Types of Teams
One on One Visitation
This is the core of the program – companioning with teens in the hospital. A visitation team goes into the teen rooms every afternoon, (Mon – Thurs 4 – 6, and Fri 2 – 4) with an offer to provide movies, play a game of cards, talk, make a ShandsSpace, give Mom & Dad a coffee/food break, hear their story and build a relationship with a teenage patient.
This shift happens every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night (5:30 – 8:45 PM). There is no structured “one-thing” happening. Video gaming is pretty popular as are beading and crafts, Monopoly ( believe it or not!), and UNO. Our teens also just like to use the Internet. There is a Wii and a pool table. Yes, relationships are formed, but diversion is the key element. The therapy here is about forgetting the hospital for an hour or so. It is also about getting them to meet other teens who also are struggling with different and similar things.
Focused interest just seems to happen as you are working with Streetlight. You start to have a soft heart for one area or another, or you see a need and have an idea. And we welcome ideas!!! But focus groups do not work as well if you do not have that weekly relationship with your teens through shift work.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. We try to plan UF, high school, and community events to raise awareness during this month. This year we had SC team members present facts about SC disease and read poetry at the Orange & Brew Poetry night. The team also painted the 34th street wall and gave out flyers to raise awareness around UF’s campus. We plan activities during Black History month (February) with area churches and UF student organizations, like ServeFest and Raise Your Voice Month. We are also trying to get regular meetings of the SC community and always need to raise money for gas vouchers and activities. Additionally we help support the transition process (to adult care) as it comes up.
- Visit the Stop the Sickle Cycle YouTube channel to inspirational stories of patients living with Sickle Cell disease.
This Project group has done amazing things in the area of Transition. In 2009, Michael Tudeen, John Pang, Jessica Greer and others, with the help of a generous donor, started a transition program (to adult care) that helps our patients feel better informed as they move into adulthood with their disease.
Thanks to BJ’s Restaurant, we are able to offer a graduation dinner for the patient and their family with guests from both pediatrics and adult care. We also compose a yearbook for patients transitioning from pediatrics to adult care that includes inspirational quotes from everyone the patient knew in pediatric care, as well as “get to know you” information from the new hospital staff they will be meeting in adult care. The patients also write a personal bio and submit pictures to introduce themselves and reflect on their journey thus far.
Great Strides is a national event, sponsored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), with one goal: raising money to find a CURE for CF. Streetlight supports the annual event, locally by sponsoring a Streetlight Team that walks in the event and raises money for the CFF. The CFF is one of the most efficiently run non-profit organizations in existence, and they are getting ever close to finding a cure. CF is a genetic disease affecting 30,000 people in the US and over 70,000 nationwide. If you are interested in joining our team to walk or helping raise funds go to : http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/
To learn more about how the Great Strides walk has a local impact read “Ryan’s Personal Story”.
We like to celebrate patients’s End of Chemo with parties! Each End of Chemo party is tailored to the individual patient, down to the music, food, and guest list. It is up to the Streetlight cancer team to bring the positive energy, and we always have a great time! Patients also get a personalized bio or personality quiz. It is a privilege to be a part of such a landmark event.
We want to encourage and maintain connections with our kids back out on the “street”. We should help connect them with each other for advice, support and friendship. The cancer team focuses on building relationships with cancer patients throughout the entire chemo process, and if it comes to it, through relapse and end of life. Many times peers can fade away over months of a patient’s chemo regimen, and so Streetlight can be a powerful and consistent support.
We are also involved in Relay for Life, and fund raise throughout the year through donation nights at local eateries, roller skating nights, and basketball tournaments.
For long-stay patients, the Streetlight Transplant Team creates a calendar filled with personalized inspirational notes, quotes, and sometimes jokes from the team. Because waiting is so hard, the calendar is designed to provide a daily reminder of our support. Long-stay hospitalizations give us a lot of time to get to know our patient friends personally including their interests and favorite things. The Transplant Team creates personalized bi-weekly coupons that are basically a hint about an upcoming surprise given by the team. We like to keep some mystery surrounding the event so that the patient has something fun to look forward to in the future. The coupon event could be a personalized room decoration, movie night, or even a musical performance given by Streetlight members. When our patients finally receive their transplant, the team follows up through group video-chat sessions and cards to keep our support going even beyond the patient’s time at the hospital. Ultimately the Transplant Team creatively works together to carry transplant patients through the long and arduous journey of transplant both in and outside of the hospital. To learn more about the patient who inspired us to make our transplant team, check out the video.
Sometimes when a family is spending a lot of time bedside with their teenager they stop eating regularly or don’t want to leave the room for long periods of time to get food. There is only so much hospital food a family can eat! Our Streetlight Bakers use food as another way to comfort families going through a difficult time. Our team cooks homemade food that is brought to the bedside for our families. It is greatly appreciated. Our Streetlight Bakers also help provide food at other events like Memorial Services.
Outpatient Visitation Teams
This program strives to bridge the connection of social support between hospitalization and the time spent at home for patients who are frequently in and out of the hospital due to medical needs. In particular, we are serving outpatients who are between the ages of 20-25. People in this age group can become lonely for companionship because they have graduated from school and frequently have to pass their days at home alone. Due to their medical issues, these young adults are unable to engage in many of the other activities and jobs their peers take part in. Streetlight members sign up to be on an outpatient team in addition to their weekly shift work. The families and patients seem to really appreciate the home visits which might include watching a movie, exchanging favorite YouTube videos, doing crafts or accompanying a patient to a family party or Hippodrome play. We currently have seven different outpatient teams.