The Special Care Nursery provides therapy, medical care and education for children who have serious health issues and medical conditions. The nursery is staffed by a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse and three certified nursing assistants with the medical expertise and training to care for our most vulnerable children. While receiving critical medical care, children play and learn in a safe, caring environment.

The Special Care Nursery also provides respite from the stress parents may experience while caring for a medically-fragile child, as well as time for them to care for their other children, and attend work or school.

A professional team of Penfield’s specialists work with families to develop a customized and coordinated plan of medical monitoring, education and therapy designed to advance their children’s development, and to help them become medically stable. The fundamental purpose of the Special Care Nursery is to improve each child’s quality of life, now and in the future.

Gia’s Story

Gia is a sweet 4-year-old who currently receives medical and therapeutic services at Penfield Children’s Center, while also attending Penfield Montessori Academy. Gia was a healthy, typically-developing baby at birth. After suffering from a lack of oxygen as the result of abuse when she was just 5-days-old, Gia sustained injuries that will affect her for the rest of her life. Rescued and resuscitated by a police officer, Gia was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. She was placed in foster care, and a year later, was adopted by her foster mother, Carrie.

“After taking placement of Gia’s sister at birth, I also took in Gia and adopted both girls because I knew I could provide a stable, loving environment,” said Carrie.

While receiving early intervention services through the Milwaukee County Birth-to-Three Early Intervention program, Gia was referred to Penfield by the Hanger Clinic at Children’s Hospital. Carrie toured the Special Care Nursery, and immediately knew it was the right place for Gia.

“I saw how well the children were taken care of, and felt the love that the nurses and other caregivers had for everyone placed in their care,” Carrie said. “There were also therapists on staff who could work with Gia, and it made me feel comfortable knowing she would receive the attention she needed throughout the day.”

After receiving medical services at Penfield’s Special Care Nursery, Carrie enrolled Gia in the K4 program at Penfield Montessori Academy. She continues to receive occupational, physical and speech therapy while she attends school, and receives medical treatment at the nursery at Penfield Children’s Center in the afternoon. Although Gia will never walk or talk, she is a bright, shining star, and is learning to communicate through eye gaze technology.

“Penfield Montessori Academy is always so warm and welcoming. No matter what issue comes up, they are willing to go the extra mile to help,” said Carrie. “The staff is constantly looking for appropriate equipment and services to help Gia with mobility and communication. I couldn’t ask for a better experience for my child.”

Penfield served 51 medically-fragile children with significant health concerns.

After receiving services in the Special Care Nursery, 96% of the children demonstrated improvements in their motor skills and 92% improved their cognitive skills.

98% of parents/caregivers reported they increased the knowledge and skills necessary to care for children with disabilities.