In Massachusetts help is available for families with special-needs children, through the 4C program – Collaborative Consultative Care Coordinator.
The program is designed to help both parents and pediatricians take care of children with complex medical needs. Through the program each family is paired with a helping team, including a social worker and a nurse care coordinator who would go to the family’s home to improve the healthcare of their special-needs children.
The program, started last year, received a three-year federal grant of $6 million thanks to the Affordable Care Act or ACA, known as Obamacare. The 4C program is a collaboration between Bay State Medical Center and Boston Medical Center.
Families taking care of children with special needs need all the help they can get. It is hard enough to raise one kid with special needs but a family in Springfield has five.
Dennis and Eric Volz-Benoit claim that the key factor in their lives is routine. All of their days look the same, involving breathing treatments, feeding tubes, assembly-line showers and medications. Besides that they have to cook for the whole family, do the laundry, do the shopping and take the kids to school. According to Eric Volz-Benoit, they work ‘like a well-oiled machine’.
The family has five children and all of them need special treatment. Ryan, 7, and Mandie, 6, both have PTSD; Jayden a 5-yer-old boy has PTSD and borderline disorder; Tyler who is 7 year-old has autism and brain damage and the oldest one, Zachary, 8, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
No matter how well their routine works, the family still needs more help to take care of their sick children. And the 4C program has exactly what it needs to help them, even if only Zachary qualifies for the coordinating care program.
Because of his cerebral palsy, Zachary requires constant oxygen and a feeding tube. Besides that, he cannot walk or stand up by himself, requiring a wheelchair. After the family adopted him their visits to the hospital were very often and also very time- and nerve- consuming. With the help of 4C they won’t have to do that anymore, the help will come directly to their house.
Despite the hard time he has taking care of everybody, Eric says that Zachary taught him how to become a father for his special-needs children. He says that Zachary balances his life and he wouldn’t even want to imagine how it would be not having him around.
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