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Patient programs

Patient programs

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie, care extends far beyond our walls. The medical center staff plans activities, as well as partners with a number of community organizations, to provide opportunities for children to explore and grow their potential, inside and outside the medical center. Your nurse, care manager or child life specialist will be able to direct you to opportunities, which include the following:

Adaptive sailing

The Bayfront Maritime Center hosts patients from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie as part of the Erie Adaptive Sailing Experience (EASE). EASE is the only adaptive sailing program in Pennsylvania. It allows community members – primarily youth – with physical disabilities, to sail independently on Presque Isle Bay. EASE helps children learn about teamwork and perseverance.

Patient Ambassador Program

Patient Ambassadors are current or former patients who are champions for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Patient Ambassadors serve as positive role models in their communities and donate their time to promote the medical center and the Shriners fraternity – all without asking for anything in return.

Organized through the marketing and communications department, the Patient Ambassador Program is a great way for patients and families to give the gift of their time and talent to the medical center. Patient Ambassadors represent the medical center in many different ways, including photo shoots, video productions and speaking to Shrine temples (chapters). The Patient Ambassadors attend local Shriners International temple events and local Shriners Hospitals for Children events and fundraisers, and also participate in news stories on television, radio and newspapers.

In addition to being invited to select events, Patient Ambassadors reap the benefits of building confidence and character through their participation. Patients and families may form lifelong friendships in the program and our younger patients may benefit by having the opportunity to meet older patients who have “been through it before.”

For more information on how to become a Patient Ambassador for the Erie Shriners Medical Center, please email Micheal Widrig or call 814-875-8780.

Sledge hockey

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie launched one of the first sledge hockey teams in the United States. Sledge hockey gives many children an opportunity to play hockey and emulate the superstars of the sport that they grow up watching in the northeast. The program allows patients to play teams from all over the U.S. and even travel to play teams in Canada.

Therapeutic horseback riding

Patients with spinal cord disorders and injuries have a chance to go back to nature and on to horses. Therapeutic horseback riding offers children with spinal cord injuries and conditions from spina bifida, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or trauma, a new way to deal with incontinence. By alternating between sitting front and rear facing, the children are able to strengthen different muscles. This therapeutic program is proving to be extremely successful at improving children’s continence.

Timmy’s Day Out

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie guides its patients with spina bifida and their families to begin developing the skills necessary for healthy, active lifestyles. Life for kids with spina bifida can have many extra challenges and the Timmy’s Day Out activities are planned to help them find ways to overcome obstacles. Timmy’s Day Out is a program created to help children with spina bifida grow up to be as healthy, able and independent as they can be.

Wheelchair basketball

In the summer, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie hosts a six-week wheelchair basketball event. The Erie Shriners Jammers are a team of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie patients who take on visiting teams. The children love being part of a team and the visiting teams experience wheelchair basketball, some for the first time.