Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pet Therapy Volunteer Program on CBS Early Show!

This morning, the CBS Early Show highlighted Children’s pet therapy program! Click here to view video from the CBS Early Show.


Shots from CBS Early Show: Volunteer team Karen & Reba work with Nicole and a child during a therapy session.

Children’s Pets Assisting With Healing (PAWH) program includes more than 25 “dog teams” and two bunnies who visit patients on our inpatient units and other areas of the hospital, as well as working with patients during rehab appointments. The CBS Early Show story follows two PAWH teams working with patients and families in the Rehab Department at Children’s-St. Paul:  Heather Gillen and her dog, Angel (a Bichon Frise Mix), and Karen Sheahan and her dog, Reba, (a Keeshond).

Our dog teams work closely with therapists during their sessions with patients. Occupational therapist Nicole Iammatteo-Lindstrom describes the work of Karen and Reba this way: “Karen always comes to our therapy sessions with enthusiasm and excitement for the children that I see for Occupational Therapy. We work with a little boy,  Jake, who truly looks forward to our sessions because of having Karen and Reba there, and all the fun and goofy things we get to do as a team. Jake enjoys hearing stories about Reba and her agility competitions, and asks about how a dog  goes through the courses and what kind of training a dog would need to complete an agility course. Karen took the time to make up a variety of agility dog course mazes that exercise the visual motor and fine motor skills that Jake needs to work on. I’m  truly thankful to have such a great team to work with on a weekly basis and feel  honored by their time and commitment.”

Thank you to all of our PAWH teams who do such amazing work here at Children’s Hospital.  The difference you’re making in the lives of children and their families is incredible!

Happy Holiday Season from Volunteer Services!

It’s a busy time of year! Students are completing their final exams and coursework, families are preparing for the impending onslaught of snowy winter weather, and the new year is fast approaching!

To mark the holiday season, the Volunteer Services offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul will be closed:

  • Monday, December 26th, 2011
  • Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Volunteers are still welcome to come in if they’d like to on these days, but doing so is optional.

Volunteer Services at Children's-St. Paul is decorated and ready for winter!

THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS for all you do here throughout the year! Enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

Where Are They Now?: Volunteer Alum Mike Joannides Leads Pre-Med Club in UK!

Editor’s Note:  Mike Joannides volunteered at Children’s from 2008-2010, and is currently in medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada.  Mike is enrolled in the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), which allows students to spend their medical school years studying in two different locations:  Newcastle, UK, and Grenada, a beautiful island in the Caribbean.  You can learn more about the KBTGSP here, and more about Mike in an earlier blog post!

Huge kudos to volunteer alum Mike Joannides, currently serving as chair of the KBTGSP Paediatrics Club at St. George’s!  Mike was featured in St. George’s medical gazette this week for his work with the club, specifically in presenting a check for £676 ($1061 in U.S. dollars!) to the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, the body that supports childhood cancer research in Newcastle.  This sum was raised through the efforts of the Paediatrics Club and Global Scholars Medical Society.

Here is a link to the full article.  Thanks, Mike, for keeping us posted on your life, and for continuing to support children’s cancer research outside of Children’s Hospital!

Mike (R) presents the club's donation to Professor Josef Vermoor.

Happy “Wash Your Hands” Week!

It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week!  As such, we wanted to briefly review some important hand hygiene policies.  When volunteering, you should be washing your hands:

  • -before entering & after exiting patient rooms
  • -after using the restroom
  • -after eating or drinking
  • -after contact with patient bedding, clothing, or body fluids

When washing your hands, Wendy Berg, Children’s Infection Preventionist, says, “The expectation is to use either hand foam or soap & water, but not both.  Soap & water should be used after every 10-15 applications of hand foam.”

When applying hand foam, the amount of foam used should be approximately the size of a golf ball (see below)!

HW-Golf Ball

When rubbing your hands together, make sure that you rub ALL of the foam in!  The picture below illustrates what NOT to do:  please rub your hands together until the product dries.

HW-Half Foam

Hand foam should be used in most circumstances, unless your hands are visibly soiled (from contact with body fluids, using the restroom, eating a red velvet cupcake, etc.):

HW-Red Velvet

When your hands become soiled, please use soap & water to clean them!

HW-Soap & Water

Handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection, so PLEASE…WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS!  Our goal is for each volunteer’s hands to look like this:

HW-Clean Hands

Thanks for doing your part to protect our patients & families from germs!