Day Program (Pediatric) Overview

Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Children with Chronic Diseases 

When chronic illnesses such as asthma, eczema and long COVID get out of control, sometimes multiple visits are needed to identify and treat all related issues, and get your child’s health back on track.

This program is highly effective. Read Ian Kearney's story to learn how our team helped him with food allergies. 

The Day Program at National Jewish Health for Kids provides the intensity of an inpatient stay with the convenience of outpatient visits to address the full range of health care needs from evaluation to behavioral health, patient education, medication, self-management and more.

Over a set number of consecutive business days, determined based on your child’s specific needs, a team of specialists work together to evaluate your child’s condition and create a treatment plan. Your child’s Day Program team will work with you to start the treatment plan and teach you how to continue following it at home. We will also communicate all recommendations with your child’s primary doctor so care can stay on track, and you and your family have a support system at home.


Our Mission 

Patient Care TeamThe mission of the National Jewish Health for Kids Day Program is to accurately diagnose and treat allergic, respiratory, COVID and immune system disorders, while teaching you how to manage your child’s health condition.

The Day Program provides the same high quality, individualized and comprehensive care that comes from our world-renown reputation. A team of experts in medicine, behavioral health, rehabilitation therapy, nutrition, patient education and more, work together with children, adolescents, families and primary physicians.

This team helps you:

  • Gain a greater understanding of your child’s disease
  • Provides hands-on learning to manage their condition(s)
  • Creates a long-term treatment plan that’s tailored to your child’s particular needs

At the end of your child’s stay, you take this plan home with you and continue what you learned in the Day Program.


Why National Jewish Health?

Time: We don’t believe in the 20-minute office visit. We believe in taking time to listen to parents and children, so we can make accurate diagnoses and individualize treatment plans for your child’s specific needs.

Multispecialty Approach: We treat chronic diseases every day, so we know that they can be complex and affect more than physical health. The Day Program uses a multispecialty approach to address how your child’s chronic disease affects behavior, mental health, social interactions and family life. This approach provides children and their families with an increased sense of independence, confidence, and control over the illness.

The providers at National Jewish Health are nationally recognized with expertise in asthma, allergies, eczema, food allergies, immunology, pulmonology and pharmacology.

Convenience: Our team of providers works together seamlessly to make an accurate diagnosis and develop treatment and education plans that addresses all the unique needs of your child’s health. This type of evaluation and patient education can’t happen in the normal outpatient clinic setting.

Results: Your child will do a better job managing their health condition after learning from our team and practicing how to manage and cope with it at home. For many years, parents have told us how the Day Program has helped their children and what a difference it has made in their families.

We can help your child too.

Make an appointment with the Day Program if your child has:

  • Trouble getting asthma, allergies, eczema or other immune or respiratory conditions under control
  • Difficulty taking regular medications
  • An unhealthy lifestyle
  • Poor overall wellness
  • Repeated visits to the emergency room or hospital
  • Not improved with regular clinic visits
  • Missed numerous days of school due to illness
  • Repeatedly missed out on social experiences/activities due to illness
If you’re worried about your child’s health and future, we are here to help you.
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • COVID-19 and Long COVID
  • Eczema
  • Environmental Allergy/Sensitivity
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Food Allergy 
  • Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)
  • Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Pulmonary Diagnostic Dilemmas
  • Rare Pulmonary Disease
We treat many more chronic diseases. If you are unsure if your child would benefit from the Day Program at National Jewish Health for Kids, please contact us at 303.398.1239. We’re happy to answer your questions and discuss ways we may be able to help!

Behavioral Health
Chronic illness affects the emotional well-being of children and their families. For this reason, every child, regardless of their age, is assigned a Behavioral Health Clinician.  Their role is to support your family throughout their stay.  Families typically have appointments with them every few days.   Sessions are adapted for you and can include individual and family meetings.
Depending on the length of your stay, your behavioral health clinician may provide behavioral and developmental screeners to help guide follow up that may be needed at home.
Your behavioral health clinician will also make recommendations as part of the medical plan when you are discharged. They may also prepare a school care plan, to make sure your child’s medical needs are known to school staff and that your child has everything they need to learn and grow there.
Frequently topics addressed
  • Stress around medical procedures
  • Family communication
  • Creating/maintaining a daily medical routine
  • Chronic illness vs. Curable illness and the emotional, behavioral, mental and social management of each
  • Stress of managing your child’s illness

If your child has more than one health condition or illness (coexisting conditions), such as asthma with food allergies and eczema, their personalized care plan will address all aspects of their health and may include consultations and discussions with experts in other specialty areas such as:

  • Allergy/Immunology
  • Pulmonology and Pulmonary Physiology Services
  • Exercise and Breathing
  • Behavioral Health, Art Therapy, Child Life Experts
  • Pharmacology – managing medications
  • Otolaryngology (Ear Nose and Throat)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infusion
  • Imaging
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Rehabilitation Therapies (speech, physical, occupational therapy and recreational)
When your child comes to the National Jewish Health for Kids Day Program, a multidisciplinary team that’s led by a board-certified pediatric allergist or pulmonologist, will manage their care.

This doctor leads the comprehensive and individualized (precision medicine) approach, by working with other specialists to evaluate, educate and treat your child. The Day Program tailors its approach based on what each child needs. Day Program services may include:
  1. Identifying or confirming a diagnosis
  2. Comprehensive testing that may include: immunology, serology, radiology and imaging, pulmonary function tests, exercise program, bronchoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy or other testing
  3. Determining appropriate types of treatment
  4. Monitoring and characterizing disease activity  
  5. Controlled observation of the patient away from possible environmental triggers or social stressors
  6. Evaluating your child's current medication regimen and adjusting as needed
  7. Reinforcing appropriate medication techniques and routine
  8. Developing an individualized written action plan
  9. Improving patient self-management skills via extensive patient education
  10. Corresponding and coordinating care with the family, local medical providers, or even school personnel

The Day Program emphasizes recognizing and building on the personal strengths of your child and family to help everyone successfully cope with the stress of chronic illness.

Education and self-care are important components of the Day Program. Relevant educational classes are incorporated into your child’s schedule. Parents attend educational classes that pertain to their child's diagnosis. 

Children learn about:

  • Their disease and treatment plan
  • Early warning signs and triggers to avoid
  • Medications to take
  • Practical techniques they can use at home

This approach provides children and their families an increased sense of independence, confidence and control over the illness.

The National Jewish Health for Kids Child Life Program helps children, teens and family members cope with illness, treatment and the overall healthcare experience. 

Our trained Child Life Specialist uses developmentally appropriate play, recreation and creative arts to:

  • Help children understand why different procedures are important
  • Distract kids during painful or long procedures 
  • Provide coping strategies, health education and emotional support
You may ask to see a Child Life at any time during your visit to National Jewish Health Day Program. Child life services are available at no cost to the patient.

Before leaving the Day Program, we will make sure you and your child understand the treatment plan and that you can do the prescribed treatments correctly by yourselves. We will work with your primary care provider to monitor your child's progresses on the treatment plan. Together, we will make adjustments and provide re-education as needed.


Come Prepared

Before you arrive at the National Jewish Health Day Program, please do the following to make sure you are well-prepared. 

  1. Create a list of questions/concerns. In a medical setting it can be easy to forget questions that come up at home. Bring your list of questions to be discussed with and addressed by your child's care team during your stay.
  2. Request the patient’s medical records. It is best to collect at least the last three years of medical records from your primary care provider and any specialists that may have seen the patient (such as Pulmonology, Allergy, Immunology, etc.).  Please also request any hospital and school records including imaging and surgery notes, Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s), and any others records that may be helpful to your care team. Here is a Release of Information form.
  3. Make a complete list of medications. If possible bring the list and all medications that your child is currently taking, in original containers, and make sure the list includes medication names and dosages.
  4. Call with your Insurance. Please contact your insurance company prior to your arrival at National Jewish Health. As a courtesy to our patients, National Jewish Health verifies your insurance coverage. This DOES NOT guarantee your insurance will cover your child’s appointments or testing. If you have questions about your coverage and benefits, please contact your insurance carrier. Your child may require testing at another health care facility. Our staff will assist you in making these arrangements. However, National Jewish Health is not responsible for verifying your insurance coverage at other facilities.
  5. Verify pharmacy coverage. Please confirm with your insurance provider that the National Jewish Health Pharmacy is in network for your plan and benefits. If our pharmacy is not covered by your plan, please ask your insurance provider which pharmacies are covered, to make filling your prescriptions easier.
  6. DO NOT wear perfume, cologne, aftershave, scented lotion or scented hairspray. National Jewish Health treats many people with respiratory disorders whose symptoms can be triggered by certain scents.
  7. COVID-19. Currently masks (cloth or surgical) are required in health care settings. Thank you for bringing masks for yourself and your child. By being on our campus, individuals are self-attesting that they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and that they have not been recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Thank you for helping us keep everyone safe. Here is the latest information about visiting our Denver campus. 



What happens on the day of admission?
What happens on other days?
What about other family members and visitors?
How long should I plan on staying?
Where should I stay?
What about meals?
What about patient billing?
How do I request medical records?


What happens on the day of admission?

You and your child should arrive at the time provided by your Patient Ambassador. Report to the check-in desk on the first floor of the Center for Outpatient Health building.

There is free patient parking available 24/7. We also offer valet services to our patients and visitors free of charge Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

DO NOT wear perfume, cologne, aftershave, scented lotion or scented hairspray. National Jewish Health treats many people with respiratory disorders whose symptoms can be triggered by certain scents.

If your child needs medical attention before the day of admission, call our Pediatric Triage team at 303-398-1239. Our nurses will make sure your child can receive immediate care. Please alert the nurse that your child is here for the Day Program. 

Call 911 for significant breathing problems or other emergency conditions.

If your arriving on your scheduled time will be delayed, please call 303.398.1239.

At Check-in

  • Have your insurance card and photo ID.
  • Hand carry the New Patient Questionnaire (this will be sent to you upon scheduling), medical records (including any imaging disks), and the patient's medications (in original containers, if possible). 

After you complete the check-in process, you will be directed to the Day Program on the Pediatric Care Unit.

On the Pediatric Care Unit, you will (in most cases) be assigned a patient room and then be taken on a short tour of the unit. During your first morning, you will do an initial appointment with your attending physician and either your asthma/immunology fellow or advanced care provider. During this appointment, a more thorough plan for your admission will be started. Going forward, on each day of your visit, you will then receive a copy of your tentative schedule for each day.



What happens on other days?

Pediatric Day Program

Daily activities during the Day Program may vary depending on the types of testing, monitoring, further treatments and medication adjustments that might be required. Some days may be very busy, other days may be slower while waiting to see how treatments are working for your child.

Speak with your team and staff members about activities to do and/or places to visit in Denver during available downtime and on the weekends.

Please note that each day, depending on your treatments and scheduled appointments you may not have a room. Please speak with your care team upon arrival if you have any specific concerns regarding needing a private space for any reason.


What about other family members and visitors?

Although finding suitable childcare for siblings may be difficult, it is highly recommended, so that you can achieve the most benefit from this intensive program. There is no childcare provided, and all children must be supervised at all times.  Please notify your Patient Ambassador if you need to bring any additional children outside of the patient.


How long should I plan on staying?

Pediatric Day ProgramThe length of stay for each patient will vary depending on their unique needs and treatment requirements. During your registration process your Pediatric Coordinator will provide detailed information regarding how long the treatment team estimates your visit will last.  If you have any personal barriers that may make coming to the program for a certain number of consecutive days difficult, please share that with your Pediatric Coordinator and we will do everything possible to work with your family to find a solution, if possible.


Where should I stay?

Depending on the patient’s diagnosis, some patient’s and a parent/guardian need to stay overnight in the hospital the first night. This is for observation purposes only and is not considered an in-patient stay. During the scheduling process with your Pediatric Coordinator, you will be notified if this overnight stay will be necessary.

Please note, patient's siblings are not allowed to sleep overnight at the facility.  If you will need to bring additional children in addition to the patient, please notify your Patient Ambassador to discuss other possible options.

Most families enrolled in the Day Program stay in either hotels in the area or at the Ronald McDonald House.  For the list of hotels, please use the link above.  If you are interested in a property, please contact them directly and inform them that you are a patient at National Jewish Health.  If you have questions regarding their accommodations for allergies, cleaning supplies, amenities, etc, they are all prepared to share this information.  If you are interested in staying at the Ronald McDonald House, please let your Patient Coordinator know and they will work to have a referral form submitted on your behalf.  Please know that the Ronald McDonald House does schedule on a first come first serve basis.

If your child is being seen for eczema, please note that you will need to have a bathtub where you are staying while in Denver.



What about meals?

Patients will also be able to order a meal if an overnight stay is needed. Parents can purchase meals in our cafeteria to eat with their children. Parents can also purchase food at a local grocery store and store it in a refrigerator, which is available on the Pediatric Unit. Microwave ovens are also available on the unit or in the cafeteria. Coin-operated vending machines are located throughout the hospital.


What about patient billing?

You may receive and examine an explanation of your bill prior to discharge. You may inquire about the availability of financial aid to assist in the payment of your hospital bill prior to receiving services. You can expect prompt and accurate information and assistance from hospital staff. Please contact our Patient Financial Office at 303.398.1065.

Learn more about billing and payment information.


How do I request medical records?

  1. Print the Release of Information form and fill it out.
  2. Photocopy the completed form for your records.
  3. Mail or hand-deliver the Release of Information form to your child's physician and/or hospital where services have been provided in the past.

Please DO NOT mail the completed form to National Jewish Health.




Clinical Trials

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.

Reasons to Choose National Jewish Health

  • The leading respiratory hospital in the nation and the only one devoted fully to the treatment of respiratory and related illnesses

  • Ranked #1 or #2 in Pulmonology by U.S. News & World Report for 26 consecutive years

  • Ranked in the top 5% of hospitals in the nation by HCAHPS

  • Physicians consistently recognized among the best in the nation by multiple services, including Best Doctors in America and Castle Connolly

  • Among the top 6% of organizations funded for research by the NIH, providing patients access to hundreds of active clinical trials

  • 124-year history of focus on care, research and education serving patients from around the world with lung, heart, immune and related disorders