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University of Michigan Health-Sparrow News: UM Health-Sparrow Honors Care Team for Young Patient

Michigan Business Network
June 3, 2024 11:00 AM

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Lansing, Mich. – Several University of Michigan Health-Sparrow Lansing team members were recently recognized with the Starfish Award for going above and beyond to provide compassionate care for a young patient who was nearing his end of life, creating lasting memories for the patient’s family.

“As pediatric team members, our main goal is to heal children and get them home as soon as possible,” said Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit Manager Jennifer Komm. “Unfortunately, there are times when this cannot happen. Our thoughts then change to how we can help the child and family to make memories and prepare for the loss of their child.”

Thinking outside the box, UM Health-Sparrow Lansing’s Child Life team members Aileen Hansen, Jodi Winsett-Nohel and Kelly Hebert organized weekly events to help district the patient and his family from the reality of his health. Some of these special events included science experiments and ear piercings for the patient and his mom.

Food and Nutrition Services (FANS) department leaders Nathaniel Keusch, Chris Bowen and Miguel Plasencia organized a Spider-Man themed feast for the patient and his family, including a Spider-Man cake made by a UM Health-Sparrow sous chef Jeoselle El Hajj and Head Baker Keylee Grinnell.

Another big event involved coordinating a trip to the helipad with the patient one sunny afternoon. Corporal Josh Spicer, Officer Jacob Belknap and Dispatcher Kyle Smith of the public safety department also arranged for the patient to see a helicopter from Aero Med.

UM Health-Sparrow’s Starfish Award celebrates team members who provide extraordinary, compassionate, and skillful care every day. Winners are nominated by their fellow team members, patients and their families.

“For everyone involved, it was a ‘What can we do more’ approach,” Komm said. “Even through (we had) the limitations of not being able to leave the hospital campus, the team found ways to support a patient and his family to create lasting memories for all involved.”

“We are humbled by the recognition for this, but we do not expect it,” said Nathaniel Keusch, director of culinary and nutritional services. “We hope that our team can be a small example of how all humans and especially team members treat each other and our patients every day.”

For more information about UM Health-Sparrow’s compassionate care, go to UofMHealth@Sparrow.org.


University of Michigan Health-Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, as well as UM Health-Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Care Network, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. UM Health-Sparrow is part of University of Michigan Health. Through the dedication of our 10,000 caregivers, UM Health-Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit UofMHealthSparrow.org.


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