Children's Doctor

Pediatric Reflections

Spring 2014

Trude Haecker, MD, and Cathy Timko, MSN, CRNP

Trude Haecker, MD, is Medical Director and Cathy Timko, MSN, CRNP, is Clinical Nurse Coordinator for International Patient Services (IPS).

Lessons from International Patients

When 3-year-old Yousef Alzaini came to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia nearly a year ago from his home country of Qatar, his Guillain–Barré syndrome had progressed to where he was completely paralyzed and relied on a ventilator to breathe. He was brought via air ambulance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where neurologist Daniel Licht, MD, oversaw his comprehensive treatment.

After a year of intensive inpatient and outpatient therapy— including significant time in rehabilitation—Yousef is talking, running and preparing to return home. CHOP changed Yousef ’s life for the better by pulling from its immense pool of resources to deliver care that was medically and culturally appropriate.

This is also a story of care coordination at its most complex, involving a multidepartmental team that included International Patient Services (IPS), Neurology, intensive and progressive care units, ENT, Rehabilitation Medicine, Children’s Seashore House rehab unit, inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy, Interpreter Services, and Social Work.

International patients create an opportunity for CHOP providers to care for some of the most medically complex patients in the world, to advance clinical knowledge—especially for trainees who gain exposure they might not otherwise—and to diversify our revenue stream. Our trainees learn how to interact with patients and families from a variety of different cultures; 90 different countries have been represented since 2010. Nearly 60% of international patients come from the Gulf region, in particular from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

The distinct aspects of IPS below were developed to enhance the care experience for international patients, but can apply to all medically complex patients.


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