More News >
The mother of three had just moved to St. Charles County in Missouri when she had to take an unexpected trip to the emergency room at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles. She didn’t know anyone in the area and had no support system. So when doctors told her she needed to be admitted to the hospital, she was faced with a stressful situation. She could leave against medical advice and risk her health, or she could be admitted and the local family services agency would be called to watch over her children while she was treated.
However, there was a third option.
The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, an agency providing child care to families in need, was there to offer support.
The organization, which has a facility directly across the street from the hospital and another at SSM Health St. Joseph – Wentzville (Mo.), was able to meet the mother and reassure her that her children would be in good hands while she received medical care.
“She was able to see who would be caring for her children, and we were able to do the intake right there at the hospital,” said Lindsay Kyonka, program coordinator for the Crisis Nursery in St. Charles County.
The Crisis Nursery gave the kids a safe place to stay, and the mother was able to recover and get back on her feet.
This is just one of the many stories of hope and help from the Crisis Nursery. Whether a family is facing homelessness, illness, or any number of high-stress situations, the Crisis Nursery provides individualized services based on family needs.
In addition to respite care, the Crisis Nursery provides a family empowerment program, with master’s degree-level counselors who provide support to parents. Together, through community outreach, parent education groups, respite care, and the family empowerment program, Crisis Nursery impacted 26,000 parents and children in 2016. That includes more than 7,000 children through respite care alone.
In respite care, children are given physicals from a nurse practitioner who addresses any medical needs, and children under the age of 6 are given a developmental assessment. Art and play therapy are also provided for children staying with the Crisis Nursery.
“Our goal is to prevent abuse and neglect and to be that safe place for children,” Lindsay said. “Whether it’s a few hours or a few days, we’re able to provide a place for children to come depending on the need of the parent.”
To ensure the lives of children are being helped by the Crisis Nursery, goals are discussed and set with the parents at intake. Those goals often include finding stable employment and housing, and reducing stress levels at home.
“Our success rate is pretty good,” Lindsay said. “About 97% of parents meet their goals and report reduced stress levels at discharge.”
However, to continue to improve community health and provide St. Louis-area children with a safe place to stay in times of need, Crisis Nursery must work closely with other community leaders.
One of its biggest community partners is SSM Health.
“Saint Louis Crisis Nursery focuses on helping those who are most vulnerable – our children,” said Mike Bowers, president of SSM Health St. Joseph Hospitals in St. Charles and Wentzville. “Their presence near our hospital campuses is a great resource for our patients. We often identify individuals in our emergency department who are experiencing crisis and this is an avenue parents can take to be assured their children will be safe.”
When a child needs emergency medical care while staying at Crisis Nursery facilities, SSM Health hospitals are quick to provide it.
“I don’t know what our organization would have looked like in St. Charles County if it weren’t for SSM Health,” Lindsay said. “They are an amazing partner. It eases the parent’s minds to have medical care so close and available.”
In addition to offering medical care and services, SSM Health has held donation drives to provide basic supplies to the Crisis Nursery, such as diapers, baby wipes, and cleaning supplies; and organized a ‘Nickels for Nurses’ program that collected loose change adding up to nearly $1,000 for the organization. In addition, an annual SSM Health Christmas toy drive provides gifts for children whose parents are not able to provide them.
For two Mission-driven organizations, providing compassionate care hand-in-hand is a necessity.
“There’s a distinct alignment between SSM Health and the Crisis Nursery in our commitment to the community,” Mike said. “Our partnership with them reflects the Mission of SSM Health as well as our values of compassion and community.”
“There are so many families, especially with small children, who are in need,” Lindsay said. “There’s not one agency who can take care of all of those needs. It’s so vital to have community partnerships to help with that. We all need to work together.”
Learn more about the Crisis Nursery.
Terms | Privacy |
Contact | Careers |
SSM Health complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
Learn more here.