By Pam Lehman, RD, PediPec Inc,. Community Liaison
Has your child just been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that will require nursing care, therapies, and multiple visits to different pediatric specialists? As a parent, the news of your child’s diagnosis can be overwhelming and scary as to how you will have the resources to care for them, continue working, and care for your other children and family. Fortunately, there is a program in place to help you and your child. It is a PPEC, which stands for Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care. PPEC’s are medical daycare centers for children with chronic/complex medical needs who require a nursing intervention during the day. Children from birth to 21-years-old are eligible for a PPEC with a physician’s prescription. Some examples of medical conditions that qualify a child for a PPEC are prematurity, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, respiratory conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and sickle cell disease. Children who are being fed via feeding tubes, dependent upon medical equipment, such as tracheostomies, ventilators, oxygen etc., would also qualify for PPEC services.
In addition to receiving nursing care, physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapies are also available at a PPEC. This is great not only for the child, but also for the parents, who no longer will have to drive around all afternoon going from one appointment to the other since all therapies can be given in one location.
Age-appropriate education is also provided depending on the child’s capability. In addition, your child will have the opportunity to socialize with other children to enhance his or her development. Transportation to and from the PPEC is available, as well. All PPEC services are covered by MediCaid, including the transportation, and there is no cost to the family.
When choosing a PPEC for your child, consider scheduling a time with the PPEC to take a tour of the facility and meet the nurses that will be taking care of your child so you can feel sure that it is the right fit for you and your child. In addition, some things to take note of on your tour are the cleanliness of the facility, the ratio of nurses/aides to children, you can ask to see the transportation vehicles, and get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the center. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
After learning more about the services a PPEC can provide, hopefully you feel more at ease and confident knowing that is a warm and welcoming place for your child to grow and thrive.