Since its founding in 1988, The Society of MSKCC’s Patient Environment Program – also known as PEP – has funded projects aimed at enhancing Memorial Sloan Kettering’s facilities and the comfort of our patients.
In consultation with and guided by the hospital’s professional staff, the PEP Committee puts its time and resources into smaller patient care projects that are not included in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s budget. The committee is co-chaired by Kelly Forsberg and Alison Barr Howard.
“PEP is an outstanding example of The Society’s longstanding commitment to the comfort and well-being of patients and their families,” says Society President Annette U. Rickel. “And several recent projects have significantly enhanced the care of patients.”
For women waiting for outpatient treatment at the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, a Knitting Circle provides an opportunity to learn to knit or to continue working on a knitting project. Led by two expert knitters, the group cultivates a sense of community, and some patients continue to participate even after the completion of their treatment.
PEP funding has allowed the purchase of knitting supplies so that the group can continue to run at no cost to patient participants.
CinemaVision Goggles for Pediatric Patients
A grant from the PEP Committee has enabled the Department of Pediatrics to purchase a pair of CinemaVision goggles so that pediatric patients undergoing an MRI scan can watch DVDs — and even hear their parents — during the procedure.
The goggles help lower anxiety, keep children still, combat claustrophobia, and can decrease the need for sedation by 20 to 30 percent in patients between the ages of three and ten.
People with leukemia and lymphoma who require inpatient care are treated on the 12th floor of Memorial Hospital. Many are admitted several times over the course of their illness, often for lengthy stays.
Staff members working on the floor come to know the patients and their families well. When a patient passes away, the staff often wishes to honor these relationships. The PEP Committee fulfilled this request by helping to fund the purchase of special note cards containing meaningful, personalized messages that can be sent to a deceased patient’s loved ones.
Another project, Lasting Impresssions, is designed for patients entering into end-of-life care. Nurses and other clinicians give these patients and their family members the opportunity to create handprints of a dying loved one as a keepsake.
An intensive care unit nurse recently wrote to the PEP Committee describing the experience of one family: “We wanted to share the handprints we made of a patient and his 10-week-old daughter. After we cleaned the baby’s hands, her mother leaned her over her father’s head to give him a kiss. Your generous donation made this emotional and beautiful experience possible.”
Visit The Society of MSKCC’s website to donate and to learn more about the PEP Committee.