Children's | Featured

Pediatric patients at the Maynard Children’s Hospital at ECU Health Medical Center had an opportunity to get outside in beautiful spring weather and have a little fun with their care teams during a Jell-O toss event on Tuesday, April 2.

With doctors, nurses, therapists and more Maynard team members lined up in chairs, patients dipped their hands into bowls of Jell-O and tossed the snack onto their care teams.

For patients, it was an opportunity to get out of their rooms, see their providers in a new way and relieve some stress.

One parent, Jillian Berntsen, said the opportunity was invaluable for her daughter Ella. While she was hesitant about participating at first, her care team encouraged her to join the event. Jillian said her daughter was glad she attended – even if she was covered in Jell-O by the end.

“This is incredibly important. For children like Ella who have long stays here in the hospital, it’s really important to get the outside and thinking about something other than their diagnosis so that they can have those moments being a child again,” Jillian said. “She’s just 13 years old so being stuck in a hospital room for most of her day can be tough. Things like this that get her smiling, laughing and around others are really important.”

For Abby Coderre, a pediatric nurse at the Children’s Hospital, the event meant more to her than a few laughs with patients and fellow members of her care team as she was splattered with the green Jell-O.

In 2019, Coderre was a patient herself at ECU Health Medical Center with lymphoma and shared a special relationship with her care team. She said passing on her experience as a patient to those she cares for now is crucial and these events give her a chance to connect with her patients in a different way.

“It’s great to give them an outlet and something fun to do while they’re at the hospital,” Coderre said. “Anything to make them smile, I would do it. It’s just a great opportunity to get to know these kids and continue to build that relationship.”

Ella Berntsen was diagnosed with leukemia in November and recently had an infection which led to eight surgeries. Her mother, Jillian, said the care teams at Maynard Children’s Hospital have been a difference-maker for her daughter and the connection she has to the care team is special.

“We feel so supported by all of the staff here, I can’t compare them with anything,” Jillian said. “The relationships and bonds we have formed with these people throughout this short period of time have been unbelievable – they’re like family to us. Ella has been through an incredible struggle, for me there has been a lot of doubt. To have these moments of happiness, it’s just really important.”

Further reading

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