Boyer CONNECT Update
“Through my work as an occupational therapist (OT) at Boyer, I have supported many families who have trouble meeting their basic needs, and have seen how this can be a significant barrier to engagement in therapy for their young children. When someone is concerned about their family’s safety or where their next meal will come from, things like attending therapy appointments, choosing a preschool program, or tracking their toddler’s developmental milestones can become completely overwhelming.
Trauma, family stress and poverty can be additional risk factors for developmental delays, and this is especially true for children ages birth to five years. Families experiencing homelessness are more likely to have difficulty accessing health-care services, experience lower quality care, and often have to navigate social stigma as well, resulting in preventable health disparities. Because of the systemic factors that lead to health inequities, it is important to create systemic solutions.
Thanks to generous grants from Premera Blue Cross and Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority (PHPDA), Boyer’s CONNECT program is working to address these health inequities and provide support for families experiencing housing insecurity. As program lead, I am able to:
- Meet regularly with staff at Mary’s Place, provide training to monitor developmental milestones and created a streamlined referral process to relevant services
- Collaborate with agencies such as Kids Plus and First Steps to increase understanding of the services available to children who demonstrate developmental delays
- Help refer families who are often at risk of falling through the cracks of our health-care systems.
Once families are enrolled in Boyer CONNECT, we continue to collaborate with other agencies to ensure these families are getting all the services they need. We offer CONNECT families a set team to create a consistent continuum of care and build trust in familiar faces. This opportunity to collaborate, from pre-referral all the way through discharge, helps to improve outcomes for young children with disabilities or developmental delays.
This life-changing program would not be possible without the dedication and partnership between so many organizations, and the investment and commitment of financial supporters like Premera and PHPDA. On behalf of the children and families we proudly serve, thank you for making a real, lasting and important difference. Thank you for helping us change lives.”
— Julia Shure OTR/L, Boyer CONNECT program lead