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9/8/09: Verrill Farm to hold Harvest Festival to benefit Emerson Hospital pediatric unit

The Verrill Farm Harvest Festival to Benefit Emerson Pediatric Care will take place on Saturday, October 10, 2009, from noon to 4:00 p.m. Proceeds from this festival will benefit coping kits distributed by Emerson Hospital’s pediatric intervention team. The kits are colorful bags of toys given to children who enter the hospital through the emergency department or upon admission to the pediatric unit.

The partnership with Verrill Farm and its annual harvest festival, which typically attracts more than 1,000 visitors, will allow the pediatric coping kits to gain increased exposure. “On behalf of the pediatric patients of Emerson Hospital and the staff who care for them, the pediatric intervention team is extremely grateful to Verrill Farm for hosting the Harvest Festival to support the hospital’s coping kit program,” said Kay Liebmann, nurse coordinator of Emerson Hospital’s pediatric intervention team. “The coping kits have enabled thousands of children to be active participants in their own care and cope with necessary medical procedures. Verrill Farm continues to be a most important champion for the well-being of our community’s children.”

The fall family festival will feature pumpkin picking, hay rides, face painting, pony rides, a raffle, live music by Boston Road Bluegrass, refreshments, and an informational table on the coping kits.

Since November 2005 when the coping kits program was piloted, more than 11,000 kits have been distributed to pediatric patients. Color-coded for age and gender, the kits are designed with an understanding of the developmental needs of children and the stressors encountered by a child entering a medical environment. “Stressors include fear of separation, fear of pain, loss of control, intimidating surroundings and loss of privacy,” said Liebmann. “The coping kits help children and parents cope more successfully with the hospital experience.”

The pediatric intervention team at Emerson is a multidisciplinary group that consists of two child life specialists, a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse, and a consulting child psychiatrist. The team recognizes the unique psychosocial needs of hospitalized children and their families. The services the team provides are based on the emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy to young adulthood. Through careful preparation and continuing support, the team aims to minimize a child's anxiety in the health care environment and promote opportunities for growth and mastery of the hospital experience.

Emerson's pediatric program includes several components that are unique for a community hospital: 24-hour in-hospital coverage by pediatric hospitalists, community pediatric practices that provide around-the-clock coverage for their patients, a special care nursery for ill newborns, the pediatric intervention team and partnerships with the pediatric services at leading Boston teaching hospitals.

Verrill Farm, located at 11 Wheeler Road in Concord and owned and operated by Steve and Joan Verrill and Jennifer Verrill Faddoul, grows 140 acres of fruits and vegetables for sale in its farm stand and to many local restaurants in the Boston area. A bakery and kitchen offers baked goods, pre-cooked entrees, breads, soups, and made-to-order sandwiches. The mission at Verrill Farm is “…to nourish the body and soul of our customers by providing healthful food of superb flavor in surroundings of beauty,” said Steve Verrill. “Through the use of sound and efficient farming practices, we strive to maintain our land, and provide a good living for our employees, and a reasonable return to the owners.”