Having a sick child is hard, there’s no doubt about that. First and foremost, parents are faced with the sense of helplessness that comes with knowing your son or daughter feels poorly, and there’s little that can be done to instantaneously restore their health.
We break out the infant Tylenol, the vaporizer and the Pedialyte. We rock our kids, rub their backs and wrap them in blankets. And in the midst of calling day care to alert them to your child’s absence and calling the pediatrician to make an appointment, you realize there’s one more call you need to make — to your boss.
That’s right, you can’t make it to work today. Then the guilt settles in. You have a big project due; your supervisor was counting on you; your already-overworked colleagues will be saddled with your duties. And your dwindling supply of paid sick leave is taking another hit. As if caring for a sick baby wasn’t difficult enough, now you’re left to fret about your job and wonder whether your co-workers resent you.
Enter St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital’s Bearly Sick program. The program provides child care for mildly ill children, ages 3 months to 14 years, who are too sick to attend school or daycare. For $24, parents have the peace of mind of knowing that their little ones are in a clean, comforting environment under the supervision of a medically trained attendant.
My husband and I have used the Bearly Sick program three times now, and each time we’ve been impressed with the hospitality, gentle care and attention our daughter received.
The Candler program is housed in two bright, cheery rooms equipped with cribs, cots, mats, toys, stuffed animals and books. Breakfast and lunch are provided, or parents are welcome to send their children with food. Parents can fill out an instruction sheet if they’d like the attendant to administer medication at certain times or specify the child’s feeding and nap schedule. And moms and dads can call at any time throughout the day to check in on a little one in attendance.
The Bearly Sick program is a blessing to working parents. Everyone wins — children receive tender, loving care in a healthy, professional environment, and parents can tend to the demands of their jobs without inconveniencing co-workers, disappointing bosses or losing paid sick time.
Let’s hope this trend catches on, because it sure would be nice to see a few more programs of this nature spring up around the area.