The educational and medical needs of a medically fragile child residing in a nursing home differ from the needs of a medically fragile child who resides at home. The acute medical needs of the nursing home child prevent the child from attending public school. For the nursing home staff, the emphasis is on addressing the medical needs of the child. The special education (usually part-time) teacher serves an important role in not only providing education but also being the primary professional in monitoring the child’s daily activities and needs. The special education teacher is aware of the child’s global needs and must integrate all the needed services/activities into an individualized curriculum for the child. The teacher also serves as a valuable resource when generalized information is needed, i.e., information about the fit/appropriateness of a wheelchair.
Special education teachers in the nursing home carefully determine each child’s interests and capabilities. The teacher adapts activities and equipment and relays information to other staff/team members. The teacher provides a daily curriculum of various activities:
The teacher is the primary individual who creates a caring, nurturing, learning environment in a medical facility.
DOE physical and occupational therapists provide resource consultation to the special education teachers concerning positioning and curricular activities. The nursing home staff provides all of the nursing services to the students.
There is a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOE and the individual nursing home facilities which delineates the responsibilities of both the DOE and the nursing home.