Skip to content

PHS Top Spots: Favorite Blog, Online Group or Podcast Runner Up

PHS recently announced our list of 2020 PHS Top Spots winners. While we are just as excited to celebrate these amazing organizations as we have been in past years, most celebrations for these recipients will be taking place virtually. The current social distancing recommendations give us an opportunity to share more insights on our blog as to what makes these groups and organizations stand-outs on our 2020 Top Spots list.

PHS Top Spots: Favorite Blog, Online Group or Podcast Runner Up

We are so thankful and happy to receive this recognition,” said Nick Hanson, social media manager for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. “It’s really exciting to hear this recognition is from a group of families saying they value us and our presence and our ability to connect. Coming from patients makes this recognition just much more valuable.”

A Community For All

Children who have disabilities and complex medical needs and their families have been at the center of Gillette’s mission for more than 120 years. “Our kids don’t just have a surgery and go home,” said Nick. “Our kids are lifelong patients and get to know each other.”

Gillette’s online support groups help to foster those relationships. The variety of online groups they host and the content they provide helped to place Gillette as a PHS Top Spot in 2020.

The hospital hosts several pages that are condition specific. The narrow focus helps families connect with others facing similar diagnoses and share their experiences with treatments and doctors and recommendations for durable medical equipment providers. The private page becomes a safe space to ask the community questions ranging from symptoms to advice on adaptive equipment.

“A child’s condition doesn’t seem quite as rare when they can connect with others like them,” said Nick.

“The online aspect of community is really nice. Suddenly the family’s world doesn’t seem so small.”

Connecting in the Time of COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, Gillette’s patients have been exceptionally vulnerable to feelings of isolation and loneliness because of their compromised immune systems. These online forums have become even more valuable as people seek out connections and ways to interact while staying home.

Gillette’s been able to provide more than connections and support. They are also providing entertainment. This summer the hospital began providing weekly live music therapy sessions. Site administrators say they are seeing many of the same families logging on week after week. The musicians take requests, interact with their audience and give birthday shout-outs.

This summer they also hosted virtual Camp Gillette sessions. They provided traditional arts and crafts, and planned home activities to get the campers moving. In lieu of field trips, Camp Gillette partnered with Microsoft to offer virtual tours and programming at museums like the Smithsonian.

All Access

Gillette’s main pages are not condition specific and are open to the public. They also host a Humans of Gillette page that features both providers and patients. “Follow us on Facebook to bring a bright spot to your day,” said Nick. “We are all about ‘can’ and stories of success and milestones. There are a lot of neat moments for all families to enjoy.”

Condition Specific Resource Groups:

Cerebral Palsy Resource Group

Spina Bifida Resource Group

Scoliosis Resource Group

Originally published: December 28, 2020