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Children’s Care Fund

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The Children’s Care Fund is used to improve pediatric care in our region and cover the cost of the care and related expenses for families of pediatric patients who do not have the means to pay.

Its scope is rather large, and in the last few years, we have used it to defray medical and travel expenses for pediatric patients, provide resources for NICU parents, purchase pediatric restraints for local ambulance companies, fund a gun violence program for at-risk youth, invest in distraction therapy for Children’s Specialty Care Center, and more!

Helping babies.

A fragile infant’s length of stay in UPMC Hamot’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can be as high as 90 days — or longer. While anxious parents are dealing with the uncertain fate of their newborn, the ongoing cost of travel, lodging, and parking (on top of medical expenses) can be a burden for any family. For low-income families, it can be devastating.

Hamot Health Foundation wants to help ease that burden and make travel and visitation possible at a time when it is critical for parents to be with their babies. This support not only relieves financial stress, but is often the determining factor in whether or not a parent will be able take time off of work to properly nurture their newborn. In addition, we will continue to provide sleep sacks and other safe sleep resources to help educate parents and caregivers.

Helping children.

Many of the children receiving specialized care at Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center Erie require extensive medical tests, which can be quite overwhelming, even to adults. Studies have shown that distraction therapy in the form of immersive murals called room wraps can help to not only decrease stress and anxiety, but also yield more accurate test results and diagnoses.

Hamot Health Foundation recently provided two room wraps, which engage all five senses of our young patients in the vitals room and cardiology room. We plan to increase pediatric telemedicine support and specialized dental equipment to eliminate tedious trips to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC whenever possible.

Helping communities.

Many schools in our inner city are lacking the resources to effectively meet student, family, and neighborhood needs. Hamot Health Foundation is providing enhanced health care programs and services in the Erie School District through the Community Schools Initiative. In addition, we are in the process of building a much-needed playground for the children in Erie’s most impoverished zip code. Research shows that regular play at a young age can prevent a whole host of physical and mental health issues in adolescence and adulthood, so we are eager to provide the first play space for the children in this inner city neighborhood.

We also recently equipped all emergency vehicles in our community with the Pedi-Mate® five-point restraint system for ambulance transport — to help ensure that children arrive safely to our area hospitals.