Hospital Helps Kids With Grant Money

Riley Hospital for Children

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Riley Hospital for Children is Indiana's only comprehensive children's hospital that provides medical care for the most challenging of pediatric patients nationwide. The National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions rates the level of severity of disability, illness, injury, or chronic health condition for Riley Hospital's pediatric patients as the highest of any children's hospital in the country. The hospital houses a Level I pediatric trauma center, one of the Nation's three largest autism treatment centers, and the world's largest pediatric sleep disorders center. It has Indiana's only pediatric burn center, pediatric inpatient unit for cardiovascular care, pediatric dialysis program, and the State's first and largest pediatric cancer center. Riley Hospital advocates for the health, wellness, and safety of children and families through a variety of local, state, and national initiatives.

With a 2002 AFG Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, the Hospital's Community Education and Child Advocacy Department carried out two projects: the Safe Escape Program and a community smoke detector and community education program conducted through the Indianapolis Injury Free Coalition for Kids.

Safe Escape Program

Safe Escape has provided Riley Hospital families with free adapted fire safety products and education on a walk-in basis. Space in the Hospital's Outpatient Center was renovated for the program, and it provides an ideal place for meeting with families to provide them with access to adapted fire safety products, education on the proper use of the equipment, and information on general child safety and injury prevention. The goal of the Program is to help ensure children with disabilities or special health care needs escape safely in the event of fire.

Through the Safe Escape Program, Hospital safety educators assessed families individually to determine their need for specific adapted fire safety products, most of which are expensive and difficult to find or purchase. Those families, many caring for several children with disabilities or special health care needs, received multiple safety products and participated in a 20- or 45-minute education session, depending on their level of need.

Since January 2005, the Safe Escape Program has served 610 families who care for children with disabilities or special health care needs such as cerebral palsy, autism, asthma, cardiovascular conditions, cochlear implants/hearing loss, Down syndrome, burns, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

"The Safe Escape Program offers peace of mind to families of children with special needs or disabilities here at Riley Hospital for Children," says Karen Bruner Stroup, Director of Riley's Community Education and Child Advocacy Department. "Because of this program, we know that families finally have the products and education that can help them safely get everyone out of the home in case of a fire," she says.

In July and August alone, the Safe Escape Program provided Riley Hospital families with 172 Evac-Aides (portable stretcher with hand grips to drag a child to safety); 490 fire-smothering blankets (fireproof blanket that smothers flames and protects a child during evacuation); 136 Gentex strobe light/smoke detectors (strobe light that alerts children who are hearing impaired); 58 shake-up smoke detectors (device that shakes the bed of children who are not able to see or hear); 92 Quick-Escape fire escape ladders; and 373 lever door knob converters, which make door knobs easier to turn.

Distribution of Smoke Detectors and Fire Prevention Education

With the support of its AFG Fire Prevention and Safety grant, the Hospital's Community Education and Child Advocacy Department carried out a second project as a member of the Indianapolis Injury Free Coalition for Kids (the Coalition), which is based at Riley Hospital's Surgery Department. The project distributed 15,000 free battery-powered smoke detectors and provided fire prevention and safety education in high-risk neighborhoods. Evaluation of local child injury data through several sources indicated the Indianapolis east side neighborhoods were among the highest at risk for residential fires.

Under the umbrella of the Coalition, partnerships were established with the Near East Side Community Organization and the Indianapolis Fire Department to identify methods for distributing 15,000 smoke detectors and providing education in the Indianapolis neighborhoods at highest risk of fire. Distribution methods included holding targeted community or neighborhood events, distribution displays at the neighborhood credit union, and organized neighborhood blitzes in partnership with the Indianapolis Fire Department and 24 neighborhood association partners. Child-care provider trainings and print media inserts also helped to increase awareness of fire safety in the targeted neighborhoods.

Families from all of Indiana's 92 counties as well as from other states and countries receive health care services at Riley Hospital. The Hospital's most recent annual service profile showed 11,105 admissions and observation cases; 180 average daily census; 162,466 outpatient visits; and 15,000 emergency department visits.

What they bought with the grant:

  • Safe Escape Program support
  • Community Partnership Smoke Alarm Distribution Project
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