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May 5th - Kids Come First helps vulnerable families

Kids Come First helps vulnerable families during the COVID-19 crisis where they need it most – at home

Ottawa, May 5, 2020 — Six partners of the Kids Come First Health Team are taking quick action to keep kids safe and provide home care to families who need it most. These are temporary but necessary emergency measures required in response to COVID-19.

CHEO and Roger Neilson House are trialing home-based respite services for the first time, including palliative care nursing services and care assessments, as well as in-home companionship to families with children who have medically complex needs. Some families have chosen to reduce or suspend community or home-based services due to their concerns that access to PPE is inconsistent across the region. And physical distancing keeps their personal support networks away, too. Having fewer supports increases the risk of family caregiver burnout and the potential for hospital admissions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, home care providers are expected to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), just like they would in a hospital. To address families’ expressed concerns about this, CHEO, Bayshore Home Care Solutions, CommuniCare Therapy, ParaMed and SE Health are now providing PPE to frontline home care staff to put everyone’s safety first.

CHEO is also providing PPE coaching to Kids Come First Health Team home care and community partners. Knowing how to use protective gear properly is as important as having access to it.


“COVID-19 isolation is such a struggle for families like ours that are trying to keep our medically fragile children safe while managing without many of our regular supports. In working with our Kids Come First partners we’ve developed a program to help those families with the highest need with focusing on minimizing risk while still recognizing the potential for exposure.” —Stephanie Paravan, parent of a child with complex care needs

“There have been challenges securing the personal protective equipment needed for home care staff to continue to provide care to patients and families. This wonderful partnership with Kids Come First means that those service providers working with children now have access to the supplies and equipment they need to provide the safest care possible in childrens’ homes. We are thrilled that this is possible so that are no disruptions to families at this difficult time.” —Catherine Butler, Vice-President, Home & Community Care & Human Resources, Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)

“It is essential to maintain services in the home to support children and families, now more so than ever families need the support from specialized caregivers to keep their kids safe at home.” —Megan Wright, Executive Director Roger Neilson House, Director Palliative Care CHEO

“With the pressure for resources mounting across the health care system, CHEO heard a need from families and partners for PPE, PPE education and respite. So, we put our heads together to find a way to help. Having the foundation for the Kids Come First Health Team in place, we are able to collectively identify needs, pool resources and act.” —Monique Lugli, Vice-President, Child Development and Community Services, CHEO


©2019 by Jan Harder.