Autumn rain could not put a damper on KenCrest’s Director Rose Kehoe’s enthusiasm and passion for her work late last month during the organization's 20th anniversary celebration at Morris Arboretum.
“We had a little boy who came to us. They said he would never interact or sit up. When he left our facilities, he was walking and very interactive. He was the very essence of this program. You can’t say you can’t until you see what you can,” she said at the anniversary event. “I was a nurse for years and never knew what happened to the children after the hospital. Now they have a home.”
KenCrest celebrated 20 years of success Oct. 27 at The Morris Arboretum. The reception was in honor of the transitional care homes in Roxborough and Chestnut Hill for children who are medically fragile.
Created by Mary Ellen Cafferty and Jill Peacock in 1991, it is the first of their kind ever opened in the United States. KenCrest developed the first model of transitional care home for infants and young children who were ready for discharge from hospitals, but whose families could not provide the skilled care they required. Initially a foster care home, the federal and state government gave the company an entitlement program about six years ago.
“And we do discharge children. Out of 77 children who came into the program, we discharged 65. About 30 percent go to someone in the biological family and 70 percent into a private home,” Kehoe said. “Our nurses are extremely skilled and we have no new grads, even through the nursing shortage.”
KenCrest provides the child a "home away from home" setting blended into the community while facilitating the ability of the biological family to take their child home. Eligible children range in age from birth to six-years-old and are medically fragile or technology dependent. Eligible children include those using a ventilator, tracheostomy tube, oxygen, feeding tube or central venous line. The average length of stay for children is 2 1/2 years.
If the state budget allows, KenCrest would like to open up another transitional care home in the area.
“There is a need,” said Kehoe. “That’s what it is all about – is the kids.”
For more information about KenCrest’s transitional care homes, visit www.kencrestchildrenshomes.org.