Approximately 13-18% of all children (9-12.5 million) have special healthcare needs. A special healthcare need may result from premature birth, illness, injury or congenital conditions. Approximately 90% of children and youth with special healthcare needs now survive into adulthood with conditions that were once fatal as result of medical advances. Many children will require life sustaining technology, extensive treatments and medications throughout their lives.
Accordingly, Lurie Children's is providing leadership to launch and support life trajectories that will strengthen their capacity to reach their fullest potential and become integrated members of society. Areas of collaboration in support of children and youth with special healthcare needs include the areas detailed below.
Chronic Illness Transition Team
This initiative includes broad medical collaboration among primary and sub-specialty care providers within the medical center to prepare adolescents with medical complexities (and their families) to transition from pediatrics to adult care. It focuses on the gradual transfer of care management from the parent to the adolescent as part of this process. Learn more about transitioning to adult care.
Supporting Adolescents with Independent Life Skills (SAILS) Program
The SAILS program addresses life skills development to support independence among youth with medical complexities. Areas addressed include self-advocacy, healthcare skills such as making physician appointments and filling medication prescriptions, adult health insurance, educational and vocational planning, employment and socialization. A separate track for parents provides complementary instruction and skills development on how to support their adolescents' transitioning process. Learn more about SAILS.
Consortium of Home Healthcare Agencies
This initiative has organized home healthcare agencies from throughout the state of Illinois to facilitate timelier discharge of medically complex children from hospital to home care in collaboration with La Rabida Hospital, the state Title V Program, Illinois Home Health Care Council and other advocacy groups.
Education & Training
School nurse education and training on integration of management of technology-dependent children in Chicago Public Schools (system-wide) and suburban schools.
We collaborate with Chicago Public Schools to strengthen "oral classroom" instruction for children with cochlear implants and support for the Lurie Children's Auditory-Verbal Summer Programs. Learn more about the hospital's cochlear implant program.
Project DOCC (Delivery of Chronic Care) provides curriculum for pediatric residents in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education. Learn more about Project DOCC.
State & National Initiatives
We support leadership in state and national initiatives and research collaborations to develop best practices, care guidelines and financing recommendations to support youth with medical complexities from childhood to adulthood.
Legislative policy on behalf of this special population of youth. Learn more about the hospital's policy.