We welcomed 40 people to our May meeting. Dr. Sadof gave a brief update on staff changes at Baystate’s Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Pulmonology practices. He stated that the ultimate goal is to keep care local. For the immediate future, primary care providers will write prescriptions for stable patients, and each family will have care plans that include specialists in Boston, Worcester or Hartford. We understand that a 2-hour drive in the car is very hard on kids with medical complexities. Dr. Sadof stated that the drive itself will wipe out a kid.
In other updates, the group heard from 4-C’s Eric Volz-Benoit that the Massachusetts Early Intervention conference was excellent.
Jesse Hagerman, Manager of the Child Life Program at Baystate Children’s Hospital, and Deb Levine, LICSW at Baystate Medical Center, talked to the group about efforts to reduce any trauma that hospitalization has on a family. We know that some children experience many hospitalizations. The Child Life Program addresses the impact on the patient, as well as siblings, parents and other caregivers. Child Life provides age-appropriate explanations of hospital procedures, and guides families through expressing their emotions through play therapy, music therapy, and doll play. Therapists consider the unique needs of each child and family. Jesse affirmed that the Child Life Program teaches life-long skills in coping with trauma.
Our second speaker was Shelly Bathe-Lenn from The Garden, A Center for Grieving Children & Teens. The Garden helps families cope with death, no matter how long ago the death occurred. Schools identify families who have experienced death, and contacts The Garden. The Garden offers free support through group healing activities. Group meetings start with an all-ages healing circle, and moves onto healing activities for specific age groups. The Garden does not provide individual therapy, focusing instead on the shared experience of loss. Here is a story about one woman’s experience. The Garden will visit schools for group work with kids.
Shelly recommends The Dead Bird, by Margaret Wise Brown, as a sympathetic but unflinching children’s book about death.
The 4-C program announced a Luau for families and health care providers, to be held on Thu, June 23, 4-7pm at UMass Springfield, 1500 Main St. Join us!
Our next meeting is Wed, June 8, from 9:15-10:30am at Shriners. Please remember that we have no meetings in July & August.