Beyond the Frame: Lessons on Respect & Dignity

When Julie Miller, DO, pediatric physical medicine rehabilitation specialist with ProMedica was first asked to be a part of Beyond the Frame, a permanent photography installation in the main lobby of ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital, she immediately thought, “Why me?”

Dr. Miller may have been a little camera shy, but her understanding of Patient and Family-Centered Care, especially when considering the elements of respect and dignity, made her an ideal subject. Every day, Dr. Miller works with children who have special needs, mostly physical disabilities.

Treating Patients With Respect and Dignity

“One of the main rules in my office is to see the child first,” Dr. Miller says. “It’s important for staff to realize that each child is a person who has feelings. And each family is as important as anyone else. Respecting the child and the family is key.”

In addition to seeing the patient as person first, and the diagnosis second, respect and dignity also means honoring the family’s background, including any cultural, religious, or philosophical preferences, Dr. Miller explains. Going the extra step to understand why a certain procedure may go against a patient’s belief system is one way to show your respect.

Dr. Miller states that respect is also demonstrated when a physician asks about a parent or patient’s stressors. Helping to alleviate some of that stress by offering an open ear shows respect for their situation.

“It comes down to appreciating what patients and families are bringing to the table, as well as what we, as physicians, can offer.”

Becoming a Photography Subject

Participating in Beyond the Frame continues to be a great experience for Dr. Miller, who chose to be photographed with a family who comes to her practice.

“They were going through a lot of struggles at the time the photos were taken,” Dr. Miller says.  “There had been a recent death, and the young lady was struggling with her disability, asking questions like ‘Why me?’ and “Why am I different.’ I thought that asking them to be a part of the exhibit with me would be uplifting for the family. But it ended up being even more meaningful to me.”

Dr. Miller fondly remembers the original photo shoot, claiming that photographer Rick Guidotti of Positive Exposure “had more energy than anyone I’d ever been with in a short period of time.”

“We all loved it,” she says. “He took photos that all of us will cherish forever.”Photo Oct 10, 10 49 02 AM

Going Beyond the Frame

Beyond the Frame has been over a year in the making, thanks to a dedicated group of families associated with the ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council. The group meets monthly and provides a voice for families and patients who use ProMedica’s hospitals and services. The exhibit is just one example of the educational and collaborative work they’ve done with support from hospital administration.

“The group is dynamic and diversified, and they are helping to bring our programs at Toledo Children’s Hospital more family and patient-sensitive and appropriate,” Dr. Miller says. “These families include some of the most dedicated parents you will meet. To see their kids blossom under their love and guidance is remarkable.”

Beyond the Frame will be on permanent exhibit at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital and feature 30 photos highlighting the beautiful interactions between patients, their families and hospital staff. Click here to learn more about the Family Advisory Council at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital.

To connect with Dr. Miller and other participants in the Beyond the Frame exhibit, please use #BeyondTheFrame to share an inspiring message.