Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Safety Reminders!

There are many ways children can be injured in the home. Most people think of the most obvious and harmful injuries: medication overdoses, falls, or fires.  However, there are still subtle changes in the home environment that can cause injury to a child.
Many home injuries happen when caregivers get busy or are distracted during bath time. Make sure you maintain your child’s safety by following these easy tips:
  1. Do not leave child in the tub unattended for ANY PERIOD OF TIME! Always stay close enough to touch your child.
  2. Drain the tub as soon as bath is over
  3. Turn the cold water on first then add hot water. Run your hand through the entire tub before placing child in the water to check for hot spots.
Fire Safety
When was the last time you checked the smoke alarms in your home? Have you thought about evacuation routes? How about staging a fire drill with family members? Do children in the home know where to meet in the event of a fire?
It is important for all family members to know what to do in the event of a fire. Review easy tips with your children such as stay low to the ground, get out as quickly as possible and do not go back in to a home on fire for any reason. Make sure children know how to dial 911 as well. An evacuation plan should be reviewed with all family members and it is useful to conduct fire drills at home to make sure everyone in the family knows which exits are safe and where to meet after evacuation. A fire extinguisher should be kept in the home and everyone should know where it is and how to use it. A good acronym to remember is PASS:
P- Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher
A- Aim the hose at the base of the fire
S- Squeeze the trigger
S- Sweep the hose back and forth until fire is out

Medication Safety
Medication safety is very important in homes with children. Make sure all medications (even over the counter medicines) are stored on a high shelf where children cannot reach them. Make sure medications have safety caps that children cannot open. Throw away expired medications. Keep controlled substances or narcotics in a locked cabinet if possible or in an area not accessible by children.
If you suspect your child has ingested medication or any poison, notify the Poison Control Center at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness-It's Almost That Time of Year!

Here at MedCare, we are starting to prepare for the Hurricane Season that is fast approaching, and we encourage you to do the same.  Since we are so close to the coast, it is very important that we stay aware of the weather systems in the Gulf, and prepare for the unexpected.  The most important thing that you can do for your family is to make a plan, and then make a backup plan depending on your child’s fragile condition.  Please don’t wait until the last minute because this will increase your stress level, and possibly mean that you will not have the supplies needed and ready to care for your family. Not being prepared may also limit the availability of assistance from others. 

You should be aware of the possibility of flooding in your area. If you in an area that could flood, you are advised to move to higher locations before flooding starts. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get out and assistance may not be an option.  If you are not in a potential flooding area, it is recommended that you not leave your home unless instructed to do so by your local emergency management team. This will decrease the amount of people on the roads and will allow those that are in the flooding areas time to evacuate in a safe and timely manner.

You should also be aware that with hurricane weather, the possibility of power loss is high. At a recent conference we attended, CenterPoint Energy estimated that during and following a hurricane, the following time frames for a loss of electricity could be:
      Category 1 - 7-10 days
      Category 2 - 2-3 weeks
      Category 3 - 3-5 weeks
      Category 4 - 4 -6 weeks
      Category 5 - 6 - 8 weeks

I want to stress that just because your home may be on a high priority list, it does not mean that your electricity will be restored any quicker than the above estimates. We were informed that CenterPoint will work to get the hospitals and water plants up first, and then work on restoring electricity to areas that service the most people next. So if you are without power following a storm and have an electricity need, then you are encouraged to have a plan in place that will cover those estimated times without power. 

Every year, we inform and encourage our caregivers to call the 2-1-1 Texas line if assistance is needed should an evacuation be needed. If you have not registered your child or family members with 2-1-1, we suggest that you do so prior to the Hurricane season, which begins June 1st.  This gives the state-funded programs an idea of how many people could possibly need assistance in the case of an emergency.  This however does not mean that you will receive assistance.  Therefore this should not be your only plan in the case of an emergency; this should be a backup plan in case your other options are exhausted.  It is simple to register. You can simply call 2-1-1 from your home phone.  The state is working on a new system called STEAR that will be replacing 2-1-1 which should streamline this process.  You would be able to register and update your information online.  This should be available late May.  It is recommended that you update 2-1-1 or STEAR any time there is a change in your household’s assistance needs and/or demographic information.

Stafford Clinic OT's Win "Best of Stafford" Award for the 5th Consecutive Year!

We are so proud of our Occupational Therapy team at Stafford!  Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!


Medcare Pediatric Rehab Center LP Receives 2012 Best of Stafford Award

NEW YORK, NY, April 11, 2012 -- For the fifth consecutive year, Medcare Pediatric Rehab Center LP has been selected for the 2012 Best of Stafford Award in the Occupational Therapists category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

This is the first year that a business has qualified as a Five-Time Award Winner. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2012 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April is Counseling Awareness Month!

April is Counseling Awareness Month!  Please acknowledge the Licensed Professional Counselors in your work and personal lives this month!
MedCare has always believed in the importance of treating children from a “wholistic” approach, which is why we provide counseling and play therapy in addition to our many other services. We are very proud that our variety of pediatric specialists sets our organization apart from other rehab facilities.
There are many instances in which a child receiving PT, OT, or ST may benefit from Counseling. These are just a few of the instances in which a counselor/play therapist collaborates with pediatric rehab therapists. 
·        Children involved in other types of therapy often have to work harder at social interactions. Sometimes, their opportunities to play with other children or engage with their peers are limited, either because of a disability, or because other kids are unsure how to relate to them.
·        Children with special needs may have poor self-esteem. They are often made fun of or not accepted by their peers because of their disability. Or, they may see others able to perform certain activities easily that are difficult or not possible for this child to do.
·         Children with speech or developmental delays often struggle with emotions they are not prepared to handle, such as anxiety, frustration, and depression. For example, many children with speech delays have difficulty communicating their wants, needs, and feelings to others. This prevents a challenge when they do not know an outlet for their feelings. Imagine constantly not being understood by others and how frustrating that would get each day!
·        Often times, the child getting PT, OT, or ST also have cognitive and social delays, as in the case with children on the Autism spectrum. Difficulty identifying how others feel, appropriate social cues, or physical space is one of the prominent symptoms of their disorder.
·        Children brought in for behavior problems are often identified as having unidentified sensory issues as well. Without a counselor who is trained to identify potential sensory issues, these issues often go untreated.
If you are a PT, OT, ST, or CO, let us know how you feel this union of therapies has benefited your work with patients. Has it changed your approach to practice? How have you seen it benefit your patients?

Monday, April 9, 2012

What in the world is Occupational Therapy?

April is Occupational Therapy Month!  Occupational Therapy, which we lovingly call OT for short, is just one of the many therapies that we provide for pediatric patients at our facilities.  Many people don't actually know what OT is or what we work on in OT, so we've written this blog to help explain what it is that we do!
Does your child seem clumsier than other children his age or have difficulty completing simple daily tasks such as dressing or eating?  Does she get easily frustrated or restless when completing school work or have difficulty with handwriting? 
Many parents question whether their child is developing appropriately or notice that their child does not seem to be functioning at the same level as similarly aged peers. Other children’s function is delayed due to injury or prenatal cause. When these concerns are echoed by your child’s pediatrician, your child may benefit from Occupational Therapy.
The occupation, or job, of all children is to learn and develop into functional adults.  In childhood, this is done through play.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists work with children to restore, improve, maintain and develop skills needed for daily living.  They evaluate each child’s individual strengths and areas in need of improvement, and, in collaboration with the child’s caregivers, formulate a plan to maximize the child’s independence at home, school, and in the community.
Areas evaluated and remediated by  OTs are cognition and concentration, vision and visual perceptual issues (such as eye-hand coordination), social skills deficits,  feeding issues, sensory processing difficulties, handwriting, hand strength and overall function, clumsiness and body control and coordination, manual dexterity, and activities of daily living such as hygiene, dressing, household or community tasks.
The intervention is provided through play, so that the child learns and develops skills through fun games and activities.  Each family is educated regarding activities that can be done at home to further develop their child’s independence and function.
Through Occupational Therapy, children are able to gain the skills and confidence that they need to enjoy and succeed in school, be more responsible at home, and make and keep friends more easily.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter for Children with Special Needs

Easter for Children with Special Needs             
Easter can be a fun time of year with all pretty pastel colors, Easter bunnies, egg hunts and candy! If you have a child with special needs, the activities may need to be altered a little. Here are some ideas for making sure all your kids have a fun time this Easter weekend!
·         Host your own hunt. Sometimes the community egg hunts leave kids feeling frustrated or leaving with very few eggs and treats, especially if the child has challenges that make it hard to keep up with other kids. Consider having your own hunt at or around where you live. This allows your child to have as much time as they need and you can be as involved as you want without the pressures of kids swarming around you.
·         Designate one color per child. If you have more than one kid and they are functioning at different levels, considering designating one color egg for each child. This ensures that those who are slower at finding their eggs still come away with a full basket of goodies.
·         Table top hunts. If you have a child in a wheel chair or other mobility issues, consider hiding eggs in easy to reach places. One option is to put together a bin of rice (colored rice would be fun!) and hide the candy and eggs in the rice. This is also a great way to incorporate a sensory activity!
·         Prepare for changes. It is likely that your schedule will vary from the norm this weekend, especially with school being out for Good Friday. You may also be planning on hosting or attending an event with a lot of people. This can be very stressful for kids who struggle with change, transition, loud noises, etc. Consider your child’s special needs and prepare them, yourself, and others before hand.
·         Don’t push participation. If you child does not want to participate in the festivities just yet, don’t force them to do what they are not ready for. Some kids need to observe before they participate and others may want you close by. This is a fun time of year so accept that they may not be ready to participate just as you imagine.
·         Gluten Free Candy. If you are looking for special candy, try Butterfinger cream eggs, Cadbury Chocolate mini eggs, Carousel bubble gum, Dubble Bubble Egg Hunt Fun, and Hershey’s Marshmallow Eggs. For a complete list of candy, visit