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Jump Start Program Tour — how we’re helping curb childhood obesity

Welcome to Nexus Children’s Hospital of the Woodlands.

I’m June Finnerty, program director for the Jump Start Program. I’m looking forward to sharing the features and benefits of our facility with you. Before we begin the tour, I’d like to share a brief background on our Jumpstart program here at Nexus Children’s Hospital of the Woodlands. We work with children with established weight control problems, including Prader-Willi Syndrome, or PWS, and childhood obesity. Our patients need a safe, structured environment to help them reach weight loss and general health and wellness goals. As the only nationally recognized inpatient program designed to treat childhood obesity and the weight and behavioral issues of poli syndrome, nexus Jumpstart Program focuses on key objectives, including decreasing BMI, resolving weight related conditions, developing strategies to manage behavior, developing coping skills for at home school or in the community, and improving our patient’s overall quality of life.

Let’s start in the state-of-the-art pediatric rehabilitation gym

Our welcoming home-like setting was designed for all children, including those who have found traditional outpatient programs unsuccessful. Here we address the whole child and individualize a plan that addresses their needs and helps them have fun along the way. During the tour, you’ll see a variety of areas around our facility. We’ll begin in our rehabilitation, gym and activities. Room movement is key in the Jumpstart program. Every day, seven days a week, our patients are engaged in a variety of activities and therapies, both individually and as a group. While each patient has an individualized plan, developing and strengthening emotional and social skills is just as important. Together, our patients may work on a group dance, enjoy pet therapy, or share a movie night. We also have a wonderful recreational therapy team that organizes yoga sessions, arts and crafts, and interactive games. Individual and group exercise also takes place daily.

Our state-of-the-art, rehabilitation, and exercise equipment helps patients meet their weight loss and health goals. Specific equipment challenges patients to increase endurance, improve pace, and learn to navigate an environment. We also offer a scoliosis program, exercise regimen for patients when appropriate. The activity room is also where our patients eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and any snack in between. Food security is crucial. Our patients with PWS have food seeking behaviors, so it’s important we maintain a structured program with individualized diets to help every child reach his or her goal.

Patient rooms for children with PWS and childhood obesity

Moving on to our patient rooms. Both private and semi-private rooms are available with ample space for clothes and other personal items. Since our patients often stay with us for extended periods of time, we encourage families to decorate their rooms just like they would at home. Items like posters and pictures, a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, a special toy or even familiar bedding and pillows can help a child feel more comfortable.

Patient rooms at our hospital are viewed as a personal space, just like a bedroom would be used at home. Our patient rooms are designed to provide children with a space for structured quiet time.

A structured schedule helping children navigate the comorbidities of PWS and childhood obesity

Downtime is important to everyone, whether you’re in a hospital or not. This time is built into our daily schedule to give everyone a chance to relax and decompress from being with the group during the day. Oftentimes, our patients will play a game or read a book to unwind.

Caregiver and parent conferences help keep everyone informed

Another important space at our hospital is the conference room. Here our team meets to discuss each patient individually assessing their needs and progress during their stay with us. During these meetings, we also adjust their treatment plan, diet, and exercise regimen to ensure every child is set up for success. This space is also used for family conferences, either in person or virtually. We have many patients from the local area and just as many from states across the country. Either way, we strive to keep all families engaged and apprised during their child’s stay. Family support groups and counseling also take place in the conference room.

Thank you for taking this tour with me. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’d like to learn more about our Jumpstart Health and Wellness program, or if you have a patient or loved one who may benefit from our services.

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