Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital proudly announces that Logix Federal Credit Union has generously stepped forward to sponsor a palliative care teddy bear program at the hospital to help children feel supported and comforted when faced with the passing of a parent.
In 2017, a group of compassionate palliative care team members, using their own money, purchased a special teddy bear that can record a patient’s heartbeat. (When a patient is terminally ill, his or her heartbeat can be recorded by the teddy bear, which is then given to the patient’s child as a keepsake.) Grant funding allowed additional bears to be purchased. The Palliative Care program at Henry Mayo has used the bears to provide comfort to many parents and their children in certain cases. The bears also bring comfort to the staff involved in these difficult cases.
“The response we get from the families whose children receive a bear has been very positive,” said Lisa Ortega, RN, Interim Director of Outpatient Services and Palliative Care at Henry Mayo. “When a loved one enters the final stages of life, we are able to record the heartbeat of the patient, place the recording in the bear and present the bear as a gift to the child.”
The recordable bears make a profound impact on family members. One such case involved a mother who was non-responsive and on life support. The patient’s son, an only child, was faced with the responsibility of making the health care decisions for his mother.
The son compassionately asked the staff to postpone placing his mother on comfort care until after his upcoming graduation a few days later. Unsure of how the son would respond to receiving a teddy bear, a certified nurse’s assistant provided information on the teddy bear keepsake and asked for permission to prepare one for him.
When the recording of the patient’s heartbeat was finished, the bear was placed in between her arms. When the son returned to his mother’s room, he went straight to the bear, hugged it and cried. The bear provided comfort to the young man during a very difficult time. Knowing they were able to give the young man such a precious gift, the staff was grateful for the opportunity to provide the beautiful keepsake.
“We are fortunate to have Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital provide exceptional care to Santa Clarita residents, and credit union members. They serve the community in an extraordinary way, and the staff truly understands the needs of their patients and families,” said Nick E. Mitchell, Vice President, Legal Affairs/Corporate Counsel for Logix Federal Credit Union. “The palliative care bears they distribute to family members who have lost their loved ones is a testament to this commitment, and it is a privilege to sponsor such a worthy opportunity.”
While nothing can replace a loved one, the bears help to ease the pain and offer support in the face of tragedy. The Palliative Care team at Henry Mayo is committed to making end of life situations as comforting and peaceful as possible for both patients and their families.
“Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is grateful to Logix Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the Palliative Care Bear program,” said Marlee Lauffer, President of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation. “We strive to exceed the expectations of those we serve, every day, every time. Support from corporate partners like Logix helps us achieve that goal.”