Jackson Health System

The Jackson Pediatric Center Provides Skilled Nursing Care and Normal Childhood Experiences

Miami, FL

Academic Medical System

2,517 Beds

The Jackson Pediatric Center provides skilled nursing care for children who have special medical needs but do not require full-time hospitalization. Located on the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus, the Pediatric Center’s team includes clinical staff as well as parents and a host of community services. The Center provides care for the neediest of the needy. Most of the families are low income and have access to limited resources. While the majority of the patients are typically insured by Medicaid, the reimbursement does not cover the cost of the Center. Jackson Health System subsidizes the program, which is complemented by ongoing community fundraising, grants and donations.

The Center’s staff members are dedicated to providing quality, family-centered health care in a sensitive, loving, homelike environment. Their experience and training enables them to make critical care decisions for patients who may otherwise receive in-home care or hospitalization. Staff members include pediatric intensive care unit nurses who have a minimum of two years of nursing and pediatric care experience, and at least six months of critical care experience.

Since the program’s inception in 1988, the family-centered facility has provided medical and palliative care to create the best quality of life possible for kids with all types of medical conditions. Children receive general medical care, specialized ther apy such as occupational,   physical and speech therapy, and also have the opportunity to interact and play with other children in a “normal” capacity.

The facility does not provide overnight care, and the majority of the patients do require nursing care at home. The Center’s willingness to reach out and create normalcy in patient’s lives is central to its success. For example, many children are picked up from home in the morning by a nurse or an EMT, allowing them to assess each child to determine if the child is stable to ride in a vehicle. Each patient’s day is different depending on their medical needs, and may include nursing and respiratory care, medications, injections, IV therapy, and more. At the same time, the children play and engage in school learning opportunities. If a special health need does arise, the pediatric emergency room at Holtz Children’s Hospital is only seconds away.

The program typically has between 27 and 32 children. The Center offers field trips throughout the year, including going to the county fair, Zoo Miami, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Science Museum. Art therapy is offered at the school twice a week, and the Center recently received a grant for a music teacher. The Center also offers parental education to assist in home care.

The Jackson Pediatric Center truly is a community effort. In addition to community financial support, local churches and community groups offer birthday parties and a Christmas party for the kids. And while the Center’s goal is to provide children as much normalcy as possible, the nursing care provided is central to their quality of life. The Center’s dedicated employees carefully work with patients and their families to allow a quick transition from the hospital to the Center, placing children in an environment where they can thrive.