Parent and Family Education

At Blythedale, we recognize the challenges of learning to care for your child while in the hospital and at home. Blythedale offers tailored education and training from the support of many disciplines so families feel competent and confident bringing their medically fragile child home.

Contact information

Angela Brennan Larkin, MSN, RN, Assistant Director of Child and Family Education

About Our Department

parent training

Providing extensive support and training to the child’s parents and caregivers prior to discharge is essential, and Blythedale has a team of specially trained nurse educators and respiratory therapists that work closely alongside patient families from admission to discharge. 

Training often starts bedside, and expands to include Blythedale’s new facilities dedicated to education. The Hospital’s Simulation Laboratory (Sim Lab) is a crucial resource. In the Sim Lab, clinical educators and respiratory therapists use high-tech medical mannequins to teach parents how to insert tubes, suction, and monitor and interpret mechanical signals and physical responses of their child. Child Life specialists help desensitize parents and siblings to the sights and sounds of medical equipment. Following an established multi-tiered training protocol, parents learn everything from how to bathe a baby with breathing and feeding tubes attached to their body to how to manage a portable ventilator and oxygen so they can take a walk outside. 

Often, parents enter traumatized, unable to see a path forward, and not yet in a condition to learn. Staff helps manage the multiple demands on parents’ time posed by jobs and other children at home. The team continually plans and monitors not just the child’s condition and treatment, but the parents’ educational needs and progress as well.

All training is customized to match the myriad variables impacting care including diagnosis, acuity, reliance on medical technology and life support, with the level of support required for a safe discharge home. 

River and his moms

Transitioning patients and families back to their communities is an important milestone in the healing process. The Parent and Family Education program and the Sim Lab are the conduit to making this transition a reality for our families. 

For most parents, the road home begins upon their child’s admission to Blythedale… giving their infant a first bath or learning to change their outfit amid tubing and a breathing apparatus. While their lives may have taken an unexpected trajectory, Blythedale’s Parent and Family Education program ensures that the future remains bright and filled with hope.

Our Services

Parents receive extensive training in managing their child’s condition and necessary medical equipment. If a child relies on medical technology, such as a ventilator, our staff engages parents in a thorough program of education - beginning on day one - so parents become confident and adept in all aspects of equipment use, from general operations to cleaning and maintenance.

Parents and family members may receive training in the following areas:

Tracheostomy management and care
Portable oxygen tanks
Ventilator management and care
Pulse oximeter monitoring

Appropriate dosing and administration via oral, intramuscular, subcutaneous routes

General feeding for infants with special considerations, etc.
Nasogastric tube insertion, management and care
Gastrostomy tube management and care
Jejunostomy tube management and care
Total Parenteral Nutrition

Diapering, bathing, skin care, other activities of daily living

Diapering, bathing, skin care, other activities of daily living

Please reach out to Angela Brennan Larkin for registration.

Parent & Caregiver Training

Profile photo for Jill  Wegener, M.S.N., R.N.

Jill Wegener, MSN, RN

Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer and Patient Care Services

Profile photo for Angela Brennan Larkin R.N., M.S.N. Ed.

Angela Brennan Larkin, RN, MSN Ed

Child and Family Education Coordinator

Profile photo for Dean Soto, M.P.A., R.R.T., A.E-C.

Dean Soto, MPA, RRT, AE-C

Assistant Director of Respiratory Therapy Clinical and Community Education