An article from the Summer 2012 issue of MedStar Georgetown Pediatrics.
When a child is sick, the whole family hurts. MedStar Georgetown recognizes that when it comes to caring for children, offering world class medical and surgical care is just the beginning. “We firmly believe that addressing the emotional and social needs of the entire family is crucial to the well-being of every child,” says David B. Nelson, MD, chair, Department of Pediatrics.
Our team of physicians; nurse practitioners; nurses; social workers; physical, occupational and art therapists; chaplains; child life specialists and other staff provide children with “family-centered care” in which families get the emotional and practical support they need during a medical crisis. That high level of care includes helping children cope with the challenges of illness and being away from home at a hospital.
“Some of our programs help parents get the support, nutrition and rest they need to be there for their children,” adds Dr. Nelson. Many of these services are funded through the kindness and generosity of family members and friends of former pediatric patients. Some of the funding comes from businesses demonstrating what it means to be a good corporate citizen for the Washington, D.C., community.
MedStar Georgetown Pediatrics Takes Care on the Road
MedStar Georgetown’s “blanket of care” approach extends to children and families who do not have access to medical care. The KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile has been rolling into some of Washington, D.C.’s, underserved neighborhoods on weekdays since 1992. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) recently awarded the Mobile Clinic/ Care Mobile a gift of $225,000 over three years, which will enable more children to visit the van for their pediatric and adolescent care. This gift follows a previous donation of $150,000 from CareFirst to this program. The Mobile Clinic/Care Mobile maintains electronic medical records for each child. Social workers and mental health professionals work on site to ensure that kids and their parents have the knowledge and tools to manage their health.
“It’s because of our donors, from corporations such as CareFirst, right down to grassroots events, like the MedStar Georgetown Pediatrics Gala, that thousands of Washington, D.C.’s, most vulnerable children have a medical home where their doctors not only know and care about them, but understand the world in which they live,” notes Matthew D. Levy, MD, medical director, Community Pediatrics.
Mobile Clinic Provides “Blanket of Care”
The KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/ Ronald McDonald Care Mobile was founded on the belief that every child, regardless of financial means, deserves high-quality, community based, comprehensive care. Children are surrounded with a “blanket of care” within the scope of the program’s key areas including:
- Comprehensive pediatric and adolescent health care
- Child advocacy and mental health
- Social services
- Education and outreach
- D.C. HOYA Clinic.
The comprehensive healthcare model offers children the following services:
- School, sports and summer camp physicals
- Well and sick visits
- Tuberculosis screenings
- Hearing and vision screenings
- Gynecologic services
- Referrals to specialists as needed
- Medical management for chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
For general information and eligibility criteria, call 202-444-8888.
Generous Donors Expand Child Life Program
Child Life Program specialists help children cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness and hospitalization. Since 2003, Hope for Henry has been improving the lives of children who have cancer and other serious illnesses by providing carefully chosen gifts and specially designed programs to entertain and promote comfort, care and recovery. With their help, the Child Life Program staff bring more smiles and laughter, hope and magic into the lives of hospitalized children and their families.
Hope for Henry was founded to honor the legacy of Henry Strongin Goldberg, a Washington, D.C., resident who had received care at MedStar Georgetown for Fanconi’s Anemia, a rare disease that mainly affects the bone marrow.
Another source of support, the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, provided funding to MedStar Georgetown for an additional Child Life specialist last year.
When Mattie, the son of founders Vicki and Peter Brown, was hospitalized at MedStar Georgetown for osteosarcoma, a very aggressive bone cancer, the Child Life team made a huge difference in the quality and well-being of his day-today life. The experience prompted his parents to found the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation in his honor. “Our mission is to address the psychosocial and emotional needs of families battling cancer,” says Vicki.
“Beyond the great clinical care Mattie received at Georgetown, the contributions of the therapists, social workers and chaplains who were part of our team were equally important during that difficult time for our family,” Vicki says.
“Our job is to help hospitalized children feel comfortable and safe,” explains Linda Kim, director, Child Life Program, MedStar Georgetown. “Thanks to the generosity of these two groups and the many others who donate to Child Life, we are able to give more children the support they need.”