The University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago has housed a sickle cell center for adults for the past 25 years. Recently, in efforts to support patients throughout life and debunk myths about the condition, it has opened a new acute care treatment center to manage uncomplicated pain crisis.
In the past, chronic pain treatment associated with sickle cell disease was coupled with the lack of knowledge, racial discrimination and repeated emergency department visits that contributed to a troubled relationship between patients and nurses.
Boney Johnson MSN, RN at the Center said ‘It wasn't until she began a sickle cell support group and engaged with patients during healthy moments that she realized the degree of misunderstanding that exists when sickle cell disease is mentioned.’ Johnson also noted, “The emergency department was the biggest fear for a patient with sickle cell disease because they have to wait so long to be seen. The patients also feel confronted by unwanted bias in the emergency department.”
She notes, “Our purpose with the acute care center is to provide them with immediate treatment for pain." According to a recent article by Robin Hocevar, “A generation ago, the idea of even having an adult unit for patients with sickle cell disease was unheard of. According to the Sickle Cell Disease Association, the average life expectancy for patients with sickle cell disease is on the increase and currently stands in the mid-40s.”
The University of Chicago has responded to the needs of their community with 85 percent of the state's residents with sickle cell disease that have Cook County address.
Bravo!!!! University of Illinois Medical Center….let others follow your lead.