Our Primary Needs Program

Program Overview

The children placed in a primary medical needs home usually have terminal illnesses. Some may have not seen a doctor since birth. Some may have medical needs that their biological families could not care for.

Good Hearts’ Primary Medical Needs Program recruits foster parents who have had specific experience working with this population and can provide a schedule based on the normalization principle – one that incorporates the understanding of normal child development and enhances the child’s physical, emotional, and social development.  Good Hearts primary medical needs homes provide  these children with surroundings and experiences that reflect normal patterns of community living as closely as possible and as based on each child’s special needs.

Children Served

Good Hearts provides various services in foster home settings for children with primary medical needs who cannot live without mechanical supports or other services of others because of non-temporary, life-threatening conditions, including the:

  • inability to maintain an open airway without assistance (this does not include the use of inhalers for asthma);
  • inability to be fed except through a feeding tube, gastric tube, or a parenteral route;
  • use of sterile techniques or specialized procedures to promote healing, prevent infection, prevent cross-infection or contamination, or prevent tissue breakdown; and/or
  • multiple physical disabilities including sensory impairments..

A licensed physician will evaluate a child with primary medical needs within 72 hours of admission to confirm the appropriateness of the child’s care in the foster home. The physician’s assessment must confirm that the child can be cared for appropriately in a foster home setting and that the foster parents have been trained to meet the needs of the child and have demonstrated competency.

Services Offered

In addition to the child-care and treatment foster care services, Good Hearts staff will work with the foster family to ensure that a child with primary medical needs receives the following care as appropriate to the child’s needs:

  • consistent and frequent medical attention;
  • regular nursing or nursing supervision;
  • skilled staff to provide medical assistance;
  • an on-call nurse to be available;
  • assistance with mobility; and

administering of life-support medications