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Children with PWS playing a dance game in physical therapy

Nexus Children’s Hospital expands Jump Start Program in The Woodlands

Nexus Health Systems is excited to open their second Nexus Children’s Hospital location, in The Woodlands. The ribbon cutting took place in late September 2021 to celebrate the expansion of the hospital system’s one-of-a-kind Jump Start Health and Wellness Program for children with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and those struggling with childhood obesity.

“The Jump Start Health and Wellness Program is the only program of its kind in the United States,” said Dr. John W. Cassidy, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Medical Director. “We developed the Jump Start Program years ago to assist young people with PWS in achieving their health and weight maintenance goals in a supportive environment. I’m so proud to see this expansion happen that enables us to serve even more children locally and from across the country.”

PWS is a rare genetic condition that is often diagnosed at birth or at a young age and continues to impact a person’s life. Individuals with PWS are unable to feel satiated after eating, and because of that, they develop obesity and weight management issues that are difficult to control with conventional weight management treatments. Children with PWS also frequently have intellectual development issues and behavioral challenges that result in food-seeking behavior.

“Children with PWS often struggle with severe obesity and may weigh 100 or more pounds more than other children at their age and for their height,” said June Finnerty, Jump Start Health and Wellness Program Director. “It is challenging for young people and their families to find treatment and solutions to address the many issues of this unique, complex, and rare disorder. Our program not only provides therapies and exercise strategies that help children reach their weight loss and management goals, but it also provides social and emotional support and family counseling and training.”

The Woodlands hospital is centrally located north of Houston, near Bush Intercontinental Airport, and will serve children and adolescents from across the country. Using highly structured and evidence-based treatment methods, the Jump Start Health and Wellness Program provides specialized treatment plans that go beyond diet and exercise. Social skills and therapies such as speech therapy and recreational therapy help young people develop life skills they can use beyond their time in the program.

The new location at 9182 Six Pines Drive will focus exclusively on inpatient services for children and adolescents in the Jump Start Health and Wellness Program. This is the second location for Nexus Children’s Hospital. The first is in West Houston and provides a wide range of treatments for children with complex medical needs. The new facility in The Woodlands continues to offer Nexus’ nationally renowned services and highly specialized staff while boasting 20+ beds and a state-of-the-art rehabilitation room, exercise gym, and activities space.

“Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of programs aimed at helping children with PWS. Our goal is to address each patient’s medical and behavioral complications and tailor a customized treatment plan through calorie-controlled meals, set schedules, individual physical training plans, and behavioral health support that benefits patients and their families,” said Jump Start Health and Wellness Administrator Ryan McFarland.

Children with PWS are often an underserved population. Nexus Children’s Hospital is committed to providing care second to none to improve the quality of life for young people with PWS and childhood obesity. The Woodlands location will focus on providing a home-like and family-focused environment where patients and their families can thrive.

“We have celebrations for our kids who have lost 100 pounds. We even have some kids who have lost 200 pounds because their lives depend on it. We help children find a balance between realizing they can’t eat the way they have been, but also to have enjoyment, and also know that the people surrounding them love and care for them,” Cassidy said.

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