Every year, thousands of children die from a lack of safe car restraint systems. In pediatric health care, one specific group of patients has more difficulty using the current restraint systems available: orthopaedic patients who are placed in either spica casts or abduction braces. These casts and braces are used to stabilize bones or the hip joint in the right position while they heal. Most often, patients in these casts or braces have their hips and legs flexed outwards, which makes it difficult to fit into a normal car seat or restraint. The casts and braces are typically used for a period of six to 12 weeks, sometimes longer.
Until recently, parents had the choice to either purchase a Hippo car seat (which is specifically designed for patients in spica casts or abduction braces) or to opt for a stretcher ambulance ride back home. Hippo car seats would cost a family about $500 to purchase and many parents are unable to bear this financial burden, especially for something needed for such a short period of time. Insurance companies don’t always reimburse the cost of the Hippo car seat, but they will provide reimbursement for the cost of a stretcher ambulance to be discharged home. The stretcher ambulance is a safe method of discharge but it doesn’t help families when they need to return for follow up visits or run day to day errands with their children.
An interdisciplinary team was formed to review the issue and improve the quality of life and safety for our patients and their families. Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL) formed a collaborative relationship, and with the help of a generous donation from the Theodore & Cashmere Mendick, we developed the region’s first Orthopaedic Car Seat Restraint Loaner Program less than a year ago.
The development of the Car Seat Restraint Loaner Program is an example of Golisano Children’s Hospital’s commitment to orthopaedic care. In fact, the commitment can be seen with the focus on pediatric surgical programs as one of the seven divisions featured in the hospital’s 100 million-dollar campaign. Ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years, the Pediatric Orthopaedic program has recently expanded to include a surgeon that specializes in complex hip issues. That addition brought new services to our region’s children, but it also increased the need for alternative car seats.
To date, we have helped more than 30 patients and their families through the Car Seat Restraint Loaner Program. The number of patients who need assistance continues to grow and, this month, we purchased five more car seats just to meet the demand. Our families cannot express how much this program has helped decrease the financial burden and allowed them to continue on with their lives.
For more information on the Orthopaedic Car Seat Restraint Loaner Program, or to give a donation, please contact:
Matthew Allen, MS, RN, PNP-BC Suzanne Hilt, MS, RN, CPNP
601 Elmwood Ave Box 619-11 601 Elmwood Ave Box 665
Rochester, NY 14642 Rochester, NY 14642