Family vacations are rare for children who live in a pediatric nursing home.
Most residents cannot speak or move independently, so it’s pretty intimidating to take them out of the building alone, never mind on a plane,” says Beth Barton, Director of Pediatrics at Radius Pediatric Center.
But the benefits outweigh the challenges, she said. Vacations strengthen family bonds and broaden the horizons of the children. That’s why businessman Bill Hallisey, Jr. owner of Shiretown Glass and Home Improvement in Plymouth, MA, rallied area merchants to donate a total of $10,000 towards the first of what he hopes will be many trips.
Bill Hallisey presents a check to Michael and Radius staff.
“When I was younger my sisters worked at the nursing home. I used to get introduced to some of the kids and joke around and get them to smile. Through the years I would drive by and wonder what happened to those children,. . . I wanted to help them give a child the experience of a lifetime,” said Bill.
In March, Radius sent Michael M. spent his mother, sister and brother for five days in Orlando, Florida. They were accompanied by a Licensed Practical Nurse who was familiar with Michael’s needs. Radius alswo arranged for a Certified Nursing Assistant in Orlando to provide total care for Michael, who is non-ambulatory and has complex medical issues.
“Michael loved the trip; we all did,” says his mother, Alison. “We haven’t been together like this in the nine or so years since he’s been away . . . It will be a lifelong memory for all of us.”
Beth Barton observes that residents seem more alert and interactive after extended time with their families.
Bill Hallisey says “Anything we can do to make the quality of life better for these children is just a good thing to do.”