Children with medically complex conditions represent an estimated three million children who account for 40% of Medicaid spending on children. Growing at 6% annually, they are among the most rapidly growing sectors of the pediatric population.
As hospitals struggle to manage costs and resources, moving children with such maladies through a continuum of care is critical to meeting the clinical, social, and emotional needs of this population and their families.
There are over 14,000 children with medical complexities in Illinois alone, where, in late October, Almost Home Kids—an organization that provides transitional care in home-like settings for children with complex medical needs, as well as training and respite care for their families—opened its third location in the country, on the Peoria campus of OSF Healthcare Children’s Hospital of Illinois, the state’s third-largest pediatric hospital.
Almost Home Kids also operates 12-bedroom houses facilities in Naperville, Ill., and Chicago. The three facilities were funded entirely by community and business donations.
Stantec assisted in the design, medical planning, and interiors of the 22,000-sf Almost Home Kids in Peoria, which is the first implementation of the organization’s national prototype. Stantec worked with a panel of Almost Home Kids clinicians and families during the design and site adaptation processes.
Almost Home Kids provides training to help families care for their sick chlidren. Image: Ballogg Photography
“This is much more than just a project for us,” says Rebel Roberts, FAIA, RIBA, FACHA, Practice Leader for Design at Stantec. “It’s a positive healing space and a comforting home where families feel relieved and welcome. We hope this prototype continues to get adopted and we see more Almost Home Kids facilities throughout the country, because they truly are remarkable.”
In an interview with BD+C, Roberts elaborates that neither of Almost Home Kids’ first two facilities—a renovated house in Naperville and a midrise build-to-suit within a relatively tall building in downtown Chicago—was a suitable model for expansion into other cities. The Peoria house, on the other hand, is a ground-up, freestanding unit, for which Stantec did mockups and drawings. The plan is scalable, says Roberts, and can be attuned to a market’s local climate.
Children at the Almost Home Kids at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois receive 24-hour medical and nursing support from skilled pediatric nurses. The organization helps train family members to provide the best care for their children, including how to operate and maintain the child’s home medical equipment, prepare medications and treatments, and maximize government support systems such as home modifications and/or obtaining home nursing hours.
The organization’s website states that it took “several years of planning, collaboration, and construction” with the hospital to complete the $8.5 million Peoria facility, whose general contractor was Core Construction and engineer was IMEG. Almost Home Kids has stated previously its intention to expand nationally and open new facilities across the country, but has not disclosed its timetable or proposed locations.