From Teething to Tantrums, Kaiser Permanente Helps Parents With Telephone Outreach

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – If your newborn isn’t sleeping or your toddler won’t potty train where can you turn for help? Kaiser Permanente Colorado members can pick up the phone.

The health care company has a specialist ready to talk parents through difficult child behavioral issues. The hope is the conversation will lead to a solution.

Deana Miller of Denver has used the telephone outreach. The mother of 19-month-old triplets counts her blessings in threes; Sam, Grayson and their sister, Everly

parenting From Teething to Tantrums, Kaiser Permanente Helps Parents With Telephone Outreach

Deana Miller (credit: CBS)

“I could not have just one. I wouldn’t what to do with myself to be honest,” Miller told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

But triplets mean three times the work and sometimes triple trouble.

“I’ve got three of them pounding on the high chairs and throwing food. I can’t give them plates and they can’t hold their own cups because it’s total chaos,” said Miller.

So what’s a mother to do?

“I do a lot of googling,” said Miller. “And of course, I have Sharla.

Call her “Sharla the Sounding Board.”

Sharla Fellers is the child development specialist for Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Eight hours a day, five days a week, she phones stressed-out parents of babies to age 5 to offer support.

“60 percent have to do with sleep issues, because sleep is important when you have a young child,” explained Fellers.

But she also offers solutions to anything from teething to tantrums, biting to bedwetting.

“There’s no limit to the amount of times they can call back,” said Fellers.

That’s good for Miller who has dialed Fellers a dozen times and emailed since the babies were born.

“She’s really been a sounding board that I can’t really get anywhere else,” said Miller.

The mom of three has many blessings. She counts her telephone troubleshooter, Sharla Fellers, among them.

Fellers makes 12 to 15 calls a day that average 30 minutes each. She also answers e-mails. Last year, she called more than 2,000 Kaiser Permanente patients. Parents work with their pediatrician or primary care physician to schedule a time with Feller.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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