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Addressing Psychosocial Healthcare for Children and Families

Ashland Health Center Creates a Unique Pediatric Room Within a Rural Health System

Inserted Image(Ashland, KS – October 23, 2014) – Going to the doctor and especially staying in the hospital is scary for many adults. Imagine what it’s like for a child. As any parent can attest, when a child is sick, helping them feel better is the entire focus. That’s why at Ashland Health, we believe that when a sick child enters our doors, we cannot simply treat the physical illness, we must also address the emotional needs of the patient and family – referred to as psychosocial healthcare.

Children normally depend on family to meet all needs – both physically and emotionally. While their child is being treated at a hospital, parents often feel anxiety due to a loss of “control” in their role of caring for the child. The resulting stress within the parent often impacts the child.

“With pediatrics, we focus on the emotional aspects – for both parent and child – as much as the medical care, says Roger Barnhart, CEO of Ashland Health Center. “Beyond the medicine, our staff, services and facilities must offer psychosocial support to the parent, enabling them to continue providing the much needed emotional support to the child.”

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Our successful Back-to-School health fair. Beginning to offer immunizations. Developing prenatal collaboratives that provides local services for expecting mothers. Each demonstrates a focus and commitment to parents and their children, now and for years to come.

In addition to expanding education and services, Ashland Health Center has built a specialized pediatric room for a child’s inpatient stay that is exceptionally rare within rural healthcare.

Gone are the stark white walls. Instead, the pediatric room is filled with vibrant colors to lift our patients' spirits. Everything within the room caters specifically to caring for children – emotionally and physically. Each piece coming together to create a family-friendly atmosphere. For the child, there are books, a unique magnet and dry-erase board and Wii game console, enabling a child to forget – if only for a moment – that they’re in a hospital. For parents, there’s a fridge, stocked with snacks and drinks. A chair that transforms into a bed for sleeping and much more. All in an effort to ensure the parent is never distracted from anything other than being there in support of their child.

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Children are not small adults, and the standard equipment doesn’t meet the specialized needs for pediatrics. Thanks to a grant from the Children’s Miracle Network (see below), Ashland Health Center has obtained equipment never before available within our community.

Of equal importance is how the pediatric room was developed internally. This project is all inclusive, fully endorsed by our board of directors, designed by our own care providers – that understand better than anyone what needs the patients and families have expressed – and developed by our own nursing, maintenance and administrative staff to optimize budget and ensure a cohesive project. Transforming an otherwise normal hospital room into an ideal setting for both children and families.

“Helping parents with their psychosocial needs empowers them to deal with whatever issues they may have,” says Barnhart. “Obviously we treat the illnesses or injuries. But by offering the families specialized equipment, services and facilities, Ashland Health addresses psychosocial support. Providing a specialized level of care that goes well beyond medicine.”

CMN Provides Equipment for Pediatric Needs 

Crash cart, where every piece is sized explicitly for a child in case of an emergency.

Pulse Oximeter, allowing for accurate measurement on children, as standard sizes are for adults.

Intensive Care Crib, affording greater accessibility for treatment.

Radiology positioning equipment and guards to protect developing children.

Total Gym equipment for physical therapy.

SonoSite, a sonogram machine for quick placement of IV’s when small veins are difficult to access. Also used for checking heart anomalies in pediatric patients presenting with signs and symptoms of heart failure. In the event of an emergency during pregnancy, it can check for fetal viability.

King Vision Pediatric Laryngoscope, a video camera and fiber optic light, specifically sized for a child’s airway to assist in proper placement of intubation tubes.

Wii Game Console, providing a distraction for children spending time in the hospital or clinic.

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Ashland Health Center709 Oak StreetAshland, KS  67831

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