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Braving the Panamanian Jungle to Support Young Patients

Braving the Panamanian Jungle to Support Young Patients

In the finale of the CBS television reality competition Beyond the Edge, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis climbed out of a cave, paddled across a blue-green river and fought through waist-high mud as part of his last adventure. One of nine celebrities who competed on the show, he finished in second place after enduring challenges for 15 days in the Panamanian jungle, all to raise $134,166 for his chosen charity: Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

“The two weeks I spent in the Panamanian jungle were hard, really hard — but it was nothing compared to the struggle that those beautiful children and their families go through,” Lewis says. “When it was time to pick my charity for Beyond the Edge, there was no doubt it would be Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where doctors, nurses and their staff perform miracles every day. God bless them all. I look forward to my next visit because they lift up my soul.”

A portion of Lewis' gift will be used to build a state-of-the-art pediatric satellite capacity command center, modeled after the Judy Reitz Capacity Command Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Here, the pediatric capacity command team will work together to manage the flow of patients by systematically allocating the hospital’s 209 beds — including standard rooms and beds in the oncology, psychiatric and critical care units. Using real-time and predictive information, the team will have a bird’s-eye view of patient flow into and out of the Children’s Center and affiliated pediatric sites. This will allow them to prevent or resolve bottlenecks and bring more children into these beds.

To create the satellite capacity command center, which is expected to open in late 2022 or early 2023, an existing space will be renovated to include workstations that will be used to access streams of data; large-screen, wall-mounted monitors to allow for rapid, real-time data presentation; and an upgraded ventilation system.

Leaders within the department — including Eric Biondi, division director of pediatric hospital medicine, Meghan Laura Bernier, pediatric critical care physician, Lisa Fratino, assistant director of nursing, and associate administrator Stacey Mann — began to see the need for a more structured process for bed allocation when the pandemic hit. During the height of COVID-19, there were times when they had to find beds for adults on their pediatric units, manage longer stays for already admitted young patients and navigate care while patient volumes were beyond 100% capacity.

“One of the things we realized very quickly is that we needed a strong system for capacity infrastructure in our Children’s Center,” says Biondi, who is also the associate chief medical officer and an associate professor of pediatrics. “The Pediatric Satellite Capacity Command Center will provide a more structured approach to bed management.”

Guidelines will be developed for the team to use when making decisions about allocating beds. The guidelines will aid in efficiently prioritizing limited beds, and will provide transparency about how those decisions were made.

“This gift from Ray Lewis is dramatically improving our ability to bring additional patients into the Children’s Center and our affiliated sites,” Biondi says. “It will have long-lasting effects on the future of our Johns Hopkins pediatrics network.”
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