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10-22-20 — Virtual Event Helps Parents Handle Childhood Sickness

Oct. 22, 2020 ~ Knowing how to respond when a young child gets sick is tricky, especially in these times of COVID-19. Should you take the child to the doctor? Does this illness require an emergency room visit?

More than 30 families in the Olathe Head Start program attended a virtual health care event to get answers to questions about their child’s health.

“Head Start has done this event in the past in conjunction with a health fair,” said Head Start Director Kim Sill. “This year due to COVID we put together the training online and had families RSVP.”

By asking families to sign up in advance, the Head Start staff was able to prepare a gift of the book “What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick” along with a first aid kit and basket of other health and safety items. Families referenced the books during the virtual health care institute. Sill said the book focuses on home health care and how to decide whether to take a sick child to the doctor or the emergency room.

Head Start nurse Sarah Dement taught families how to use the book as a resource, how to take a child’s temperature, and how to properly measure medications.

“The overall goal of this training is to reduce the number of emergency room visits through educating families about health issues that can be treated at home,” Sill said. 

Organizing an event like this requires community support. This year Aetna provided a grant for a family activity. Sill said Aetna is one of the Medicaid providers families can choose from, and part of the virtual health care institute included an Aetna representative discussing open enrollment.

“Head Start relies on community partners to help provide resources and support for low-income families,” Sill said. “Head Start is required to match 20 percent of our federal grant with community in-kind or non-federal help in the form of tangible donations, volunteer time, or services.”

Every family received a door prize which ranged from baby monitor to fire extinguisher, smoke alarm to heating pad. Safe Kids of Johnson County donated a car seat, helmets, pack and play, and safety basket.

“Families appreciated the great information and of course they loved all the wonderful giveaways that we were able to provide,” Sill said.