Books to Bedside Project
John Sealy Hospital boasts doctors on the cutting edge of medicine. They are well
trained, competent, amiable, and focused on constantly improving their facilities
and clinics. Driven by this passion for patient care, we of course would be remiss
if we didn't ask ourselves, "What else can we do?" That is, we treat and medicate
but do not possess magic wands to fast-forward the time lonely patients spend confined
supinely to their beds, trying to convalesce, say, with old cable series reruns
as their least mind-numbing filler. Television has its place for sure; reading,
however, not only opens up new worlds, taking the patient far from the sterile and
lonely hospital room, but it also stimulates the mind and fosters pride in one's
mental capacities. When the subject is purposefully selected–a Louis L'Amour
Western or a picture book of Texas wildflowers, it can even be a restorative, therapeutic
tool. Hospitals have embraced and practiced this (bibliotherapy) for nearly a century,
and its efficacy as a therapy is documented, which also makes it a boon, under the
UTMB mission, to the practice of evidence-based medicine.
Our hospital, however, has no such program.
Outside of a small and mostly unknown collection of donated books that Volunteer
Services has in storage to hand out to interested patients, the infirm at John Sealy
must provide their own books and magazines. As a result, they may not be utilizing
an almost universally usable tool toward recovery whose value physicians in nearly
every specialty, from pediatrics to psychiatry, have recognized.
Our long-term objectives are to have an established program in the hospital that
is well known to patients and staff and can provide books with a variety of reading
levels and subjects to all patients with ease and efficiency. We envision B2B as
a unique, rewarding and therapeutic part of the patient experience at John Sealy
Hospital. This project will recognize the shared interests of the university and
its surrounding community in promoting a vibrant and supportive environment by also
encouraging support from non-hospital individuals who are looking for ways to get
involved in the community. Volunteers will help promote UTMB's hallmark patient-first
philosophy and offer a personal, compassionate touch to the delivery of healthcare.
The goals of the project are as follows:
- To better serve our patients via a friendlier healing environment that gives them
free and better access to more than 4,000 books already donated by our community.
- To encourage reading in our patient population.
- To encourage students to interact with patients through the personal delivery of
books to patients.
Plans are currently underway to develop this library which is part of the overall
renovation of the lobby of John Sealy Hospital.