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State HEAL Grant Helps Keep Long Island Children on Vents on Long Island

June 21st, 2012

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY - Governor Cuomo recently announced that St. Charles Hospital, a member of Catholic Health Services (CHS), was awarded a $3.2 million HEAL grant to develop a program that will support children who are ventilator dependent. Children on ventilators as a result of an accident or illness will be transferred to the Port Jefferson hospital for aggressive rehabilitation that will help them return home. Once home, support will continue through the services of another CHS entity, Catholic Home Care. For children unable to return home, a unit will be developed at CHS’s Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip. Throughout the treatment, Maryhaven Center of Hope, part of CHS, will provide ongoing education for children and their families.

“This program will allow Long Island children who are ventilator dependent to stay close to their friends and family, instead of traveling upstate or outside New York for care,” explained James O’Connor, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for St. Charles.

With the grant, St. Charles will create a 10-bed, pediatric special rehabilitation unit that will stabilize children who recently experienced a catastrophic event and prepare them for return to home with the support of a specialized home care team, or offer other options for the continuation of care. This will improve the quality of care for the children and facilitate the return to home when possible. For those unable to return home, the grant will help fund a pediatric ventilation nursing home unit at Our Lady of Consolation in West Islip.

CHS’s Executive Vice President for Continuing Care Joseph Tomaino added, “Our HEAL proposal received high marks because it will provide care in the setting a child needs at a given point of recovery, care that will be seamlessly coordinated by CHS.”

The issue of children dependent on ventilators who previously had to leave the area for care was both an emotional and financial challenge for families.

Bob Policastro, President of Angela’s House, and a long-time advocate for chronically ill children noted, “New York State’s support of this project answers our plea for resources to be dedicated to these children. We are excited to see it become a reality.”