PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – When you think child daycare, you probably think of healthy boys and girls getting adult supervision. But there’s a place in the Wilkes-Barre area that may seem like that on the surface but is so much more.
What used to be called Pediatria now has a new name but still has the same mission to care for kids with all kinds of medical needs. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller checked out the facility on Wednesday.
It’s a special visit each month at Aveanna Healthcare. Therapy dogs mingle with children of preschool age and younger. These kids all have certain medical conditions requiring attention that your average daycare can’t offer parents. “Their children are able to come and have a good day and be safe,” said Aveanna Healthcare teacher Cassie Borthwick.
Ms. Borthwick and other staffers work closely with the children. In another room, therapists provide physical and instructional activities. 2-year-old Myiesha requires an oxygen tank but some kids here have underlying conditions you just can’t see. “Some of the kids might have brain tumors. Allergic reactions to certain dyes, foods, anything like that which actually can be pretty serious,” said Ms. Borthwick.
They can take part in academic and cognitive activities in a safe setting. By welcoming the specially trained therapy dogs, it provides kids a sensory experience. Ms. Borthwick said, “They definitely light up. They’re able to forget about their health issues for the moment.” Therapy Dogs International Chapter 254 dog handler Barb Halloran agreed. “It’s great. The dogs love it, too, as you can see. They just eat up all the attention. Everybody wins.”
Before the therapy dogs arrive or any activities or physical therapy begin, children are medically assessed and given any medications they need. Even infants and toddlers whose families have to work are cared for by a staff tasked with helping these medically fragile children develop as best they can. “It is a big impact on you and then you realize, like, I do make a difference,” said Ms. Borthwick.
About 50 children are cared for at Aveanna Healthcare which is located at 53 Gravel Street, Suite C. The phone number there is 570-789-0845.