Spring 2016 Carolina Public Health magazine. Included in the Spring 2016 Carolina Public Health magazine is a photo of our very own child care health consultant (CCHC) Terri Walls as she plays on homemade drums with children at Ms. Jackie’s Place Family Child Care Home in Craven County, N.C.
Bonnie Garner, RN, Child Care Health Consultant with MAHECand Buncombe Partnership for Children has been providing intensive health consultation and coaching to Irene Wortham Early Learning Center, a developmental day program for children with special health needs. As an advocate for children and promoting a healthy and safe environment, the CCHC was looking for opportunities to support the health needs of several medically fragile children and to help the staff meet the developmental needs of the child. Bonnie collaborated with the Pediatric faculty and students from Western Carolina University’s School of Nursing who have developed the WHEE Wagon Program. This service learning program seeks to provide specially equipped IV Pole Radio Flyer wagons for children with medical needs. The team has witnessed the joy that a simple wagon ride can bring to a medically fragile child, and evidence shows that play can have a significant impact on pediatric health status. The group feels it is vitally important that children who have complex health needs to be able to enjoy the same experiences that other children do, and feel a wagon ride is just the way to do this! A WHEE Wagon is just like a normal red wagon that kids ride and play in every day, but these wagons are specially equipped with an IV pole attached to the front. The IV pole attachment on the wagon ensures that the medically fragile children can have the opportunity to transport the children’s feeding pump or other medically required equipment. Rather than being stuck in a wheelchair, a WHEE Wagon is a more engaging mode of transportation for the children. The wagons can be used while the children play, are transported from the classroom to the OLE or provide the opportunity to be on eye level with other children. The WHEE Wagon program will allow kids to reconnect with the normal everyday world of just being a child, at a time when they may feel cut off from that world due to acute or chronic illness. These WHEE Wagons, could enrich the life of a specific medically fragile child through freedom of mobility and the basic joy of play. The five WHEE Wagons were donated to Irene Wortham, with the belief that a simple wagon ride could potentially touch the lives of ill children.