How a single mother finds caregivers

The Wolf administration is making changes to standardized testing in Pennsylvania elementary schools. Tom Wolf said Monday that the Sign up for our weekly newsletter. It will take , members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Skip to content Education Kids Pennsylvania. Ninah Santos is in a child care crunch.

Meanwhile, On The Other Side of the Country

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Keystone Crossroads Exploring the stories that matter across the commonwealth with all Pennsylvanians in mind. In New Hampshire, Audrey Gerkin is also raising a years-old daughter, Lexi, who qualifies for in-home nursing care. Lexi is believed to have a genetic disorder stemming from a mutation in her SMC1A gene, which causes her medical complications, includin seizures and an inability to swallow safely. Lexi is percent tube fed through an abdominal feeding tube into her intestines. She is also non-verbal and needs assistance walking.

She teaches me way more about life than I teach her. Lexi attends school four-and-half days a week with a nurse who's at her side from when she gets on the bus in the morning until she arrives at home. The nurse helps to suction her airway, watch for seizures, and assist with transitions, school work, medications, and toileting. In addition to her time at school, Lexi qualifies for 60 hours a week of private-duty home nursing care. Gerkin, however, is currently only able to staff an average of 25 hours a week between three different nurses.

She explains to Romper that trying to fully staff the hours designated to Lexi is a constant battle because of the poor pay for in-home nurses. She says,. For me, it allows me to work, as well as complete other typical family things, such as grocery shopping and keeping up with my other kids activities. In-home nursing is not without its drawbacks, Gerkin explains, especially much in the loss of privacy. Lexi occupies the master bedroom and bathroom due to her accessibility needs, while Gerkin and her husband use the bedroom next to it. Gerkin, like Heflin, has taken her concerns about the scarcity of quality in-home nursing support to her state government.

Gerkin is the chair of the Nursing Shortage Commission , which she sits on with members of state government and representatives of the healthcare community. Gerkin tells Romper about the factors that seem to be contributing to nursing and caregiver scarcity. She explains,.

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She says that steps are being taken to see the effects of increased pay on nursing in New Hampshire. Last February, the Department of Health and Human Services put together a pilot program, the Emergent Support Initiative, where nurses for six families received increased pay rates. And all private-duty rates in the state were raised for the first time in ten years as of April 1, However, this rate is not the nurses' take home pay, but the amount that their agencies are reimbursed.

Susan Agrawal became a disability advocate in , transitioning from her career in academia soon after her daughter Karuna was born with multiple medical complexities. Among her many advocacy pursuits, Agrawal founded an organization called the Medically Fragile and Technology Dependent MFTD Waiver Families to support and advocate for the families of children who are medically fragile, technology dependent, and qualify for home nursing care under the Illinois Medicaid waiver.

In Illinois this population is primarily include children with tracheostomies , vents, and central lines. Agrawal explains to Romper,.

The Stress Felt By Working Daughters Who Are Also Family Caregivers

This has meant that these families are going without the nursing support their children need, and are legally entitled to. The judge in the case ordered that the state must do everything within its power to immediately provide care to these children, and this order was recently upheld in federal appeals court. Agrawal says to Romper that these cuts resulted in "66 percent of children in one program losing nursing care, and 32 percent of children having their hours reduced. We know that pay rates for nurses doing home care are certainly contributing to the nursing shortages.

One home care nurse I spoke to, Denise Carutasu, has been providing home-care nursing for over 12 of her 28 years as a nurse.

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She was drawn to the job for its flexibility when her children were young, but she stayed in the field because she loves her job. Carutasu tells Romper, "I love the personal connection that home care allows you to form with your patient and their families However, she explains that the pay doesn't allow for growth: "I have been a home care nurse since and have never had an increase in my hourly wage.

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