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UNDERGOING AN OPERATION can be frightening for anyone. For a patient with autism, surgery is even more daunting.

Multidisciplinary team recognized for individualizing care

05/Aug/2011

TEAM EFFORT: The team caring for Matt Lunn the day of his surgery was recognized by Slavin and the Excellence in Action Program on July 7.

UNDERGOING AN OPERATION can be frightening for anyone. For a patient with autism, surgery is even more daunting. This spring, a multidisciplinary team of more than 20 staff members went above and beyond in coordinating care for Matt Lunn, an adult patient with autism who required a surgical procedure as part of his ongoing care.

Working together with Lunn’s existing team of physicians and Zary Amirhosseini, MEd, MGH Disability Program manager, the surgical team – which included staff from the Ellison 3 Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, the Operating Rooms pediatric team, the Same Day Surgery Unit (SDSU) adult preoperative team and the Pre-Admission Testing Area – made sure the needs of Matt and his family were met and that the experience was as easy and comfortable as possible.

“Zary and multiple nurses called us to make arrangements prior to Matt’s surgery, and each asked many questions about Matt the person, not just Matt the patient,” says Sue, his mother. “Everyone who interacted with Matt on the day of surgery took the time to look at him, be at eye level, say his name and tell him what they were going to do. They even joked with him about his favorite singer, Elvis. Many of the staff involved in his treatment stopped by before and after the surgery to check in and see how things were going, and we were called the next day to make sure things were still OK.”

For their efforts, the team was recognized on July 7 by the Excellence in Action Program. The award program was created by Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, to honor employees for providing exceptional service. Slavin paid a visit to the group in the SDSU on Wang 3 to congratulate them and present the awards. He also read a letter Sue Lunn had written to thank them.

“The coordinated efforts of everyone made such a difference,” she wrote. “Everyone was so respectful and kind to us. It may have taken months to arrange the care for yesterday, but this was the perfect example of how adults like Matt with autism and numerous medical conditions can still be treated to get the care they need with kindness and compassion.” For more information about Excellence in Action, email Sharon Badgett-Lichten, LICSW, of the MGH/MGPO Service Excellence Department, at sbadgettlichten@partners.org.

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