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April 2nd – World Autism Day

By on Apr 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The eleventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2018. Joined by the international community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world, light blue in recognition of people living with autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support. A new government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is notably higher than the official government estimate of 1 in 68 American children with autism, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the CDC has acknowledged that its estimate has significant limitations. It’s based on an analysis of the medical and school records of 8-year-old children at monitoring sites across the country. As such, it can miss children who are not receiving medical or special education services related to autism. “The 1 in 45 estimate is not surprising and is likely a more accurate representation of autism prevalence in the United States,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks director for public health research. “This means that 2 percent of children in the U.S. are living with autism. The earlier they have access to care, services and treatment, the more likely they are to progress.” There are many organizations and services who offer access to care, services and treatment, for those looking for services like The Autism Treatment Center  https://www.atcoftexas.org/, Bloom Behavioral & Education Solutions, https://www.bloom-aba.net/, Empower Behavioral Health http://www.empowerbh.com/, The Shape of Behavior,  http://www.shapeofbehavior.com/ and so many more organizations in our area. So wear your light blue and join many walks, organizations and events who will be celebrating Autism Awareness Month....

MEET JOSHUA

By on Mar 19, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

MEET JOSHUA As far as we knew, Joshua was a healthy, active child up until he was 8 and a half, when he suddenly had a respiratory failure, ended up in the hospital and on a ventilator.  It took months for doctors to diagnose his extremely rare condition now known as ROHHAD which stands for Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation, and Autonomic Dysregulation.  He was the 23rd person in the world known with this condition.  It meant, for some unknown reason, his brain stopped getting messages telling him he needed to breathe or produce hormones, regulate his body temperature or hydration – all things most of us do without giving them a single thought.  There is no known cure. So, 3 days before he turned 9, Joshua got a tracheostomy, and he came home from the hospital a few weeks later with a home ventilator and other medical equipment and supplies. We didn’t know how to get Medicaid for him and had no money to pay for nursing so I got quite an education taking care of him and researching his disorder. Oh, and Joshua was also featured in a Discovery Channel Documentary when he was 10 years old. Joshua has since been approved for a Medicaid Waiver program, had nurses help take care of him.   He had surgery to implant a breathing pacemaker when he was 12.  He uses his pacers to breathe while he is awake – as long as he is not too sick.  He also got swine flu and double pneumonia when he was 13.  He came home after that using an IPV machine to help him clear secretions.  It has worked well for the last 8 years. He is now 21 years old, graduated high school and  even has a part-time job. I went back to school and became a Registered Respiratory Therapist and worked for a while at University Hospital in San Antonio before learning of Apple Homecare Medical Supply, where I now work and get to be my son’s RT.  I am so glad we have such a great DME company providing for Joshua’s needs.   Thank you Vanessa for sharing your Joshua’s story. Mom-Vanessa is a Registered Respiratory Therapist with Apple Homecare Medical Supply, Inc 866-332-7753 / www.applehms.com      ...

The Ezell Twins

By on Apr 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Ezell Twins   As a company that provides private duty nursing (PDN) for high acuity medically fragile children, Pediatric Home Healthcare understands that each child has very special needs regarding their care. Having someone who is initially a “stranger” in your home is often difficult for families who are unaccustomed to home health nursing. As families begin to open up and learn to trust, they often find that their nurses become a part of their family.   Emmett and Owen Ezell were born conjoined from the bottom of their breastbone to their hipbone. They also shared a liver and intestines. When they were just 6 weeks old, doctors were able to separate them during a marathon-long 9-hour surgery. After nine months in the hospital, they experienced fresh air and sunlight for the first time! They then went to a rehabilitation center before finally heading home, for good.   Pediatric Home Healthcare has had the privilege to be with the Ezell family for years. The Ezells researched for a long time before choosing an agency.  They wanted a company that clearly made the patient and family a top priority. Dave, Emmett and Owen’s dad, believes that, “Our family would be at a standstill without the nurses from Pediatric Home Healthcare.  Having two special needs children in one family increases our struggles exponentially.  Were it not for the help of the well-trained nurses that work with our boys, I can say without a hint of hyperbole, we wouldn’t be able to get through a day.”   The twins came home with a tracheostomy after 9 months in the hospital. Regarding working with PHH, Dave said, “I think they understand the struggle of managing a family with special needs children who need PDN and they try to make the process as headache-free as possible.” As they grew, they relied less and less on equipment to breathe and are both currently trach-free. They have begun talking, as well! Mom, Jenny, is a speech therapist and admits that it is difficult to separate being a mom from being a therapist. However, knowing where it all started, she is able to put it all into perspective. The twins are now over 3.5 years old. They are running, jumping, falling, driving their toy cars, learning to talk, and rough-housing like most boys their age. When asked about what sets their nurses apart, Dave responded, “By sending the boys cards and presents at holidays and birthdays, they demonstrate their real affection for the boys.  By making themselves easily available for contact anytime of the day or night, they demonstrate their  commitment to the care of their patients, and patient’s families.  When we had struggles with the school district who didn’t want to allow the boys’ nurses to attend school with them, PHH advocated for us with the district. The list goes on and on.”   The Ezells know that they the hardest days are behind them. Their boys continue to grow strong. Dave said, “At every new hurdle, we’ve been able to rest easy knowing that we’d be able to rely on the commitment and experience of PHH.” One of the best days as a nursing company comes when patients no longer need them. PHH looks forward to having a graduation ceremony with Emmett and Owen soon!      ...

Should I add my Child to Interest Waiting Lists?

By on Apr 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Should I add my Child to Interest Waiting Lists?   This is a question many parents ask themselves when their child is first diagnosed with physical and mental health care needs or a disability. Many of the waiver programs have a very long waiting list. As of the writing of this article some of the programs have a list up to 10+ years.   The waiver list is just that, a list that you put your child on in case they ever need the services. When they get to the top of the waiver interest list, eligibility will be determined. Many families feel like their child will not qualify due to their income, keep in mind when your child reaches 18 they are an adult. Once they are out of school and continue to need some time in a day program it will cost money.  Even if you feel like your child will be able to live and work independently you should put them on the waiting lists.   Below is a list of the Texas Medicaid Waivers and a brief description. You will find their phone numbers in the Resource Directory of Exceptional Kids, listed under Medicaid Waiver Programs:   Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS): gives home and community-based supports to people with related conditions.   Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD): gives services for people who are deaf-blind or have a related condition that leads to deaf-blindness, and who have another disability.   Home and Community-based Services (HSC): gives services and supports to people with intellectual disability (ID) or a related condition who live with their families, in their own homes, or in small group homes with no more than 4 beds.   Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP): gives services to families caring for children and young adults as an alternative to receiving services in a nursing facility.   Texas Home Living (TxHmL): gives services to people with an intellectual disability (ID) or a related condition who live in their home or their family’s home.   Youth Empowerment Services (YES): gives home and community-based services to children who otherwise would need psychiatric inpatient care or whose parents would turn to state custody for care.   Also, here are a couple of resources that have been very helpful, I pulled some of the information for this article from  www.navigatelifetexas.org.  The ARC of San Antonio (210) 490-4300, who provided a list of these resources have been wonderful in helping parents understand the benefits and services these programs provide. Once you add your child to these list, request a letter or email confirmation.   Kameron Chicoine, Publisher of Exceptional Kids Magazine            ...

Along Came Alyssa

By on Jun 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Along came Alyssa As a pediatric home health agency, we believe that all kids are truly exceptional. This is especially true of the children we are lucky enough to work with on a daily basis. Alyssa is one of these amazing kids. Alyssa was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow all over her body. She was not expected to live past the age of two, and it has not been an easy road for her. A few years ago, she developed a large inoperable brain tumor. The only treatment at the time was chemotherapy, but doctors had to end those treatments after discovering that the tumor had grown instead of shrunk. Her family did not give up. They visited many doctors until coming across one who suggested an experimental treatment using lasers to destroy the tumor cells. This treatment had never before been done, and there was only a fifty percent chance that she would make it off the table. Thankfully, the surgery worked. It has now been two and a half years since the procedure, and regular check-ups haven’t shown any signs of the tumor re-growing. Thanks to Alyssa and her bravery, that treatment is now approved for all patients. Even after the successful treatment, Alyssa requires around the clock, highly skilled nursing care. For a while, her family had a difficult time finding a home health agency that could accommodate those needs. However, we are happy to report that Alyssa has thrived in the time she has been with our agency. Last year she graduated from high school. This year she turns 21. We are honored to have Alyssa as part of our family at San Rafael Healthcare and are excited to see what the future has in store for her. Even though she is technically an adult now, she will always be one of our exceptional kids! To learn more about San Rafael Healthcare and the services we provide, please call us at (210) 255-1466 or visit our website at...

Asthma is a chronic condition

By on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Asthma is a chronic condition marked by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. It usually starts in childhood. Asthma is very common. It afflicts more than 25 million people. About 7 million of them are children. An asthma action plan helps you and the school system manage your child’s asthma. It’s a legal document used by school nurses. The plan is specific to your child and describes his or her symptoms, what medicines are prescribed for everyday use, and what medications to give and what to do in case of emergency. If grandparents or other caregivers spend a lot of time with the child, they should have a copy of the plan too. Many schools use an Asthma Action Plan form developed by the South Texas Asthma Coalition. It is available on the Texas Department of State Health Services web site and is organized by the colors of a traffic light — green, yellow and red. Similar to traffic lights, green means go, yellow means caution and red means danger. Green: This part of the plan applies when your child’s breathing is good, with no coughing or wheezing. His or her asthma is under good control, and if your child’s asthma is well-managed it should be in the green zone most of the time. The asthma action plan will list medications they take daily to prevent an asthma attack, the dosages and when to take them — before exercise, for example. Yellow: This applies when a child is having symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or a tight chest. It prescribes how to use quick-relief medicines to help your child breath more easily and prevent the asthma attack from worsening. Red: Provides direction when quick-relief medicines aren’t working and your child is having difficulty breathing and/or continues to wheeze. If your child’s symptoms aren’t improved with quick-acting medications, then it is recommended that he or she is seen by a doctor. The South Texas Pediatric Lung Center at University Health System has launched a new online tool for parents, an asthma symptoms profiler that can help you understand your child’s asthma, how well it’s controlled and how to avoid what his or her particular triggers are.   For full article http://healthfocussa.net/uncategorized/a-plan-of-action-for-your-childs-asthma/ Dr. Donna Beth Willey-Courand is director of the South Texas Pediatric Lung Center at University Health System, and chief of the Pediatric Pulmonology Division at the UT Health Science Center Photo by Mark Greenberg...