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Bridging the Great Health Divide with sensory inclusive pediatric care

Mom calls it “life-changing”
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 6:33 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Few kids find going to the doctor’s office fun, but for those who have special sensory needs or issues processing new sights and sounds, that environment can be traumatizing.

A new children’s clinic in Memphis is bridging that gap in more ways than one.

Urgent Care for Children just opened its third clinic in the Memphis area.

President and Co-founder Dr. Allury Arora says their mission is to serve as a convenient and affordable alternative to emergency rooms.

“We identified that there was a huge gap in the after-hours options for children to be seen. We decided that this will be a great way to bridge the care between a pediatrician’s office and an emergency room,” said Arora.

The clinic also calls itself the nation’s first sensory-inclusive urgent care facility for children.

“Statistically today, one in every four to five kids is either on the spectrum or is being investigated to be on a spectrum with either a diagnosis of Autism or ADHD, which brings up the significance of how do we really handle these kids, especially when they’re sick or when they’re injured?” said Arora.

The clinics have sensory bags and mobile sensory units at 17 locations spread out through Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana.

Vanessa Faulkner, a Clinic Manager at Urgent Care for Children, explained how the sensory units work.

“What we like to do is make them feel comfortable. We have a room set up just for them and we have items in the bag to not distract them and to keep them focused on just paying attention and having a good time,” said Faulkner.

The sensory bags have headphones, toys and emotion cards and can be moved to any room to help entertain patients.

There’s also a quiet room.

“It’s secluded from all the other busier areas. It’s away from the front area, away from the desk for our nurses and doctors as well. So that room provides them with space where they can go in and feel like they’re secure and they are happy,” said Faulker.

Amy Powell says taking her four-old son to Urgent Care for Children has been life-changing.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand the struggle it is for some of us that have kids that deal with these issues. How stressful it can be to take them to different places. So when I heard that they were sensory-friendly it was definitely a big draw and I have several friends that were excited about it too,” says Powell.

“Each of our team members at urgent care for children go through extensive training,” said Arora.

Powell says she’s grateful to have found a place that fits her family’s needs.

“Just seeing that there is more awareness that is being spread around the community is a big deal,” she said.

She says visits to the doctor’s office are now shorter - cut down by 20 minutes, sometimes even more.

Urgent Care for Children’s newest clinic is in East Memphis. There are two other locations in Collierville and Cordova.

Urgent Care for Children is open 365 days a year and accepts all major insurances, including Medicaid.

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