Keeping Kids Healthy

by Lauren Hoefert, OSF HealthCare
Photo by Jim Carlson

From wellness education to telemedicine and transitional care, pediatric care is a top priority.

At OSF HealthCare, pediatric care doesn’t start in a healthcare setting. It starts with prevention. That’s why Dr. Divya Joshi, CEO of OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois, has made it a priority to team up with area schools and organizations to bring wellness education to the community.

Recently, OSF HealthCare partnered with United Way, the Department of Public Health and Peoria Public Schools in an effort to help develop the district’s mental health program by providing education on suicide prevention—the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 24—through the schools’ Parent University.

“United Way has created a “teach the teacher” curriculum for social behavioral issues in childhood, and we are helping the Peoria school district with screening children at high risk,” Dr. Joshi explains. “We are also educating teachers on anxiety and depression in childhood.”

OSF HealthCare is also collaborating with Peoria law enforcement in their work to decrease youth violence. And new this year, OSF HealthCare hosted three wellness events called Healthy Lives 4 Kids in and around Peoria to raise awareness about healthy eating, self-esteem, physical activity and sleep for children and teenagers.

Breaking Location Barriers
For patients living in rural communities, it may not always be possible to travel to Peoria to see one of the specialists at OSF Children’s Hospital. So OSF HealthCare is making the delivery of care more accessible through the use of telemedicine and 17 satellite clinics throughout Illinois.

Telemedicine visits bridge the gap virtually, in real-time, between patients—in either a hospital setting or a doctor’s office—and the provider best-suited to evaluate and collaborate on treatment planning.

“If a doctor seeing a child at a community hospital emergency room needs advice, the doctor can directly connect with an expert at OSF Children’s Hospital, and the family might not have to travel to Peoria,” Dr. Joshi notes. “In the coming year, we’ll continue to develop methods to connect with patients and providers to bring care close to home through telemedicine and other technology.”

However, if patients require face-to-face consultations with OSF Children’s Hospital specialists, the hospital has 17 satellite clinics where the specialists see patients on a rotating basis, focusing on pediatric specialties like congenital heart, general surgery and oncology.

Pediatric Transitional Care
With increasing numbers of children with complex medical conditions, OSF Children’s Hospital has seen a need for pediatric transitional care in the area. In the summer of 2018, OSF Children’s Hospital will open Almost Home Kids in Peoria to serve the needs of children with medical complexities and their families. Children will be able to receive 24-hour medical and nursing support from skilled pediatric nurses in a comforting, home-like setting.

“Almost Home Kids allows children to be released from the hospital when they’re medically ready, so parents can have an opportunity to learn how to care for their child before going home,” Dr. Joshi explains. “It will be a place where children can be children while also receiving the care they need.” iBi

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