a hallway as a donor moves to the operating room), raising the Gift of Hope flag when a donation happens, meetings between the hospital and Gift of Hope teams, donation registration drives, social media campaigns, and a ceremony during April, which is Donate Life Month. Hospitals with the most points are given a platinum award, followed by gold, silver and bronze.

Carle Health hospitals participated in DoNation for the first time and received the following honors:
  • Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, platinum award.
  • Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, silver award.
  • Carle Health Methodist Hospital, Peoria, silver award.
In Illinois, 16 hospitals attained platinum status, six gold, nine silver and six bronze.

Speaking of the CFH recognition, Dana Ziegler, MSN, NEA-BC, director of nursing – ICU and Surgical Services, CFH, said “What an amazing accomplishment to receive the highest honor for honoring donors and bringing awareness to donation. In addition to our team member participation in the Champions for Hope program, we have worked diligently to create an interdisciplinary approach to the donation process. This includes a team of direct care staff and leaders from across the organization that are, in some way, touched by donation. Those involved share stories of impact, discuss donation data and case reviews, and plan Gift of Hope awareness activities. Additionally, teams display a beautiful Tree of Life in the lobby at Carle Foundation, each leaf engraved in honor of an organ donor. Honoring our donors and highlighting the life-changing impact that donation can have is a big part of our culture.”

Shelly Hillary, RN manager, Intensive Care Unit/Cardiovascular Care Unit, BroMenn, appreciated Gift of Hope’s recognition of the staff’s work. “It’s a team effort, making sure we’re doing our best every day for our patients, their families and our community.”

Toni Jurgensen, patient care manager, Carle Health Methodist Hospital, said “We are very passionate about donation and I am excited to receive the award. It highlights our commitment to the process and our collaboration with Gift of Hope. The staff do a fantastic job supporting the families during a very difficult time.”

The educational program is Champions for Hope. It is a yearlong program provided free of charge by Gift of Hope to healthcare professionals at hospitals throughout the state, Alexis Plumb, Gift of Hope donation liaison, said.

CFH participated in Champions for Hope for the first time during the most recent cohort from August 2022 through July 2023. Seven CFH healthcare professionals who completed the program received certificates and badge pins, including Dena Sauder, MSN/Edu, CCRN, clinical nurse practice specialist.

“We had the opportunity to learn so much and I loved every minute of it,” Sauder said. “One of my favorite parts was the case reviews and the discussions and collaboration between a variety of organizations across the state.” Topics included innovations and technologies to improve the donation and transplant process, steps to follow after a family decision to move forward with organ donation and supporting the family through this decision.

“No one imagines that they will one day find themselves in this situation with a loved one,” Sauder said. “It is not only our duty as nurses but our privilege to assist the families of the patients through the process of donation. The benefit to the families is that nursing staff can be more knowledgeable, respond to questions appropriately, identify resources and assist them through this process with love, gratitude, appreciation and an empathetic heart.”

All 8 Carle Health hospitals work with Gift of Hope to facilitate organ and tissue donation with patients who have registered their intent to be organ donors and whose loved ones wish for them to save the lives of others following their passing.

Throughout the Carle Health system, from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 26, 2023, there were 24 organ donors and 120 tissue donors, Plumb said.

To register to be an organ and tissue donor, click here.

Categories: Community

Tags: donation, gift, ICU, nursing, organ, tissue