Posts Tagged ‘special needs children’

PHS celebrates Feeding Tube Awareness Week, February 5-11

Monday, February 6th, 2012

tube feeding awareness, infusion, feeding pump, infinity teal, infinity orange, g tube, jtube, formulaTube feeding’ is a term that at times may cast a negative light upon an already complex medical situation.  However, what is not commonly known are the benefits a tube feeding can provide a growing child.  By providing nutrition through the use of a feeding tube, a child that may not be able to obtain adequate or any nutrition by mouth would still be able to grow, thrive, and develop.

PHS is excited to be celebrating this awareness week and wanted to share with you some resources that our Dietitians pulled together. The links below have information for adults and kids alike. Do you know of any other resources? We’d love for you to leave us a comment here to keep growing our list of resources.

Resources & Fun Sites for Families:

Adaptive playgrounds for medically-fragile kids

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Children discover the world through play, so adaptive playgrounds are the perfect place to spend summer days and evenings. Plus, it’s just good, affordable fun.

Your kids’ favorite playgrounds?

PHS found a few adaptive playgrounds in the Twin Cities and Minnesota, yet we’d like to hear about others. Do you have a favorite local park or neighborhood playground? What features does your child enjoy? Which adaptive playgrounds do you recommend?

All public playgrounds are required by law to have at least some activities for people with disabilities. This may be a wheelchair-accessible ramp to reach the play area or harnesses or wheelchair decks on special swings. Some parks have modified digging and rocking toys, non-plastic slides (plastic can affect hearing aids due to static electricity), hand railings, and different colors on multilevel sets to help children with vision issues avoid falls.

Frankly, it’s difficult to find the exact adaptive features at individual playgrounds until you visit the area, so we’d love to have you share your experiences.

Adaptive playgrounds we found

Meanwhile, here are the adaptive playgrounds we found, alphabetically by location:

Coming soon! Two new adaptive playgrounds in the works

Keep an eye out for Madison’s Place, a completely handicapped-accessible playground in Woodbury and playground renovations at Wabun Park at Minnehaha Falls.

Product recalls: PHS keeps you informed

Friday, May 27th, 2011

What’s big, orange, stamped “IMPORTANT” and arrives in the mail?

It may be a product recall alert from PHS.

Families with special needs children have enough to do without worrying about the equipment and supplies they rely on to keep their kids safe at home.

At PHS, we make sure you know as soon as possible about any product recalls or manufacturing defects that may affect your child. There are two kinds of recalls:

  1. Voluntary – a problem is identified though an internal audit and the company issues the recall.
  2. Mandated – an issue has been brought to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it requires a mandatory recall of a product or item.

Our PHS product recall process

We find out about product recalls in two ways. Manufacturers send PHS recall letters about their products. Plus, several PHS employees from our Pharmacy Department and Regulatory Affairs Office are on the list to receive FDA emails on recalls and safety alerts.

They regularly review the emails—sometimes on a daily basis—for any products provided by PHS. When they spot one, they take immediate action, following FDA recommendations.

If a product supplied by PHS is recalled, either voluntarily or by mandate, we find out which of our patients receive that product from us. Then we let tell them about the recall and what they need to do to replace the product with a new non-recalled item. How quickly we contact a family depends on how many patients are affected and if the patients are in danger.

Watch for the bright orange envelope

Typically, we contact the family with a product alert or letter. We make phone calls if only about 20 people or fewer are affected. The alerts are sent by mail in a bright orange envelope that we hope is hard to miss or ignore.

PHS also informs all internal staff about recalls so that clinicians in the home can keep an eye out for the recalled items and the recall envelope, and then remind families to review the information inside.

You can view electronic versions of Product Alerts on the PHS website 24/7 here.

If you have any questions about recalled products or supplies, as well as any other safety concerns, don’t hesitate to call PHS Customer Service. Have you had any experience with product recalls? Did you ever receive an orange envelope from PHS? Do you know of other good sources for product recall information?

Facebook use benefits PHS and our families.

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

PHS facebook, pediatric home service, facebook fan page, like usAlways looking to inspire and inform our families, PHS also uses Facebook. The PHS Facebook page allows PHS to interact with patients, families, physicians, and community organizations.

PHS carefully monitors its Facebook page, so it’s a great place to ask a question or leave a comment. PHS also updates the Facebook page at least once a day with news, events, and inspirational status updates related to PHS kids and families. Recent posts include:

Of all social media right now, Facebook is the most widely used tool, and fits PHS families as an effective way to communicate. Check out this Facebook information:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • Average user connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events
  • More than 200 million people actively using it on their mobile devices

Please ‘like’ PHS on Facebook.

Have you checked out our Facebook page? Posted comments? We’d love to hear about it here or on our Facebook page.

Four steps to safer car seat and seat belt use for kids

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Protect your kids in the car with proper car seat and seat belt use. From quick grocery store jaunts to family road trip vacations, here’s the latest on new laws and guidelines to keep kids safe in your vehicles.

1. Use the right car seat the right way: It’s the law in every state because it’s the best way to reduce the risk of injuries. Several state agencies offer free clinics to check and properly install car seats of all types.


Find a car seat inspection clinic near you.

General car seat and seat belt use guidelines by stage:

  • Newborn to at least age 2
    • Seat: Rear-facing or a convertible seat
    • This is a new guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Place the seat in the reclined position. Keep the belt snug, at or below your baby’s shoulders. Never put this seat in front of an airbag.
  • Ages 2 – 4
    • Seat: Forward-facing with harness
    • Place this seat facing forward and upright. Move the straps to the slots. Keep the belt snug at or above your child’s shoulders.
  • Ages 4 – 8 and shorter than 4’ 9”
    • Seat: Fastened into child safety seat or booster seat
    • Keep kids in a booster seat based on their height, not age
    • When your child outgrows a combination seat, go to a booster seat, used wit the lap and shoulder seat belt. If your vehicle only has lap belts, use a tethered harness or install shoulder seat belts.
  • Age 8+ or 4’ 9” or taller (whichever comes first)
    • Seat belt only
    • Kids are ready for seat belts only when they can sit with their back against the seat, knees bent (not slouching) and feet on the floor.
  • Medically-fragile kids
    • Some children may need harness adjusters, padding or other adaptation to properly fit in their car seat, booster or seat belt. Ask your PHS caregiver about options to fit your passengers.

2. Buckle up every time: Minnesota’s seat belt law is a primary offense. That means the driver and every single passenger must be in a seat belt or the proper car seat. The tickets are $25 – $100+, but your safety is more important.


3. Until age 13, kids sit in the back seat: They won’t like it, but it’s safer.

4. Buckle up yourself: Keep yourself safe for your kids, and set the right example for all your passengers.

See Minnesota’s full seat belt and car seat information.

Listen to the guidelines for choosing a safety seat.

Summer camps for medically-fragile kids

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Fresh air, new friends, crafts, and of course campfire skits: Even medically-fragile kids can be happy campers at summer camps designed for their specific needs.

PHS encourages families to consider summer camp for their kids. Counselors, staff members, cooks, guides, therapists, and 24-hour on-call health care professionals bring unique training, expertise, and enthusiasm for working with medically-fragile kids. Most of all, kids learn they’re not at all alone. And who can resist learning new camp songs?!

Check out this information about summer camps for medically-fragile kids in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.

If you don’t see a camp that fits the need of you or your child and you are a PHS patient, please contact Social Worker Monica Handlos at 651-789-9215 or email her at You may also contact United Way First Call for Help for additional camps at 651-291-0211 or 1-800-543-7709.

Asthma Camp for kids ages 7 – 16 with asthma.

  • Super Kids Camp in Loretto (just west of Minneapolis)
    • July 11 – 16, 2011
    • Applications due: May 20, 2011.

AuSM Summer Camps for children and young adults with autism. Camp brochures are mailed to current AuSM members, and only current AuSM members are eligible for camp. Sessions include:

  • Camp Hand in Hand near Brainerd
    • June 18 – 23 for boys 9 – 16
    • July 3 – 8 for boys 14 – 21
    • July 31 – Aug 5 for boys 9 – 11 and girls 9 – 21
  • Wahode Day Camps in Eagan
    • Week 1: June 27 – July 1 for ages 8 – 14
    • Week 2: July 18 – 22 for ages 6 – 12
    • Week 3: Aug 9 – 12 for ages 8 – 14
  • Camp Discovery for ages 10-21 with Asperger Syndrome, near Maple Lake
    • June 25 – July 1 for ages 10 – 21
    • July 3 – 8 for boys 10 – 21
    • Discovery Extreme Adventure: July 8 – 11 for ages 10 – 21

Camp Needle Point for children ages 5 – 16 with diabetes. Sessions at Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wisc., include:

  • August 15 – 19 (day camp) for ages 5 – 9
  • August 14 – 20
  • August 21 – 27
  • Registration is now open.

Camp Odayin for children with heart disease:


  • Residential Camp July 18 – 22 for ages 14 – 15, July 25 – 29 for ages 16 – 17, August 8 – 12 for ages 8 – 11, August 15 – 19 ages 11 – 13
  • Day Camp August 1 – 5 for ages 6 – 7
  • Family Camp October 21 – 23
  • Applications are available now and due in early May. Family Camp applications are available in August and due early October.

Kamp Kace for school-age children in all stages of cancer treatment

  • June 26 – July 1

Camp M.A.S.H Make. Arthritis. Stop. Hurting. Camp for children ages 9-17 who have arthritis or a related illness. Camp located at the Easter Seal Center for Camping and Recreation, one mile north of the Wisconsin Dells.

  • August 6- 11
  • Registration is now open.
  • Reserve your child spot with a $25.00 deposit by May 1st.

Courage Center has many camp sessions for many interests. They also offer camps for independent and active adults Ages 18 and family camps.

  • Literacy, for campers who are struggling readers
    • June 19 – 24
    • ages 12 – 18
  • For Campers with physical disabilities or visual impairments:
    • Youth session: July 18 – 23, ages 7 – 12
    • Teen session: July 18 – 23, Ages 13 – 17
  • For campers with communication disorders:
    • July 31 – Aug 6
    • ages 7 – 14
  • Leadership for teens with physical disabilities or sensory impairments:
    • July 31 – Aug 6
    • ages 13 – 17
  • Hemophilia:
    • July 10 – 16
    • This session is co-sponsored by the Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota and Dakotas. It is geared for children who have hemophilia and other related bleeding disorders.
  • Oncology/Blood Disorder session:
    • July 25 – 29, ages 7 – 17
    • This session is co-sponsored by Children’s Hospitals and Clinics-Minneapolis and The Miracles of Mitch Foundation. It is geared for children who have or had leukemia or other blood disorders, brain tumors and other forms of cancer.
    • Application deadline is May 20.

Have your kids attended summer camp? Which sessions can you recommend? We’d like to hear about it. If you have photos of your happy campers, we’d love to see those, too.

Adaptive sports programs for medically-fragile kids

Friday, February 18th, 2011

“Yes, you can,” parents and caregivers can tell medically-fragile kids. ‘Yes’ to playing baseball, soccer, golf, scuba—and a little downhill skiing before the snow melts.

PHS continually sees the psychological, physical, and emotional benefits of organized sports programs for PHS kids. Coaches and coordinators have unique training, expertise, and enthusiasm for working with medically-fragile kids. So, let’s play ball!

Here’s information about these Twin Cities area adaptive sports programs for medically-fragile kids:

Lucas Hagen, PHS patient, the west metro miracle league, adaptive baseballMiracle League Baseball

Summer days are brighter at a baseball field, so The Miracle League provides kids ages 3 – 19 of every ability opportunities to play baseball. There are special Miracle League fields and facilities in Blaine, Duluth, Lakeville, Mankato, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Cloud, Woodbury, Lacrosse, Wisc., and Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Register now. Sign up is now underway for Miracle League baseball, and there are early bird discounts available. Here’s how to register:
  • Adaptive baseball in the western Twin Cities suburbs. PHS is a proud sponsor of the West Metro Miracle League
  • Adaptive baseball in other towns. Find the Miracle League contact for your area here.

TOPSoccer MN

The rest of the world is crazy for “the beautiful game,” and it’s fun to try. TOPSoccer is geared to player development, rather than simply competition, for kids ages 8 and older. TOPSoccer places kids on teams according to ability, not age, to enhance each kids’ experience. Any child with nearly any disability is welcome in TOPSoccer.

Tana Wall, adaptive skiing, courage center, trollhaugenAdaptive skiing: Special package rate at Trollhaugen Ski Resort

There’s still plenty of time to play in the snow, including the wonderful new adaptive ski program at Trollhaugen Ski Resort in Dresser, Wisc. It is available every day, yet since adaptive skiing is specialized, please call at least 14 days before you plan to visit so Trollhaugen can have the proper gear and staff members there for your skier.

Trollhaugen is extending an amazing package that really makes this an affordable option.

  • Book your ski timeContact Trollhaugen’s Larry LaBathe at 651-433-5141, 800-826-7166 or 715-755-2955

Courage Center also offers adaptive skiing at other area ski resorts

Courage Center adaptive sports programs

Courage Center is likely the most recognizable place for adapted sports and recreation. Programs are tailored to fit kids and families, from pure fun to intense competition. In our area, their programs include:

Many of their wheelchair sports teams are national champs and many Courage Center athletes and coaches are nationally and internationally recognized.

Find more information on Courage Center adaptive sports and recreation

Which sports are your kids trying this spring? Which programs can you recommend? We’d like to hear about it. If you have photos of your kids in action, we’d love to see those, too.