Almost Home Kids – Peoria Construction on the Homestretch
Almost Home Kids is the first care model of its kind in the country. In a comforting home-like setting, children receive 24-hour medical and nursing support from skilled pediatric nurses. They provide transitional care for children with complicated health needs, such as children who are dependent on a ventilator to breathe or a feeding tube for nourishment, who are ready to be discharged from the hospital but for whom preparations at home need to be made, as well as training for their families. Respite care is also offered.
Jennifer Shinnick, the site director of Almost Home Kids-Peoria for OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois is excited about the progress. She says this is a much needed program for children throughout Illinois with complex medical needs that serves as a bridge between the hospital and home.
"This is where children who are ready to go home from the hospital but home is not quite ready for them yet. So for any reason - maybe they don't have medical equipment set up yet, private nursing set up yet, this way children don't have to stay in the hospital they could come here they could have a better quality of life here, interact, play do all kinds of things," explained Shinnick.
"Children in the hospital are limited and kind of restricted to their bedrooms and here they can get up, they can get out, we have a screened in porch area with electric equipment we can plug their ventilators in if need be. They can get fresh air and be outside - we really designed this place to bring nature inside so everything you see is gonna be wood, natural stone, big windows to let natural light in so this really truly is a home."
Construction progress is on track, despite a long winter in central Illinois.
"We had a rough winter but we were able to only lose 15 days which is kind of surprising which as cold as it’s been there was guys working on the roof when it was 10° outside so it went well," said Adam Gibson, Project manager. "Looking to get construction wrapped up here in August and then open in September."
The OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois Almost Home Kids facility will be just the third of its kind in the nation, and the first purpose-built AHK ever. The Peoria AHK, with an estimated capital cost of $8.5 million, will be built entirely from private donations and will serve as a prototype for future AHK sites.
Staff is currently being hired with Almost Home Kids – Peoria expected to welcome its first child in September.