When we think about families who are dealing with extraordinary medical challenges, our focus is usually on the recovery and well-being of the person hospitalized. However, for thousands of families across Alberta and Canada, there are often many additional challenges outside of what goes on inside the hospital.  These challenges could revolve around paying the bills, finding a place to stay, or finding food to eat.

To help these families overcome some of these challenges, our team is working on a project called the “Sprout Network”. Our mission for the Sprout Network is to ‘connect children and families with the supports they need to thrive’. Our vision is for this to be “a digital repository that compiles all available social supports onto a single access point; dramatically improving accessibility for families in need.

We see the benefits of this platform for families being threefold. First, it improves search convenience, as there’s much less time and effort required to find the supports they need. Second, it improves support accessibility and accuracy, as data will be up-to-date and well categorized. Finally, by making the process of finding supports accessible and convenient, we can make it easier for families to focus their attention on the health and well-being of their loved ones.

We recently polled 135 parents of children with medical conditions, disabilities, and additional needs to understand the challenges their families face so we could start to develop solutions that could help empower and support. The data we collected from the survey will help us understand on a broader scale where and how families are currently receiving support, where additional resources or supports are required, and how community can come together to fill the gaps that exist.


The poll was conducted in April 2019 and responded almost exclusively by families in Alberta.

There are supports available to help these families, but unfortunately, these supports are not always easily accessible or sufficient.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sprout Network, or wish to help us with this project, please email us at shaun.fehr@tuffsprout.com.

In the meantime, feel free to check out some of the resources we have gathered here