* Expansion Necessary to Accommodate Burgeoning Waitlist
* NY State Issues Certificate of Need to Accommodate Growing Demand for Care
Ossining, NY–The Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehab Center, which specializes in the care and treatment of medically complex children (all who require long-term residential care and many whose lives are terminal) is planning to expand its home at 15 Spring Valley Road. This expansion will enable Sunshine to improve the quality of life for the current number of children who live there, as well as to reduce the number of waitlisted children who are in dire need of the kind of care that this 55-year old facility provides.
Sunshine’s expansion plans and facility discussions began four years ago with the goal of enhancing support of the care, health, and positive psychological growth of the children who live there. Plans to do this include the increase of its square footage from 19,000 to 146,000 to create long-needed space for additional beds, essential specialty medical equipment and circulation areas, improved classroom space for the onsite school, rooms for visiting families, etc.
“These 33 acres and the Sunshine Children’s Home have become a lifeline for our families over the past 55 years. We are known as a ‘second home’ for the families of the children who need to live here and the only home that these children have ever known,” said Linda Mosiello, who has served as director of the Sunshine Children’s Home since 2009. “We are so very grateful to have been granted this Certificate of Need from NY State, which shows that the planned expansion size is more than appropriate for the size of our site and its surrounding acreage, and moreover, comports with the bulk and dimensional requirements of the Zoning Code.”
She continued, “We desperately need this space in order to improve the quality of care and living for our children and to make room for the overwhelming number of children who need to be here. Our goal is to soon be able to care for them with better medical facilities and to provide a true school experience for them, as our current space for school is housed in a makeshift addition.”
Mosiello offered details regarding Sunshine’s long-planned, careful process including research, studies and approvals to date:
● In 2014, the Sunshine Children’s Home was granted a Certificate of Need by the New York State Department of Health. The Home is currently operating at 100% capacity, and has a waitlist of over 70 sick children, all of whom will need the resources that Sunshine provides for the duration of their lifespan, which is limited for 50 percent of the children in care. The planned expansion will allow the facility to increase from 54 to 122 pediatric nursing facility beds in order to make somewhat of a dent in the waitlist.
*Note: Including Sunshine, there are currently only nine nursing facilities in New York State with dedicated pediatric nursing units, two of which intend to cease pediatric operations in the near future. Only three of these facilities are able to fully address special-needs pediatric care. The need to expand the Sunshine Children’s Home has never been higher.
● The application for the expansion project was first filed in December, 2014, following several months of pre-application meetings with the town, and was revised after three months of meetings with the town. This review process began after a year-long approval process from the New York State Department of Health.
● The application’s traffic study, conducted by a professional traffic engineer with over 25 years of experience in traffic engineering, shows that the proposed project will not result in any significant adverse impacts on traffic. No existing levels of service in the town or surrounding areas will change as a result of the project. The traffic study for this project was reviewed by the town’s traffic consultant, who has extensive expertise in traffic engineering and whose firm has more than 60 years of history in Westchester County. The town’s traffic engineer concurred with the results of the study.
● Environmental reports detailing the project’s impacts on wetlands, tree removal, steep slopes, rock removal and water usage were prepared by Sunshine and agreed upon by the town. Field tests indicate that there is adequate water supply to service the proposed addition without impacting water supply at neighboring properties. In fact, the reports identify the impacts of the project and demonstrate that they will not at all be significant including water usage and sewage disposal.
● The Sunshine Children’s Home has worked with both the Department of Health and the Westchester Office of Emergency Management on the formulation of their Indian Point Evacuation Plan. It is a well thought out, state-approved response that does not draw upon town or local resources. A preliminary update of this plan to reflect a new projected census has been drafted and will follow the same approval process as the previous plan, which includes working with nearby hospitals and nursing homes to jointly handle evacuations, and covers both the shelter and the transportation of residents. It also includes a “Shelter in Place” response which details specific contingencies for incidents at Indian Point. Sunshine is required to conduct mock evacuations and Shelter in Place drills at least twice a year.
The mission of the Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center is to create a loving and supportive environment that provides the highest level of quality pediatric care for children who need it. The Home takes in children from birth to 18 years of age who require post-acute medical care and/or rehabilitative therapy, combined with psychological and developmental interventions. About 46 percent of the children in residence require palliative care, while an equal percentage of others improve enough with care to be discharged to a group or community facility, or ideally, at home with their families. For more information, visit www.sunshinechildrenshome.org.