3 main takeaways from my TED Talk for TEDxStLouis | By Nick Holekamp, MD

In May 2023, I was lucky enough to do a TEDx Talk for TEDxStLouis. I wanted to do it because my team and I at Ranken Jordan are on a mission to change how the healthcare community treats children with complex medical needs.

Video from my TEDx Talk was recently released online. Here’s what I hope people take away from it.

Pictured: Patient Lisa Wana

1. We can improve kids’ outcomes if we give them time away from their hospital beds.

I tell the story of Lisa, an adorable little girl who was born with life-threatening heart defects. She had three open heart surgeries in the first 14 months of her life and she needed tubes to help her breathe and eat.

Lisa had a DNR order, which stands for Do Not Resuscitate. Her family was prepared for the worst.

When Lisa was discharged from the acute care hospital, she came to us. We focused on developing her motor skills and allowed her the space to walk, play, and even dance.

After her time at Ranken Jordan, Lisa’s DNR order was reversed. I believe it was the opportunities we provided Lisa and our unique Care Beyond the Bedside model that gave her a future no one expected.

2. It is possible for really sick kids to play and still be safe.

Children with medical complex needs require a lot of technology, such as feeding tubes and oxygen tanks, to be safe, so I understand it’s difficult for these kids to leave their hospital bed.

But it’s not impossible. At Ranken Jordan, we’ve found ways to take the crucial equipment they need when they are in bed with them wherever they go. We even have a merry-go-round outside our building that even kids on life-support can use. Their equipment just goes along for the ride.

Pictured: Patient Lisa Wana

3. The healthcare community needs to focus on getting more really sick kids to adulthood.

Caring for very sick children is difficult, I get that. But we as a medical community need to look for more innovative ways to ensure these kids make it successfully to adulthood and have the most fulfilling life possible.

I believe the way to do that is by caring for the whole child, and not just a child’s medical needs. 80 percent of infants who are dependent on technology will have significant developmental delays.

We need to hold ourselves accountable and make hospitals more developmentally stimulating for these kids. We need to dedicate more research and resources to help very sick children achieve their greatest potential.

Help me spread the word

Our Care Beyond the Bedside model is built on the premise that, “the more you do, the more you can do” and we believe there’s so much more we can do for these kids.

I encourage you to share my TEDx Talk with your family and friends. To learn more about Ranken Jordan I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Together we can improve pediatric care for all children.

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