When a child is too sick to go to day care or school, working parents often have little choice but to stay home and miss work themselves. Not so for those who live in and around Kennewick, Washington, however, where a new company offers bed rest and supervised nursing care for kids with low-level but contagious illnesses.
Chicken Soup + Nursing is a 20-bed facility aimed at kids up to 12 years old with fever, conjunctivitis, rashes or other problems that prevent their going to school. In a setting much like a hospital ward, children are evaluated by a doctor or nurse practitioner, and typically placed on varying degrees of bed rest (with a safe distance between beds). Their vitals are taken at routine intervals by certified staff. If they are found to require medication, those drugs are ordered from a pharmacy, picked up and administered as directed. Kids can bring toys, books, handheld games and movies along with a packed lunch or baby food, if appropriate. Chicken Soup + Nursing provides snacks and fluids, along with updates to parents throughout the day. Chicken Soup + Nursing is planning to become a 24/7 operation and to enable remote viewing of patients for parents at work.
Employers in the United States alone lose between USD 2 and USD 12 billion annually as a result of the 5 to 29 days working mothers miss each year on average caring for ill children, according to the National Association for Sick Child Daycare. Recession-beleaguered parents, meanwhile, are more reluctant than ever to risk compromising their jobs by missing time unnecessarily. Who will be first to offer daytime care for mildly sick kids in your neck of the woods…? (Related: Hotel approach to childcare.)