Annual children’s physicals provided by Healthy Grandparents Program

Local child is guided through eye test by Nurse Practitioner students

The Healthy Grandparent’s Program (HGP) is sponsored through the Augusta University College of Nursing and provides physical, emotional, and social support to grandparents and great-grandparents raising their grandchildren. The services provided are designed to increase a family’s access to resources, increase empowerment and independence, and promote stability and permanency in children’s lives. This week, HGP hosted their annual children’s physicals in the Nurse-Managed Health Center. This tradition began about eight years ago under the leadership of Dr. Mary Lou LaComb Davis.

Dean NeSmith poses with DNP students and child showing off his superhero mask

Dr. Pam Cromer, current director of the program, and program coordinator Mike Patton planned the event that spanned two days. “This is a real opportunity to engage with families within this community of grandparents raising their grandkids. Our focus is on the children today and providing age-appropriate anticipatory guidance and education. All of this helps to strengthen a family’s ability to provide for their children’s development,” said Cromer.

Patton said, “I want to thank the nursing students. They adapted well and were good with the kids. I’m happy we can have this partnership with the College of Nursing. The health aspect is a great thing to offer the grandparents and is a great resource to lean on.” Doctor of Nursing Practice students and nursing faculty volunteered to provide the various exams, and the Georgia Cancer Center set up an information table providing resources to the children and grandparents. “This is an opportunity for our nurse practitioner students to develop their skillset on complex family situations and learn to gain that trust and cooperation from children,” Cromer added.

DNP (Nurse Practitioner) students and faculty who provided the exam services

Savannah Workman, an NP student who participated in the two-day event said, “The experience for me means giving back to my community that’s given to me. Growing up [here] and being from Augusta, I’ve been able to give back to those who put so much time into me to help me be where I am today.”

Each physical included weight and height measurements, vitals, a hearing and vision test, and a home evaluation questionnaire. At the end of their exam, each child was able to select a unique handmade blanket provided by the local chapter of Project Linus. The event was attended by nearly 95% of the families who signed up, with approximately 24 families served and over 50 children seen.

Dean NeSmith speaks with HGP child about her selected blanket

Donations to the Healthy Grandparents Program can be made here. If you or someone you know needs support while raising grandchildren aged 0-17 in parent-absent homes, reach out to Mike Patton at 706.721.6227

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Nina Siso
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