Archive for the ‘Pediatric Home Care’ Category
There are many benefits to in-home private duty nursing: an enhanced level of comfort for the client, consistent one-on-one care and attention, and increased quality of life for clients and their families, just to name a few.
But it can take some time to get used to having a nurse in your home caring for your loved one.
How will this new person fit into your home life? Will you even like this person? But more importantly, how do you know if this person is really capable of caring for your loved one?
If you have never experienced this situation before, it can be a unique and rewarding aspect of your home life. But it can also be a bit unnerving if you don’t know everything the home care agency has gone through to select your caregiver.
At Epic, we take great pride in hiring the top nurses and matching them with our clients. But before our nurses enter a home, we first go through several steps to ensure they possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide the necessary care
So how do we do this?
- Licensure – We check the state’s board of nursing examiners to ensure each nurse is licensed and in good standing – no disciplinary action. Each Epic office also re-checks licensure twice a month for all nurses.
- Professional references – We obtain two professional references from previous employers.
- Background checks – We conduct criminal background checks to see if there are any offenses. We also check with the Office of the Inspector General for any issues with Medicaid/Medicare.
- Drug testing – Our nurses must pass a drug test before entering a client’s home.
- Skills testing – Nursing candidates must pass several in-office tests (medications, OSHA, general nursing, documentation, etc.) to ensure they can provide the necessary care. Also, all candidates must demonstrate to their local nursing supervisor that they are proficient with gastric and tracheostomy tubes, ventilators and PICC lines, when appropriate.
- In-home orientation – Prior to working in the home alone, our nurses will participate in an in-home orientation with a preceptor and demonstrate that they have the knowledge to care for the clients.
As you can see from the above requirements, ensuring the highest level of care is priority one at Epic Health Services. It’s why we hire the best and provide them with on-going opportunities for advanced training – and why our clients are confident in the level of care they receive.
It’s that time of year again! Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time for children of all ages to let their imaginations run wild! They get a chance to be the superhero, the star of the show, the princess in a fairy tale — or whatever their hearts desire.
At Epic, our kiddos face many obstacles in life, but a wheelchair on Halloween shouldn’t be one of them. Fortunately, when it comes to selecting or creating a costume for a child in a wheelchair, there are many fun, clever ideas out there.
Ideas can range from:
- Fred Flintstone in his car
- Cinderella on the way to the ball
- A drummer with his drum set
- Batman in the Batmobile!
The good news is that the possibilities are just about endless. And with some thoughtful planning and research, children with special needs can have a safe and memorable Halloween!
For more creative ideas, check out the following websites.
We look forward to seeing what all of our kids will be on the big day, and we wish you all a Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat!
Please enjoy this video starring Epic’s very own Quintan Kennedy. In this video, Quintan, 15, tells us a little bit about himself and his experience with Epic!
Epic Health Services takes pride in caring for all of our patients’ needs. We have had the honor to take care of one patient named Alexandria Orsot and continue to feel grateful that her mother decided to choose Epic as her home health care provider. Alexandria’s story is very unique, and for this reason we would like to highlight her family.
Diane Orsot is Alexandria’s adoptive mother. Diane was Alexandria’s nurse at a foster home for four years before deciding to adopt her. After speaking with Ms. Orsot, she said that she just simply fell in love with Alexandria because she had the “prettiest smile” and decided to start the adoption process. Although her decision to adopt Alexandria came easy, the process took her 17 months to complete. At the time Texas was implementing a new type of adoption called “Enhanced Adoption,” an adoption that is geared toward medically fragile children out of foster homes. The new process could not have come at a better time for Ms. Orsot and her family.
This fall, at the end of August, Alexandria will have been with the Orsot family for two years. Ms. Orsot is extremely happy with her daughter. She also has custody of her two grandchildren, Gaby and Nicki, who both love Alexandria and are constantly reading to her and get along great. Alexandria has progressed tremendously since her adoption was made final, and Ms. Orsot is proud to be her mother. As Epic continues to grow, we are delighted to have the Orsot family be part of the Epic family.
Spring, baseball and childhood seem to go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s watching a major league game or playing in the little league, I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t enjoy baseball. However, if a child has serious physical and/or mental disabilities, playing on the local little league team hasn’t always been feasible. And then came The Miracle League – an amazing organization whose mission is “providing opportunities for children with disabilities to play Miracle League baseball, regardless of their abilities” because every child deserves the chance to play ball. Thanks to The Miracle League, more children can now share in the joy of America’s spring sports pastime as well as other sports such as basketball and soccer.
Being part of a sports team involves much more than playing a game: it’s about building confidence, meeting new people and forming friendships. The Miracle League takes a unique approach to team building by pairing each player with an able-bodied peer (“Buddy”), making it a rewarding experience for all players that results in very strong friendships. For special needs children playing on a Miracle League sports team, the experience allows them to feel just like any other kid.
The Miracle League is a national organization and within Texas there are teams in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston. Epic’s El Paso office is excited to be coaching a baseball team for The Miracle League of El Paso and the “Epic Rangers” season has just begun. The pictures (above and right) are from their first game! Kids who would like to play on our team or those who would like to volunteer can get involved at any time.
To learn more about becoming a Miracle League Buddy, Coach, Assistant Coach or Team Mom or to learn how to get your child involved click here. Now, let’s get outside and ”play ball”!
While it’s not officially summer, it’s never to early to enjoy a picnic with family and friends. So mark your calendar for THIS Saturday, March 31st from 11am-2pm. LOVE FOR KIDS is sponsoring an “All Kids Count” picnic for chronically ill, medically fragile, and developmentally delayed children and their families. Best of all…. it’s completely FREE!! More than 1,000 people are expected to attend this event which has special entertain-ment planned for children with disabilities and their families. The activities include a petting zoo, bounce houses, pony rides, face painting, tractor rides, arts & crafts, lots of free food and games.
If you are planning attend, you MUST RSVP to <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214 683-8506. The event will be held at Circle R Ranch - 5901 Cross Timbers Rd., Flower Mound. Hope to see you there!
Recently, my husband and I were lucky enough to jump on a plane for a relaxing vacation. I am always amazed at the cost of air travel and there are many times when we forego the expense of air travel and vacation locally. However, for some families’ air travel is a necessity - for example when they are flying to receive critically – needed medical treatment.
Fortunately, Epic’s commitment to giving back and helping others is shared by another well-known Texas company, Southwest Airlines (whose NYSE symbol is LUV). The NYSE symbol is certainly appropriate given the fact that for 5 years Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program has reduced the burden of travel costs for families who are facing serious illness by providing free, roundtrip airline tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations.
In February of this year, Southwest announced that more than 70 hospitals and charities, nationwide, were selected for this year’s program. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, in Dallas, is one of the proud participating hospitals that can provide free tickets to patients who must travel for treatment. According to the “LUV” airline, “for 2012, Southwest will provide more than $2.4 million in free transportation to patients seeking medical treatment. Now in its fifth year, the program has quadrupled the number of participating hospitals since its inception and has provided more than 18,800 tickets to organizations in 26 states.”
Marilee McInnis authored a Southwest Airlines blog entitled “Making a Difference in the Lives of Families Facing Serious Illness One Ticket at a Time”. The article is inspiring and includes some amazing photographs, such as the photo included in our blog. To learn more about this amazing grant program and the Dear World photography project, click here. And always remember to “share the love”.
At Epic, we have always been ”believers” in care coordination. By coordinating our home care efforts with our clients’ physicians, pharmacists, payers, and other service providers we believe we can develop and implement a more comprehensive, high quality plan of care while providing the highest possible level of service. Additionally, we have always believed in providing our families with around-the-clock access to our Nursing Supervisors who can address any emergencies that arise and offer peace of mind to our families. Our instincts - combined with the positive outcomes we see with our clients - tell us this is the best way to provide care.
Medical science – and one of our clients - are now reinforcing the fact that our instincts have been right! Ongoing medical studies in Texas show that better care coordination and access to 24 x 7 medical support result in better health care for medically fragile children, peace of mind for parents and significant cost savings.
Yvette Castillo (see picture on right) is the mother of 18-month-old Jesus Carstens. Jesus is a client of Epic’s Katy office and was fortunate to be enrolled in a local clinic that is part of a study being led by the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. One of the advantages of being enrolled in the clinic is that families have unlimited access to clinic physicians and nurse practitioners. The goal of the study is to determine whether expanded access to health care and support can help chronically ill children remain healthier, reduce their time spent in the hospital, and save money. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, “Health-care reformers often talk of better coordinating care to reduce the need for more expensive treatment later, a common-sense approach that is beginning to be borne out by research.”
For Jesus and his parents the benefits are obvious. From February 2011 – May 2011, Jesus was hospitalized three times at a total cost of almost $200,000. Since he was enrolled in the clinic in May 2011, Jesus hasn’t been hospitalized at all! Hopefully, the promising results of these studies will pave the way for more clinics and ultimately better healthcare for children like Jesus. To learn more and read the article from the Houston Chronicle, click here.
Each day medically fragile children face a variety of challenges. I imagine some of these challenges would bring adults to tears or make some people want to give up. Yet children seem to have an amazing ability to see the world from a different perspective – one that comes from the heart and finds the bright spot in any situation. I believe that very special quality is evident in the smiles of the Epic children throughout our website. Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most inspiring child based on stories that had been submitted. Below are two of the winning stories that exemplify the unbelievably positive outlook so many children possess. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did.
On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was. “We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile. “Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.” “Discouraged,” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face … “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.”
Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. “Guess what, Mom,” he shouted, and then said those words that remain a lesson to me, “I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.”
Normally, we don’t share our employees’ accomplishments via our blog. However, in this case, we’re going to make an exception! Epic’s physical therapist, Caitlin McSpadden, is enrolled in in a doctorate program. Caitlin wrote her final paper on care coordination for children with special healthcare needs. One of Caitlin’s classmates, Mari, wrote her final paper on physical therapy and care coordination. At the suggestion of their professor, the two combined their ideas and wrote an article which was published in the Pediatric Physical Therapy Journal.
Working with special needs and medically fragile children, Caitlin has seen, firsthand, how families have to constantly juggle appointments with multiple doctors, therapists, nurses, nutritionists, and other providers while caring for their families and working outside the home. Caitlin and her classmate feel that better communication among providers would result in an improved quality of care and reduce the burden of care coordination that falls on the families. Hopefully, an understanding of – and commitment to – care coordination will soon be more commonplace among healthcare providers. To see Caitlin and Mari’s tips and suggestions for improving care coordination, check out our Facebook post tomorrow.