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Bristlecone pines to name new kids program

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI

FRISCO – Jill Strandquist helps premature babies learn to nurse or drink from a bottle, control their hand-eye coordination and regulate their sleep. Through Bristlecone Health Services, she and other therapists offer at-home services children and families would otherwise have to travel to Denver to receive.This month, Bristlecone officially christens its program that helps children in need of home care services with a name – but it wants the community’s help. The nonprofit is holding a contest for the best name. The winner receives a gift basket donated by local businesses and the satisfaction of helping promote the organization’s work.”We would love it if a kid won, since this is about kids,” said Shelly Michell, Bristlecone director of operations. “We’ve batted around ideas with an alpine theme – offshoots of bristlecone, like pine cones or seedlings.”By naming the children’s program, Bristlecone can focus on education and fundraising campaigns more easily.”There’s a misconception with home health care that it’s all elderly patients, but that’s just not the case, especially up here,” Michell said. “About 50 percent of our patients are kids, and each year we get more. Most are receiving therapies to help meet developmental milestones. Because it’s such a big part of what we do, we wanted to give it a name to bring more attention to it.”Most of Bristlecone’s patients are insured with Medicaid, which reimburses Bristlecone far less than the cost of providing services, Michell said.Pediatric therapy requires specialized training in neurology and developmental skills. Most physical therapy or outpatient clinics do not offer the service because it needs specialized training and the services are not well reimbursed, she said. “(Without Bristlecone), families would be required to stay in Denver – or travel – to receive treatment,” Strandquist said. “(With Bristlecone), they are able to return home from the hospital earlier. The home is the most logical place for a child to receive treatment.”Physical therapist Nancy Lohrenz works with Strandquist, an occupational therapist. They see about 30 kids, Lohrenz said.”It’s so important that kids get the services they need right away, because it makes such a difference in their long-term outlook,” Lohrenz said. The deadline for contest entries is 5 p.m. Aug. 23. People may submit entries by phone at (970) 668-5604 or e-mail at shelly@colorado.net.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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