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“You’re not alone in this”

When serious illness strikes in Wayne County, people stand ready to help

HONESDALE, PA — It’s not expected, and it’s not wanted, but it happens.

A seriously ill child. An aging parent with multiple health problems. A loved one survives an accident but their life has changed, forever.

It’s a different world, and you, the caregiver, have to make a lot of decisions, without a lot of experience, maybe without even knowing what you have to ask for.

The First Annual Complex Medical Needs Expo, taking place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 15 at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale, will offer answers and support, and introduce you to people you need to know.

“Think of it as a beginning and a way to meet people who will help you,” said Alison Kandrovy, who launched the project. “I want the event to have all the people you need in one spot.”

Janet Burton, a nurse with event co-sponsor Elks’ Home Service, defined complex medical needs. “A child or adult that requires more personalized care. It’s something that goes above and beyond basic care,” she said. Perhaps multiple doctors are involved, or life-saving medical equipment is needed. How do you know what to ask for?

Photo provided by Alison Kandrovy
Riley Kandrovy, 4, beams for the camera with his mom, Alison, creator of the first annual Complex Medical Needs Expo in Honesdale

Kandrovy gets it. For her, the event is personal.

“I have a son with special needs,” she said. “Riley has X-linked hydrocephalus. He’s four years old now... because of my job, I was fortunate enough to be able to network around the system, but not everyone can.” 

And even so, there was a lot to learn. Wayne County has so many programs available, Kandrovy said, but sometimes you only find out about them by asking the right questions to the right people.

So the Expo, which is free of charge, will have representatives from home health care, from insurance companies, and vendors of assistive technology who can talk about their products. If your home needs to be modified, someone will be there to explain what’s needed.  Staff from government disability programs can explain how it all works. 

Originally the Expo was targeted to families with special-needs children, but Kandrovy pointed out, “It’s all the same programs.” Not sure if your problem fits? Go to the Expo anyway. “I’d like people to come out and at least know that help exists, that there’s help out there.” 

Ultimately, the way to survive a family member’s complex needs is to connect with those who can help you, Kandrovy said.  “You need to be open to building relationships, because you’ll [have these connections] forever... you’re not alone in this.” 

The Complex Medical Needs Expo is sponsored by Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program, Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania, and the Peal Center, which helps families with children and young adults with disabilities.

It will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 15, at Wayne County’s Park Street Complex, 648 W. Park St in Honesdale.

For more information, contact Alison Kandrovy at


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