Scott and Elizabeth Stephens know what it means to grieve the loss of a baby. In their son’s memory, the Stephens family created the Gus Owen Stephens Foundation to support children, families and medical professionals in pediatric palliative care. Generous support from the foundation enabled University Hospital to create two “Butterfly Bereavement Rooms,” which provide specialized support and comfort for end-of-life pediatric patients and families. The rooms include quilts, artwork and thoughtful details to recreate the warmth of home.
The Gus Owen Stephens Foundation also helped to inform and expand the perinatal palliative care program for University Hospital. In addition to the Butterfly Bereavement Rooms, the $289,000 grant over three years includes a full-time perinatal care coordinator to help manage compassionate collaborative care and provide professional emotional support every step of the way.
As the program was being designed, the team realized there was a small room in the department that was underutilized. Through thoughtful consideration and support from integrated teams, the room was reimagined as a space with new purpose. Today, it’s a small sanctuary for siblings to feel more comfortable. Thanks to the law office of Hilley & Solis and their gift to the University Health Foundation, it’s now outfitted with a computer and kids’ activities, and can be appreciated as a quiet place for doctors and families to meet.
The University Health Palliative Care Team won the 2019 Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association (AHA), for raising the bar to meet the needs of patients and families (see page 28).