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Home :: Volume 99 :: Issue 4
Rocking Chair Provides Soothing Connection for Doctor and New Mother
Mary Tuttle was thrilled when her doctor came to her home and built a rocking chair for her and her newborn daughter, Esther. “I was really excited because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford a rocking chair,” the Villa Park resident said.
Throughout Tuttle's pregnancy, Kenneth Ha, D.O., now a third-year resident with the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Family Medicine Residency program, had attended to her needs. He chose Tuttle as the recipient of a rocking chair through a special program sponsored by the American Association of Family Practice.
Residents in the Family Medicine Residency program began to participate in the national Rocking Chair Project last year, said Leslie Sleuwen, M.D., director of the maternal education program for the residency program.
A non-profit program, the Rocking Chair Project began three years ago with residents at an east-coast hospital. It has now spread to more than six programs throughout the country. The Rocking Chair Project provides glider rocking chairs to economically disadvantaged mothers to help them nurture themselves and their babies.
After reading an article about the project, Sleuwen decided she would like the residents in the Hinsdale Family Residency program to become involved locally.
Each second-year resident selects one mother-to-be from one of their continuous obstetrics patients, Sleuwen said. “They choose who they feel might benefit from a chair,” she said. The resident follows that patient throughout her pregnancy.
After the baby is born, the resident visits the patient in her home and puts together the rocking chair—a bonding experience for both new mom and physician.
The program is an excellent way for the medical residents to bond with their patients on a more personal basis, Sleuwen added. Last year residents donated ten rocking chairs; this year they will donate nine rocking chairs—one for each second-year resident. Being involved offered Ha a unique view into his patients’ lives.
Visiting Tuttle in her home offered new insight into patient care. “I could see how she and her baby were doing at home,” Ha said. “The experience added a whole new dimension in providing holistic healing.”
He also appreciated the fact that the rocking chair was a practical gift. “It was nice to be able to provide something they can use and enjoy,” Ha said.
Tuttle agreed that the program provided new insight into the patient/doctor relationship. “The program made me feel like Dr. Ha really cared about me and my family,” she said.
Having the rocking chair has also made it easier for her to bond with now six-month-old Esther. “It is so easy to just sit and rock with her,” Tuttle said. “I love it.”
Victoria Tedeschi, public relations specialist for Adventist Midwest Health
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