rendering of the Almost Home Kids facility in Peoria

Almost Home Kids delivers a new approach to transitional care

Children are life’s most precious gifts, and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois has the honor of caring for thousands of children every year. But there has been a growing need for pediatric transitional care in the Peoria area and the surrounding communities.

For many years, OSF Children’s Hospital has referred children leaving the hospital to Almost Home Kids in the Chicagoland area, where they can receive additional medical support before returning home. However, the distance combined with an increasing population of children with medical complexities illustrated the need to bring Almost Home Kids to Central Illinois.

In November 2017, ground was broken for the Almost Home Kids location in Peoria. Now nearing completion, the project is expected to be finished in late summer.

OSF Children’s Hospital will own and operate the 21,000-square-foot, 12-bedroom home. It will be the third Almost Home Kids location in the nation with the other two homes located in Chicago and Naperville, Illinois.

Support for caregivers

Almost Home Kids cares for children with complex medical conditions who rely on life-sustaining medication, treatments and equipment, in a warm, home-like environment. These children need assistance with daily living but don’t require hospitalization.

“Transitioning care from the hospital to the home is a multifaceted process that can be overwhelming at first to caregivers,” said Jennifer Shinnick, site director of Almost Home Kids in Peoria. “Our care team will help caregivers navigate the various medical, governmental and community programs available to most effectively manage their child’s unique health care needs.”

Almost Home Kids also provides up to two weeks respite care to families of children who have successfully transitioned home.

“During respite stays, our team provides day-to-day care and activities while caregivers get some much needed rest and relaxation,” Jennifer said.

Individualized care

One of the top priorities at Almost Home Kids is to provide individualized care and attention to every patient and family. The provider team oversees all medical needs for each child, and the nursing team provides direct care at a ratio of one nurse for every three children with the support of the patient care technician team.

Case managers and social workers are responsible for coordinating care and resources to meet the unique health care and social needs for each child. Additionally, Almost Home Kids offers in-house physical therapy, clinical education and child life services.

“The Almost Home Kids model is a win-win for everyone involved,” Jennifer said. “Children experience improved outcomes and thrive in a fun, relaxed environment; parents experience less stress and feel confident to care for their child at home; millions of taxpayer dollars are saved; hospital beds are available for children with acute medical needs; and the community pulls together to support Almost Home Kids in all of these efforts.”