South Florida Hospital News
Sunday May 26, 2019
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July 2006 - Volume 3 - Issue 1

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Pediatric Sub-Acute Care Means Never Giving Up

When fourteen year-old Nicole* was admitted into the Children’s Comprehensive Care Center following a motor vehicle accident, her family had been told she would never leave her bed. Eighteen months later she walked across the Center’s threshold.

Many pediatric professionals have anecdotes similar to Nicole’s. Advances in medical science and technology are providing many of Florida’s almost half a million children with special health care needs new levels of independence.

These same advances ensure the number of children with these special needs is also growing. The 2005 Kaiser Commission’s Medicaid Facts Report found that the need for long-term care will increase due to the significant growth in the disabled population outside of the senior citizen demographic.

This growing population demands a new generation of sub-acute facilities less focused on institutionalization and more focused on aggressive rehabilitation, education, and family collaboration. One pediatric facility leading this charge is the new Children’s Comprehensive Care Center and its commitment to "never give up."


Vergique Grayson and other Medically fragile children require age-appropriate care and support to reach their full potential.

"Time and time again we’ve seen children overcome impossible odds despite the most debilitating accidents or conditions," said Administrator, Ramon Flores. "You can’t know with any certainty what an individual is capable of and so you can never stop trying new things, you can never give up."

Appointed in 2005, Flores is at the helm of a new nonprofit organization that provides sub-acute skilled nursing and rehabilitation to some of the most medically fragile infants, children and young adults in the nation. The organization is in the process of a $1 million renovation of its Pompano Beach facilities and has completed a national search for new management in an attempt to meet the needs of a population requiring increasingly specialized care. In early 2006, Nursing Director Carole Jenkins joined Flores. "The exciting thing about this facility is that we’re merging a long tradition of service to medically fragile children with new cutting edge technologies and procedures," said Jenkins.

The Center’s 36 beds currently provide a short- or long-term home for infants, children and young adults challenged by conditions such as acquired traumatic brain and spinal injuries; and developmental, congenital, musculoskeletal/orthopedic, and neurological disabilities.

Although many facilities exist for the sub-acute long-term care of seniors, the new Center is one of only a handful in the nation that focuses strictly on pediatric care. This care includes specialized pediatric skilled nursing, I.V. therapy; respiratory, physical, occupational and speech therapies; medical and social services; educational programming; psychological counseling; recreational activities; and case management.

"We recognize that the skilled nursing and rehabilitation needs of young people are very different from those of adults," said Flores. "We know that children’s needs are very fluid and change as they develop. We need to deal with not just their diagnosis, but with the everyday demands of growing up and becoming your own person." This pediatric focus has seen the Center create educational programs onsite and also transport children out into Broward County Schools. Recreation therapy programs also expose clients to museums, parks, art galleries, theaters, concerts, zoos, and innovative horse riding and aquatic therapy activities.

These pediatric roots stretch back more than 35 years, having been born out of the establishment of Broward Children’s Center in 1971. The Children’s Comprehensive Care Center became an independent nonprofit entity in 2005 when the Broward Children’s Center board decided increasingly complex needs of medically fragile children required greater specialization.


Phillip Starling works with CompCare physical therapist, Lauren Konitzer.

With this decision has come many changes, including the achievement of CARF certification, recognizing its adherence to more than 300 internationally-recognized standards for rehabilitation. Other developments include renovations, such as more than $500,000 of ongoing improvements to a nursery wing. The Center has also signed affiliations and transfer agreements with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and has attracted more than $300,000 in renovation support from government and private supporters.

Research is also an area of focus. The Center collaborates with several universities, including Nova Southeastern University on subjects such as dental health and the mental health impacts of profound physical disabilities. Flores said the needs of the medically fragile pediatric population are so specific and data regarding their care so scarce that more needs to be done to increase the field’s body of knowledge. "This is an exciting time to be in pediatrics, new technologies and new treatments have the potential to make very fragile children increasingly independent and we owe it to them to integrate those advancements into their daily lives. They never give up trying to gain that independence and nor should the field give up helping them to achieve it."

For more information regarding the Center, call (954) 410-4410, or email thorb@bcckids.org or visit www.bcckids.org.

* Name changed in line with Center privacy policy.

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