From not being at home to missing school and varying social events, hospital stays cause added stress to a child’s life during important developmental years. Because of these significant circumstances, patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center have very specialized needs. In order to meet these varying needs, Jewel Charity is thrilled to announce our newest program: Care4Kids. While still providing for the health and well-being of the patient families at Cook Children’s, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to show our compassion for the future of Texas. The four different programs that Care4Kids focuses on help to fill the gap between emotional and physical care.
This program gives you an opportunity to share your heart with the patient families of Cook Children’s. When you pick your passion, the patients will be given tangible items to comfort and care for them now and for a lifetime. It is our hope that you feel as strongly about the importance of these four programs as we do.
Camp for Kids provides patients an opportunity to experience summer camp with kids who share their same diagnosis, at no cost to the patient families. This helps the patients realize that they are not facing their daily challenges alone.
Buddy Bags are given to every child at Camp Sanguinity (focused on Hematology and Oncology patients) and Camp Broncho (focused on asthma patients). Buddy Bags are provided to each of these camp participants and include the following essentials for children to use during their time at camp: towels, water shoes and backpacks.
Jill Koss, Director of Family Support Services and Child Life, said “We supply them with essentials they most likely didn’t come to camp with. A lot of campers don’t show up with towels, so this assures that they all have that to use during the week. Having something to store your camp stuff in is important, and campers do not usually show up with something to carry camp items in. Camp is a closed-toe environment, and most campers only show up with one pair of shoes, so by providing water shoes it allows them to keep their one pair of shoes dry, and they use the water shoes for water games and going to the pool.”
When families arrive at Cook Children’s Medical Center, their focus is on the child. Most parents are not concerned about what their next meal will be, and don’t anticipate staying at the hospital for more than a few days. Some families don’t have time to grab their personal belongings (like a wallet) when they leave for the hospital. This is where our case management team comes in. Many times staff will identify family members of patients who are hungry and need meal assistance while at the Medical Center. Last year, our case management team served 769 families from our donor fund.
Our social workers see these instances first-hand. This is one of their favorite stories: A 10-year old girl was admitted to Cook Children’s for stomach issues. They had to leave so quickly that her grandmother, who is her primary guardian, did not have time to get her belongings together. She had a little bit of money on a Visa gift card, but ran out of this quickly. We were able to assist her with a gift card to help pay for some food for herself so she could care for her very ill granddaughter.
In an unfortunate statistic, Texas leads the nation in pool drownings. Last year, Cook Children’s Medical Center had 75 non-fatal drownings and 8 fatal drownings. Safe Kids Tarrant County led by Cook Children’s is the implementation arm of our drowning prevention program and works to educate caregivers on swimming safety awareness by providing Water Safety Kits.
Safe Kids Tarrant County is working on prevention by providing life vests and educational information to the parents of the most at-risk population for drowning – children ages 1-4. Safe life vests are U.S. Coast Guard approved, and change with the child’s weight. Educational materials include a “Water Watcher” tag, where parents or caregivers take turns providing their undivided attention to the children in the water.
Dana Walraven, Community Health Outreach Manager and Safe Kids Tarrant County Coordinator, knows that water safety is vital for families: “This is a great guide that navigates the ‘how-to’ of reaching out to parent groups, as well as local Head Start and pre-school programs. Life vests are one of many important Best Practice strategies called Layers of Protection. Life Vests help to keep a swimmer’s head above the water in order to get the air needed to breathe in case of emergency. Whether in a pool, lake, boat or other…have fun and remember to stay safe and LIFEGUARD YOUR CHILD!”
The Sit…Stay…PLAY program at Cook Children’s provides a dose of fun to our patients. However, beyond the fun, there is a science to the healing offered by this donor-funded program.
- Ralph sees patients throughout the medical center by staff referral.
- Chanel visits patients in the Neurology Clinic as well as the Pain Management Team.
- Journey visits patients in the Critical and Acute care units
- Kitty works with CARE Team members
- Lulu recently joined the Rees-Jones Behavioral Health Center staff
Support in this area will assist with food, vet bills, grooming and training for staff and our five therapy dogs.
Kizzy Marco, our Child Life Zone Program Coordinator, witnesses the magic our therapy dogs bring to our patients and families every day: “Sometimes our patients are really down and they miss their dog at home. Or, a physician might call me and say ‘My patient just had surgery and all they need to be able to go home is to walk and they refuse to walk.’ Then you put a dog leash in their hand and that patient is walking down the hall.”