providence house's new wellness nursery to take in kids with chaotic home lives

Providence House wants to take some of the strain off local hospitals dealing with non-medical family issues. The solution, believe crisis nursery officials, is a forthcoming facility that will care for children whose households are dealing with emergencies that doctors cannot touch.

It's true that Elisabeth's House -- The Prentiss Wellness Nursery will take in kids with minor medical needs, notes executive Providence House director Natalie Leek-Nelson. But those children might come from such chaotic home situations that even their manageable conditions could blow up into something worse.

"These kids don't have the medical care at home to sustain them, and insurance won't pay for their hospital stays," says Leek-Nelson. A typical wellness nursery client would be a child with diabetes who is not getting the proper insulin treatments living with a drug-addicted or homeless parent.

The model also will offer family support and crisis intervention services for children with family stability concerns. In practice, the operation will allow hospitals to focus on the most serious cases, as children who could otherwise be discharged can now leave the hospitals and be cared for at the wellness nursery. Elisabeth's House is expected to serve newborns to children up to the age of 10.

The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation gave $1 million to Providence House to create the wellness nursery and aid the agency's ongoing campus expansion. The nursery, scheduled to open in September, will be located across the street from the newly expanded "Leo's House" on the Providence House campus at W. 32nd Street.  

SOURCE: Natalie Leek-Nelson
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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