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Packard Children's Hospital, Foundation Provide Financial Support for School Nurses in San Jose
Date:11/5/2007

Joint grant of $2.65 million to support San Jose Unified School District

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health today announced a joint grant of $2.65 million over five years to the San Jose Unified School District. This 'demonstration project' will restore full-time school nursing programs in four schools located in neighborhoods where many children lack access to regular health care services.

San Jose Unified currently has a ratio of only one nurse to 2,055 students, only about one-third the federally recommended level of 1 to 750, according to Don Iglesias, superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District. Yet school nurses increasingly are called upon to provide highly complex care, including assisting in chronic disease management.

"Children who come to school with poorly managed asthma or diabetes, dental pain or behavioral issues are not able to perform at their best level academically," Iglesias said. "Our nurses are overwhelmed. We appreciate the willingness of Packard Children's and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health to help us address this immediate issue and develop a model for longer term solutions."

The project is designed to help children succeed in school by improving their access to primary care and prevention services, and by establishing a "medical home" for students who do not have a regular health care provider. In addition to four school nurses, the grant also includes funding for a nurse practitioner based at School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County. The nurse practitioner will consult with the school nurses; assist in creating care plans for children with chronic problems; offer primary care; and refer patients to other healthcare professionals.

Research has shown that children who have a medical home where they receive ongoing health services fare better overall, but the cost of developing a health center at every school can initially seem prohibitive, said David Alexander, MD, president and CEO of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

"With this project, we hope to demonstrate that a network of school nurses who are formally linked to a clinic serving multiple schools is a cost-effective model for getting children the care they need to succeed in school," Alexander said.

Almost 5,000 students in the San Jose Unified District -- 18 percent -- are diagnosed with chronic health problems. Nurses typically are responsible for three or four schools, and the increasing caseloads of chronic medical problems have reduced time for routine health screenings and health education.

Children with chronic conditions are absent more frequently, which not only creates additional learning challenges for the student but also reduces state reimbursement to schools, which is based on average daily attendance.

The project, which the hospital and the foundation will fund equally, will maintain the nurses for five years in four schools: Hoover and Burnett Academy middle schools, and Empire Gardens and Anne Darling elementary schools. All currently are covered by part-time nurses. The schools were chosen because they have a high percentage of students living in poverty; substantial enrollments of children who do not have access to regular health care; and proximity to the School Health Clinics at San Jose High Academy and Washington Elementary School. The clinics can provide services from physicians, physician assistants, nurses, a dietitian, and a health educator.

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine will evaluate the project, analyzing measures such as access to ongoing health services, management of chronic problems and school attendance.

"As the children's hospital for Santa Clara County, we currently see many children from San Jose," said Christopher Dawes, president and CEO at Packard Children's. "Our goal is to help these children be well and stay well. By improving access to primary care and prevention, we're taking steps to help kids stay in school and lessen the chance they'll need our services in the future. School nurses in the San Jose Unified School District are on the front line of this care, and we're proud to support them."

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's top 10 pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 264-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services -- from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit http://www.lpch.org.

About the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health is a public charity whose mission is to "promote, protect and sustain the physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health of children." The Foundation raises funds for Packard Children's Hospital; makes grants to community partners in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties; and provides extensive data and information about the health and well being of Bay Area children. The Foundation is independent of both Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. For more information, call (650) 497-8365 or visit http://www.lpfch.org.

About the San Jose Unified School District

San Jose Unified School District serves about 31,000 students from kindergarten through grade twelve. Embracing the major portion of the city, the boundaries of San Jose Unified include a geographic area of over one hundred square miles. San Jose Unified has 27 elementary schools, six middle schools, and seven high schools. The student population is 29% Anglo, 51% Hispanic, 13% Asian, 3% Black and 4% other. Nearly 27% of the student population has limited English proficiency, with 83% of those students being Spanish speaking. The socio-economically disadvantaged population of SJUSD is 44% and the Special Education population is 11%. http://www.sjusd.org.

About School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County

SHCSCC is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that currently operates six licensed Federally Qualified Health Centers located on school campuses. The clinics serve children from birth to age 19 from the host school and other feeder schools in the district and the general neighborhood. All of the clinics are located in communities with high health access disparities due to poverty, insurance status, etc. They provide urgent care for illness and injuries; annual and sports physicals; monitoring and treatment of chronic diseases; vaccine and immunizations, including TB tests; lab tests; dental screening and referral; prescriptions; and confidential services and counseling for teens. These clinics operate under the supervision of a full-time physician medical director. http://www.schoolhealthclinics.org.

CONTACT:

Robert Dicks, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, (650) 497-8364

Eileen Walsh, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health,

(650) 736-2881

Melinda Landau, RN, San Jose Unified School District, (408) 535-6377


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SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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