To provide better counseling and support services to patients and families afflicted by violence, Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago is partnering with CeaseFire Illinois to help those individuals cope with post-trauma grief.
CeaseFire, a violence-prevention public health program, will have responders on call 24 hours a day to answer Mount Sinai's calls within 30 minutes and aid with violence-related injuries, said Cara Pacione, the hospital's director of social services. The program, which is slated to begin by the end of March, is funded by a grant from the Michael Reese Health Trust, she added. The amount of the grant was not disclosed.
Mount Sinai Hospital's trauma center on the Southwest Side is one of four adult Level 1 trauma centers in the city and sees many patients with violence-related injuries.
“CeaseFire has a very good track record of de-escalating violent situations and helping to prevent retaliatory violence; so we're hoping that, in our community, they'll be able to do the same,” Pacione said. “Right now, patients and families are basically unsupported in the way that they will be when CeaseFire is implemented here.”
CeaseFire, founded in 1995, is the Illinois program partner of Cure Violence, a global violence-prevention organization. It operates in 16 communities in Chicago and in an additional five communities elsewhere in Illinois, according to the organization's website.
In addition to providing coping resources for Mount Sinai patients, CeaseFire responders will help with conflict mediation to address the likelihood of retaliatory violence. After immediate response, CeaseFire case managers will continue work with patients and families to help them heal and to connect them with local social services.
“We've seen the need for years,” Pacione said. “It's just going to be such a great addition to Mount Sinai.” Mount Sinai treated more than 1,700 trauma patients last year.
CeaseFire responders served more than 1,300 patients at Chicago-area hospitals in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available. CeaseFire works with such other local health care systems as Stroger Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to its website.
Sinai Health System, which includes Mount Sinai Hospital, had planned to build an adult Level 1 trauma center with University of Chicago Medicine at Sinai's Holy Cross Hospital on the Southwest Side, but U of C Medicine backed out in December to instead build the facility on its own campus.