"Working at the Valerie Fund Children's center for almost 30 years, I realize that I am so very thankful, because each and every day, I get to go to a job that I absolutely love, am passionate about, and gives me so much back in return. The psychosocial support that the Valerie Fund supports assists our medical team in giving family focused, comprehensive state of the art care, close to home. That truly makes a difference in our families lives!"
"I had a ten year old patient who needed to get a spinal tap, but didn't like anesthesia. He decided he wanted to try to do it awake. I wanted to make sure he knew what it would be like, and explained to him what would happen, demonstrating with a Slinky. We talked about what it would feel like and what we could do to make the experience as easy as possible. He did amazing! During the spinal tap, we used the iPad for distraction, and he didn't feel a thing. It went so well that he did the rest of his spinal taps awake, and then told other kids about it. We now have several patients who prefer to do their spinal taps awake, and I provide distraction in whichever way works best for them."
"It is such a great opportunity for St. Joseph's Children's Hospital to become a part of The Valerie Fund family. Expanding our current psychosocial services to provide more educational assistance, financial guidance and counseling services will be a benefit to our patients and their families. There is so much more to treatment of disease than medicine and nursing; child life and social work also play a very important role in successfully caring for patients. The Valerie Fund's generosity will go a long way towards expanding these services. We are all thankful for this new relationship and look forward to working together in the future."
"Providing an in-house service to our families that was previously unavailable to them and sometimes difficult to attain has been the biggest impact on the patient community. Working for The Valerie Fund is an incredible opportunity to merge my interest in both psychoeducational testing and my knowledge of school-based supports with the unique needs of our patients. I have been able to help sort out various questions about each child's learning styles and make recommendations to their parents and teachers. For example, one young elementary age boy had been struggling in school after his treatment. Through the psychological testing battery which includes cognitive and education testing, we were able to identify undiagnosed and hidden learning disabilities. Making specific personalized and individualized educational goals for this young boy helped his self-esteem, his perception of school and his parents and teachers understand what might be the best classroom approach."
"I had the opportunity to work with a 12-year-old patient from the very beginning of her diagnosis. I was able to accompany her to various tests her very first day at the hospital. I provided education about each test to her and her siblings. From this point on we developed a great rapport and she was able to express her fears and concerns regarding her treatment and diagnosis. I was able to collaborate with the medical team and address these concerns and clear up any of her misconceptions. Also, whenever she was admitted to the hospital I was able to spend time with her just hanging out and doing activities that she liked to help normalize her stay. I was also able to visit her when she had to go to another hospital, which was very intimidating to her since it wasn't staff that she was used to and I was able to speak with their Child Life team to help make the transition as easy as possible."
"We are so excited that our patients will have the benefit of being a part of The Valerie Fund family. We provide excellent medical care for our patients, but the psychosocial piece is equally as important to the well-being of the child and the entire family unit. Many of these services, such as social work and child life, are not reimbursed by insurance. With The Valerie Fund's generosity, we can support our current social work and child life positions and we will add several new staff positions to ensure that the diseases they have and treatments they receive will not limit their success in school and in life."
"Families experience a great sense of relief just knowing that a psychologist is available to attend to their children in the event that they present with emotional, social, cognitive, and/or difficulties coping in connection with their condition or treatment. Families also welcome the convenience of having psychological counseling offered in the same setting where their children receive medical treatment. I feel that the counseling and psychoeducational services that I provide as a psychologist have been very well received. I use my clinical skills and my expertise in the area of trauma to work with children with serious medical conditions. Therapeutic and/ or crisis intervention can be offered as needed, for children or family members. And since I am bilingual in Spanish and English, children and/or parents who do not speak English have been able to receive counseling services in their native language."
"Extensive school absences makes the needs of a child with chronic illness different from other students and her advocacy protects from discrimination. "I work to advocate on behalf of our patients and their families to ensure interventions are in place in school so our patients are able to maintain their educational goals. I help our patients continue to be involved and active members of their school communities."During lengthy periods at home, visits back to school may be infrequent because of risk of infection and a comprised immune system so Kaitlin is available to educate classmates and ensure the student does not feel isolated."I believe that once a child begins school, it quickly becomes the center of his/her life. School provides a sense of consistency and fosters educational, social and emotional development. The Valerie Fund recognizes the importance of helping children stay involved with school."
"I am honored to be part of The Valerie Fund and all the incredible work that they do in offering services to these families who otherwise may not have access. The Valerie Fund has made it possible for me to reach families and educate them on what psychosocial services can offer them. Psychology has held a long-standing unfortunate stigma regarding therapy and what "needing therapy" implies. They can have a therapist with whom they really enjoy spending time and ultimately build a genuine, caring relationship through that process. When these families are going through the multitude of hardships associated with these medical illnesses, often they do not even realize some of their needs until they begin to be fulfilled. A person who can speak to their deeper emotions and align with them to really understand their struggle without judgment is an experience many people never discover until given the opportunity. "
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