Courage Tiger’s Road Trip Day 42: Noe the Social Worker in Chicago
While I was visiting Chicago, I met Noe, a Social Worker from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He is today’s guest blogger!
The Beads of Courage Program helps patients in several ways. The beads are a useful tool to motivate the kids to talk about their treatment experience and share with their peers, staff and family the many achievements and milestones reached.
It allows patients an opportunity to engage in conversation about multiple topics, such as their reaction when first diagnosed, how they perceive their illness, and to engage their siblings in stringing the beads together.
Parents also talk about the importance of having this program so that kids learn new strategies to cope with the anxiety, fears and stress of multiple medical procedures.
It also helps patients with their sense of pride and self-esteem, as they become part of a larger community of children experiencing the same situation.
Beads of Courage is a useful instrument to help kids and their parents cope with so many experiences and a great conversation starter when children display their beads.
Patients take their beads to school graduation and walk down the aisle with the strings to signify their acts of courage and resilience and educate others on what being a cancer survivor entails.
As an example of the program’s impact, one of our parents shared how she and her child diagnosed with cancer were constantly coming to appointments in our Oncology outpatient clinic. However, no one else from her family was present during the appointments.
She had a holiday gathering and invited her extended family to come together. The mother decided to display her son’s beads on the dining table. Her relatives were very impressed as she told them about the bead strings and how they related to her son’s treatment.
This was a turnaround point in the family as they got to understand in more detail the many accomplishments the patient was having, and the immense amount of work and courage that entails being in treatment.
|Neal a member from Lurie Children’s|
One of the aspects I like about coordinating the program is meeting so many patients with unique life stories. It’s a humbling experience when kids who are often so fragile are able to offer a smile and welcoming gesture when I introduce the program. Having the face-to-face interaction with families provides opportunities to offer compassionate care and understand their needs.
Being in Chicago has allowed me the opportunity to welcome so many families from diverse backgrounds and listen to their stories of hope and courage. We have a wide variety of representation from all ages, as well as a large number of Spanish-speaking families. We have made a strong connection with the families and children through empathetic and compassionate engagement.
I am very glad to count on the support from leadership and staff as a key to the success we have had during these past 10 years. We have a collaborative approach; I am very grateful for the psychosocial multidisciplinary team, and nurses who help identify potential candidates for the program.
– Contributed by Cristal Rogers, Marketing and Communications Intern, Beads of Courage