Loops of Love
Babies born at Sheridan Memorial Hospital in 2017 will receive “Loops of Love” crocheted beanies compliments of the Emergency Department night shift registered nurses and certified nurse assistants.
When Kristen Etchechoury, an RN who works in the Emergency Department, crocheted a hat as a gift for a friend, she never imagined the path that would ultimately lead her and her co-workers on a full scale crocheting mission.
Jazz Scott, an RN who works in Women’s Health, admired the cap that Etchechoury had made for her friend and approached Etchechoury about crocheting beanies for babies who die during pregnancy. Etchechoury was moved by the idea of using her talent in such a meaningful way.
“I immediately got started developing beanie patterns in a variety of sizes and crocheting beanies that would be given to families who have suffered the devastating loss of a baby,” says Etchechoury.
But her efforts did not stop there. When Etchechoury shared the completed beanie assortment with her fellow female co-workers, it led to a discussion about yarn remnants left over from various crochet projects and how they could be repurposed. That is when the group hatched the idea of Loops of Love crocheted beanies for all babies born at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. Not certain of how the project would ultimately impact their personal lives, the self-dubbed “Trauma Mamas” settled on a one-year commitment for 2017.
“Cycling is an essential component of my life,” says Liz. “When Joey Dale died, biking was my saving grace. When Kevin joined me in cycling adventures, it brought us closer together and strengthened our marriage.” Last year, Liz and Kevin participated in the 20th annual Tour de Wyoming, cycling 365 miles in six days. The 2016 Tour de Wyoming, which started and ended in Sheridan, included two mountain ascents. “It’s definitely a testament of your true grit,” says Liz who has participated in the Tour three times now. Liz does her winter fitness training mostly indoors using a stationary bike trainer that her bike mounts onto. “I do basic fitness training all year long,” she says. “But in preparation for the events this summer, the intensity and distance training regimen will get a lot more serious starting in January.” Cycling is now a family affair. In fact, Liz, Kevin and three of their four adult children cycle and have applied to ride together in the 2017 Tour de Wyoming. Liz is passionate about biking and recommends it to anyone interested. She says, “age should not be a barrier to anyone interested in cycling.” She estimates the average age of the 350 cyclists who participated in the 2016 Tour de Wyoming to be around 55 and as many as 16 of those riders over the age of 75.
On the job, Liz is a social worker by profession and manager of the case management department.
Hospital case managers advocate on the patient’s behalf to make sure they receive the care that is medically necessary. Starting at admission, they work collaboratively with physicians and members of the healthcare team to assess and predict what the patient’s medical needs will be when they are discharged. Together they develop a care plan for the patient. Case managers are also experts in identifying and securing community resources for patients and their families in support of that care plan. A case manager also works to prevent insurance claim denials and, at times may negotiate with insurance companies to pay for a treatment that the patient needs in order to get better.
“To initiate the care plan in the most efficient and cost effective way possible, we case managers have to know a little about a lot of things,” says Liz. “We have to understand human behavior, recognize life altering changes in a person and comprehend complex legal and healthcare payment systems. It is our job to help patients and their families find solutions to challenging medical and mental health circumstances in all hospital settings. Sometimes that calls upon us to get very creative.”