By Christina Swanson
I spoke with Joni Hughes who is recent owner of a new PPEC in town “Jumpstart Pediatrics”. PPEC stands for Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care and is a daycare option for medically fragile children who would not be appropriate for typical daycare due to medical issues. In the past, parents working or in school often kept medically fragile children home with round the clock nursing care. Therapy was provided in outpatient locations or through Early Steps around the parent’s schedule. Now more parents are learning about PPECs as an option for their child, and there are many more PPEC choices in Jacksonville. PPECs are staffed by skilled nurses who medically care for the children. Therapy is provided “in house” and includes PT, OT and ST as well as vision and hospital homebound schooling options. This cuts down on multiple additional appointments for the parents during the week and often fits their school/ work schedule better. Transportation is provided if needed, with buses or vans picking up the children in the morning and transporting them home. Medical personnel accompany the children on the bus rides to ensure their safety. Great Strides began staffing therapists at PPECs about 10 years ago, and has steadily grown with these companies. Joni responded to several questions about her experiences in this medical business.
What is your background medically?
“30 years of nursing, 20 of that in pediatrics, and most in critical care or home health. I have been involved in PPECs for 15 years.”
How did you decide to open a PPEC?
“I decided to open one because I wanted to produce a program that had more supportive services for the parents and more developmental and academic services for children. “I wanted a program that would offer children a variety of developmental options. People tend to forget that children who are medically complex can progress and should be offered the maximum amount of developmental opportunities available.”
How long has Jumpstart been open and how many children can it serve?
“It’s been open since December of 2016 and we are can service 50 children here in the center. We are growing very quickly and we happy with how the community has received the center and services we provide.”
What services does GSR provide for your PPEC?
“Physical, occupational and speech therapy. When available, Jon has also sent a music therapist regularly which the children love and respond to significantly.”
How long have you been contracting with Jon Edenfield and GSR?
“I’ve worked with Jon for over 10 years providing therapeutic services to children in PPECs.”
What were you specifically wanting to do with Jumpstart to “set it apart?”
“I wanted it to be a bright, airy and kid friendly environment that would stimulate the children’s growth and development as well as provide for their medical needs. I wanted it to be a place where parents felt comfortable leaving their children for the day.”
What is the mission of your program?
“At JumpStart Pediatrics, we strive to provide compassionate, quality care in a professional, caring and friendly environment. Our goal is to partner with your family to ensure the highest level of physical, developmental and social growth your child can possible attain. We are committed to help make a difference in your child’s overall health and well-being as we also strive to make a difference in the community we serve.”
Tell me about your family, and what you like to do in your spare time.
“I’ve been married for 30 years, have 4 children and 4 beautiful grandchildren. Family is very important to me.
I like spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren, reading, volunteering in the community, and going to the beach.”