Patient Education and Support - MetroHealth
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Patient Education and Support

Classes, support groups and volunteer services help patients and their families become active partners in their health and healing.


MetroHealth hosts meetings and open discussion to support members of the community who are interested in getting sober and/or remaining sober.

  • Meetings follow the official Alcoholics Anonymous® protocol.


This group provides a continuum of care to address the ongoing needs of burn survivors and their families.

  • There are two options, a weekly group held during the day and a monthly group in the evening. The groups are open-ended and provide individuals with the opportunity to:
    • Address common practical concerns such as wound/skin care, use of pressure garments and exercise
    • Gain emotional support and share feelings about the hospital experience and recovery process
    • Discuss how life has changed since the  injury and learn from others who are coping with similar situations
    • Discuss concerns regarding returning to work, school and community
    • Discuss issues related to body image and image enhancement
  • Group members and their families may participate in structured group activities that promote socialization and community re-entry.
  • Group members can reach out to other burn survivors for peer support and participate in the pediatric burn camp as mentors and role models to child burn survivors.
  • Burn survivors also have the opportunity to attend the Phoenix World Burn Congress and engage in community activities that promote education and public awareness.


Current and soon-to-be dads are offered a hands-on chance to learn how to care for their babies, with the help of a male instructor, veteran dads and real babies.

  • Financially supported by the Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative, MetroHealth administers the program for nine collaborating birthing hospitals, the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center and the Cuyahoga County Community Based Correctional Facility.
  • MetroHealth Boot Camp sessions are offered at MetroHealth Medical Center and MetroHealth Broadway Health Center.
  • The classes are free.


The MetroHealth Breastfeeding Clinic is a resource for mothers and their children to receive high quality medical care for any issue related to breastfeeding, both before and after delivery.

  • The clinic is staffed by a nurse practitioner and family physician, both certified as lactation consultants.
  • The clinic provides medical evaluation and diagnosis of issues associated with breastfeeding including infant weight gain, breast or nipple pain or infections, tongue-tie, medical conditions affecting breastfeeding, adoption or reestablishing milk supply.
  • These medical visits are covered by most insurance.


Free classes prepare parents for what to expect and do during labor and birth to help reduce anxiety and replace fear with knowledge.

  • Expectant mothers and fathers are shown a range of ways to be more comfortable during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Classes help them make informed decisions about their own care and their infant’s care.
  • Childbirth Preparation Classes are offered at MetroHealth Medical Center, MetroHealth Middleburg Heights November Family Health Center and MetroHealth Broadway Health Center.
  • Each five-week course ends with a tour of the birthing center at MetroHealth Medical Center including a look at birthing suites and patient rooms.


Compass Services is a free program that guides people living with HIV/AIDS along the path to wellness.

  • Services offered include counseling for the newly diagnosed, support groups, peer navigation, special programming and a smartphone app called Positive Peers, created by MetroHealth to keep youth and young adults (ages 13-34) in HIV care.
  • Compass Services programs and staff are funded through generous grants and other public and private sources.
  • Since the program’s 2008 inception, about 100 individuals newly diagnosed with HIV receive individualized counseling, education and linkage to care each year, for a total of nearly 900.
  • In 2016, Compass Services offered more than 70 support groups for people living with HIV.
  • The multifaceted Peer Support Program is designed to encourage and help patients learn how to successfully live with HIV. There are 45 trained HIV+ Navigators who provide support to other patients as needed. Some are paired with patients and others visit patients who are hospitalized. A peer-written blog is also a source of interaction and encouragement.
  • In 2015, Compass Services assisted 10 local families with creating quilt panels prior to MetroHealth’s hosting its biennial display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. MetroHealth will be hosting again in November and December 2017.


Patients, visitors and staff of MetroHealth have easy access to the resources of Cuyahoga County Public Library through a service point at MetroHealth Medical Center.

  • In addition to books, DVDs and magazines, branch visitors can find a special section dedicated to pediatrics and parenting.
  • The location also offers computers, a fax and copy machine and a dropbox for after-hours returns.
  • The library is staffed by a librarian and a clerk.


WIC is a federally funded food supplement and nutrition education program.

  • It serves pregnant and breast-feeding women, and children up to the age of 5 who are at risk due to inadequate nutrition.
  • Administered in Cuyahoga County by The MetroHealth System, the program operates 20 sites and serves more than 27,000 participants each month throughout the county.
  • WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, nutritious foods, iron-fortified infant formula and referral to health care and human service programs.


A series of group and individual classes, taught by certified diabetes educators (dietitians and nurses), is offered at MetroHealth Medical Center and MetroHealth Buckeye Health Center.

  • The MetroHealth Diabetes Self-Management Program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting the standards of diabetes education.
  • Sessions cover topics such as labs and medications, nutrition, physical activity, stress management and how to prevent diabetes-related complications.
  • Participants who complete the program show improvement in blood glucose levels.
  • An ongoing diabetes support group is also offered.


A doula assists a woman before, during and after childbirth by providing physical assistance and emotional support.

  • MetroHealth offers the only free hospital-based doula program in the area.
  • Studies show that labors with doulas are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
  • MetroHealth’s volunteer doulas provide support particularly for mothers whose partners are not participating in the birth.


The Healing Hearts fund offers a grieving family financial help for burial or cremation of their premature or newborn child.

  • In addition to alleviating some stress for the family, the fund assures that the child’s remains are put to rest with dignity.
  • The Healing Hearts fund is administered by MetroHealth’s Pastoral Care Department with support from MetroHealth’s neonatology staff.


Staff provide interpretation services for patients with limited English proficiency, hearing and sight impairments and patients requiring literacy support.

  • Patients and providers have access to multilingual and cultural communications support with interpretation, translation and translated patient education materials.
  • All staff are fluent in English and Spanish and have access to interpreters fluent in more than 200 languages.
  • The services are free.


The Pediatrics Department and the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) have partnered to provide newborn babies at MetroHealth with a library card before they leave the hospital.

  • The library cards are inserted into CCPL’s “Baby & Me” early literacy kits and delivered to new mothers and babies by volunteers at MetroHealth.
  • The volunteers show mothers how they can use the kit and new library card to begin the important work of reading to their infants and continuing to do so as their children grow.
  • In 2016, 813 literacy kits were distributed.


Parents and other adults who have dealt with the stress and anxiety of having a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) volunteer as advisors in a support group for others going through the same experience.

  • The group provides a calm environment for parents or other adults closely involved with the child’s care to share experiences, voice concerns, connect with others and be supported during and after their child is in the NICU.


Peer support helpers, who are currently breastfeeding or have recently, serve as an encouraging resource for expectant women and new moms.

  • Ohio’s breastfeeding rate is 47th nationally, and according to the Ohio Department of Health, breastfeeding is clearly linked to reduced infant mortality and prevention of illness for mother and child.
  • MetroHealth’s peer support helpers are available to meet with women at their prenatal visits at MetroHealth Medical Center and offer individual education sessions on breastfeeding.
  • Peers follow up with women after they deliver and remain available by phone and at weekly breastfeeding support groups.


A baby should sleep alone, on its back in a crib or a portable crib, not in the parent’s bed, on a couch or air mattress. Infant mortality, defined as an infant death before a baby’s first birthday, has climbed to alarming levels and safe sleep is a part of the solution.

  • The 2015 Cuyahoga County infant mortality rate (most recent data available) is the highest it has been in the last seven years.
  • Infant deaths increased by 28 percent in 2015. More than 75 percent of sleep-related deaths occurred among black infants.
  • In 2015, 27 babies in Cuyahoga County died in unsafe sleep environments, and according to the Child Fatality Review report from Cuyahoga County this is a 42 percent increase from 2014.
  • The State of Ohio mandates that every birthing hospital ask every mom upon discharge if she has a safe place for the baby to sleep. All hospitals are required to educate mothers about Safe Sleep and have a referral site for free cribs or portable cribs when a mom answers that she does not already have a safe place for her baby to sleep. MetroHealth refers mothers to the Cuyahoga County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) “Cribs for Kids” program.
  • MetroHealth offers Boot Camp for New Dads, a hands-on infant care class taught by experienced dads. In 2016, MetroHealth obtained funding from the local Fatherhood Initiative to offer fathers who attend any Boot Camp for New Dads in Cuyahoga County a free portable crib if they live in a separate home from the baby’s mother. This assures that mom and dad each have a safe sleep space for their child.


This free, one-time class helps children ages 2-10 understand the important role they will play in their family when their brother or sister is born.

  • It includes hands-on help with how to gently hold and interact with a baby.
  • The class eases a child’s anxiety by showing where Mom is going to have the baby and what a new baby looks like.
  • Children 11 and older are invited to attend a prenatal tour with their parents.


The American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® Program is offered at MetroHealth Medical Center and MetroHealth community health centers.

  • This eight-session program provides the skills, tools and support needed to successfully stop smoking.
  • Classes are free and open to all adults 18 years of age and older.
  • Nicotine replacement products are available for class participants and are free to those who qualify.
  • In 2016, 50 individuals completed the classes.


Recovering and recovered patients and families, along with care givers, connect with one another to help rebuild lives after a serious medical condition or injury.

  • This program began in 2013 as the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) to help patients with traumatic injuries. MetroHealth’s TSN is one of only six nationwide.
  • Its outstanding success in helping trauma survivors with mental healing as well as physical healing, opened the doors for more services.
  • In 2016, programming expanded to include support groups for individuals and families affected by brain injury, amputation, stays in the infectious disease unit or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). It also addresses bariatric surgery and cardiovascular patients.
  • Recovery services include: nurse and provider debriefing, community/first-responder presentations, peer volunteer and mentorship training, recovery service consultation and individual patient and family coaching.
  • A key component is the peer visitor program that brings together former and current patients and their families to assist with the healing process. It begins in the hospital and continues after discharge.
  • In 2016, volunteers donated more than 500 hours of their time visiting patients and participating in other support activities.
  • Plans in 2017 include expansion to work with victims of crime and identifying prevention opportunities through MetroHealth’s emergency departments.


  • Aamoth Family Pediatric Wellness Center
    Assistance with nutrition and fitness classes for children
  • Ambassadors
    Greeting patients and visitors, and assisting by escorting patients and visitors or pushing patients in wheelchairs to their destination; offering items from the hospitality cart
    Locations: Brecksville Health Center, Cleveland Heights Medical Offices, Parma Medical Offices and Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Burn Center Support
    Burn survivors trained for visiting with patients and discussing the recovery process, and participating in support group for patients and families
  • Cancer Care
    Providing comfort items to patients undergoing treatment
  • Child Life
    Interacting with and providing activities for infants and children in a playroom and at the bedside
  • Clothing Distribution
    Labeling and sorting clothing for distribution to foster care, the emergency department and inpatient floors
  • Critical Care Pavilion
    Providing hospitality and wayfinding assistance to visitors and non-clinical support to patients on the intensive care floors
  • Doula
    Providing emotional support and comfort measures to women during labor and delivery. Doula training offered by Doulas of North America (DONA) is required
  • Emergency Department
    Offering non-medical assistance to patients and families in MetroHealth’s Level I Adult Trauma Center at main campus and Emergency Departments at Brecksville, Cleveland Heights and Parma
  • Greenhouse
    Watering and misting plants
  • Greeters
    Greeting patients and visitors, escorting patients and providing directions
  • Hospitality Rounds
    Visiting hospitalized patients and offering comfort items such as playing cards, lip balm, puzzle books
  • Infant Comforter
    Providing nurturing support by holding and rocking infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Newborn Nursery
  • Loving Paws at MetroHealth
    Bringing dogs to visit patients and families. Dogs must be certified through Therapy Dogs International or Pet Partners
  • New Baby Literacy Liaison
    In collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Public Library, visiting new parents to promote the importance of reading to their babies, and distributing New Baby Literacy Kits and library cards
  • No One Dies Alone
    Providing a reassuring presence at the bedside of dying patients who would otherwise be alone at the end of life
  • Pastoral Care
    Assisting chaplains in meeting spiritual needs of patients of all faiths
  • Patient and Family Advisor Program
    Patients and family members offering information to improve the patient experience
  • Patient Safety Rounding
    Visiting hospitalized patients and explaining safety measures to prevent falls
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy – Inpatient & Outpatient
    Providing non-technical assistance as directed by therapist, pushing patients in wheelchairs
  • Reach Out and Read
    Reading to young children in pediatric waiting areas, demonstrating the importance that reading has in a child’s development
  • Reach Out and Read Plus
    Reading aloud to children waiting for outpatient appointments, showing parents and children how to use iPads and smartphone apps to promote literacy skills
  • Rehabilitation Patient Activities
    Assisting with activities at MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio under the direction of art, music and recreation therapists
  • Reiki
    In MetroHealth’s Hands to Heart Reiki Clinic, qualified volunteers offering Reiki appointments to patients and employees in need of a healing touch. Training is required through the second level of Reiki and preferably Master Level
  • Resident Enrichment Activities
    Engaging long-term care residents in a variety of activities including coffee hour, friendly visits, special events and more
  • Ronald McDonald Family Room at MetroHealth
    Acting as the host or hostess of this special room and helping provide a friendly, relaxing and supportive environment for families that are dealing with the illness of their children
  • Spinal Cord Peer Support
    Training peer visitors who have successfully adapted to a spinal cord injury to visit with patients and discuss the recovery  process
  • Spirit of Music at MetroHealth
    Making music part of the healing process by sharing vocal or instrumental talent with patients and visitors
  • Stroke Support Group
    Greeting and helping facilitate monthly support group meeting
  • Surgery Center
    Greeting patients and visitors in ambulatory surgery center, escorting patients to changing area, checking on patients in recovery
  • Trauma Survivors Network
    Trained peer visitors who have survived a traumatic injury visiting with newly injured patients and offering support
  • Wheelchair Roundup
    Recovering wheelchairs from various hospital locations
  • Wig Salon
    A program of the American Cancer Society, staffing the salon to provide free wigs to women undergoing treatment who cannot afford them