The Gift of Technology Brings Comfort to Even Our Tiniest Patients


The mission of Children's Specialized Hospital Foundation is to secure philanthropic support for the vital programs and services at the hospital that are transforming the lives of children with special healthcare needs. By working with medical staff to identify areas where funding would make the greatest impact for patients, we ensure that every dollar we raise directly helps the kids in the care of Children's Specialized Hospital (CSH). In 2019, we learned about Brave Beginnings, a program of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, that provides grants for essential neonatal intensive care equipment and asked for their support.

Brave Beginnings Helping Preemies Survive and Thrive

Since 2006, Brave Beginnings has been working to ensure that ventilators and vital neonatal equipment are always available to newborns in critical need. Each year, the program awards nearly $1M in grants to hospitals nationwide. To date, Brave Beginnings has given $9.6M in grants to over 200 hospitals and helped more than 271,000 children. While CSH has a comprehensive Infant Toddler Program, we also serve a large population of older children and adolescents living with complex medical conditions and sensory processing issues that would benefit greatly from new and innovative technology to make routine medical tests and treatments less stressful. Brave Beginnings recognized that awarding CSH a grant to purchase equipment including the AccuVein AV500 vein finder and a Life/form Complete IV Arm would not only help our tiniest patients in the Infant Toddler Program but could benefit all of the children in our care.

The AccuVein has proven extremely helpful for our nursing staff as well as our patients. It is a hand-held laser-based device that shows a map of peripheral veins on the skin, adding sight to an otherwise blind procedure. Many of our patients require frequent blood tests to measure medication levels and tests for infections, anemia or hormone deficiencies. Blood drawing can be painful for the patient and stressful for parents and caregivers. It can also be quite difficult to perform venipuncture on babies as well as children with sensory processing issues—even for nurses with extensive experience. This new technology lowers anxiety in patients because they can see their veins and watch where the nurse is aiming the needle, helping them understand the procedure. Sometimes our nurses can reduce anxiety further by creating a game for patients to find shapes and patterns in the projection of their veins.

Caitlin Skulitz, RN, BSN, regards the AccuVein as an indispensable tool. "The AccuVein has been a helpful hand and is a tool that is used almost daily on our unit. It has not only helped nurses like myself become more confident in my phlebotomy skills but has also benefited the patients tremendously. This device allows for an easier view of patients' veins for a more successful blood draw with minimal stick attempts. From a nursing standpoint, the AccuVein has been one of, if not the best addition to the unit this year."

The Accuvein projects veins on the surface of the skin for easier blood draws.The generous grant from Brave Beginnings also provided the hospital with a Life/form Complete Arm and Pump Set that  is used in the IV/phlebotomy certification course. This training tool will be instrumental in certifying more nurses and increasing their confidence and competence in starting IVs and drawing blood on our patients. The Life/form Injection Belly is another training device useful for patients, parents and caregivers as well as medical staff. It is used for demonstrating and practicing treatment of subcutaneous infections. Many of the patients at CSH are prescribed Lovenox, which is an anticoagulant. It is extremely important for staff as well as parents and patients to ensure they are giving the medication correctly. Additionally, the Decubitus Wound Care Model provided by the grant allows nurses to demonstrate and practice wound cleansing, classification, staging and assessment. Many of the patients are discharged from CSH with intimidating medical equipment and procedures that must be incorporated at home. Having these training devices to demonstrate proper care to parents and caregivers is instrumental in providing a safe transition to home for our patients.

"We are very happy to have learned about Children's Specialized Hospital and the amazing care they provide to infants and toddlers who were born premature," said Todd Vradenburg, Executive Director Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. "The therapies being given to these patients is the definition of our tagline, 'helping preemies survive and thrive.' Again, we are very proud of our affiliation with Children's Specialized Hospital and look forward to continued support."

Thanks to our generous donors like Brave Beginnings, CSH Foundation has been able to support the life-changing care that children receive at CSH for over 35 years. As the leading provider of pediatric rehabilitation in the United States, CSH is at the forefront of technological innovations for pediatric rehabilitative care. The addition of these vital pieces of equipment has been a tremendous enhancement to the nurturing and calming environment that our staff creates for all of our patients.