Like other parents with three children under the age of three, Donna and Matt Stickle lead hectic lives. Maddi is three and twins Avery and Evan just turned two. But unlike most other parents, the Stickles need a full-time nurse in their home because the twins were born prematurely. Daughter Avery was treated early on for heart and hip problems, and her brother Evan has needed 24-hour nursing care for chronic lung disease since the day he was born.
“Everything was uprooted when the twins were born,” says Donna. “It was a really tough transition for our family; we didn’t know what to expect. Our twins were fighting for their lives."
Driving to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) every day became a routine, and as Evan grew, his prognosis became more hopeful. The doctors and nurses at CHOP began speaking about his discharge and transition to home. BAYADA Pediatrics Transitional Care Manager, Mary Simrell, RN, helped the Stickle family make Evan’s transition from CHOP to Weisman (a children's rehabilitation hospital) to home as safe and stress-free as possible.
“Mary met with me weekly to give me whatever support I needed,” said Donna. Evan and sister Avery both had surgeries at 7 months old, and if managing pediatric medical care weren’t enough, Donna’s husband needed two hip surgeries himself while Evan was in the hospital. Mary and BAYADA nursing services helped the family get through this stressful time. “When we needed to choose a provider for full-time pediatric nursing for Evan, we knew we were going to go with BAYADA because of the personalized care we had already received,” said Donna.
Making a smooth transition home
In addition to his chronic lung disease, Evan has tracheomalacia, a narrowing of the trachea which collapsed when he first tried to breathe. He had a tracheostomy tube placed in his neck and has been on ventilator support to help him breathe ever since. BAYADA Pediatrics Nurse Yadira Delgado-Diaz, LPN, who has been with the Stickles since Evan came home from the hospital, explains why home care nursing has been so critical for Evan and his family.
“Children like Evan flourish in the home setting because we can provide one-on-one nursing. He has made amazing progress since he came home in January, much faster than expected.” Evan has gone from being on the ventilator 24 hours a day to being off of it for over an hour and a half in the morning and in the evening. The goal is to wean him off the ventilator completely.
"Evan is way ahead of schedule with weaning off of his ventilator. I know in my heart that having skilled nursing around the clock for almost a year has helped keep Evan healthy and out of the hospital," says Donna.
For Yadira and the rest of Evan’s team of nurses, keeping Evan safe means using skills that include tracheostomy care and ventilator management. While homes seem like little ICUs when clients need this kind of advanced care, the nurses know that they are part of a larger medical team that provides support for them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Evan has 24-hour care because of the high acuity of his case. This is what good nursing is all about; there is no better place to provide one-on-one nursing than in the home,” says Yadira. “We also put our clients’ families at ease. There are usually siblings, and the parents are new to the experience of having a sick child. We help them navigate the process.”
Having in-home nursing has helped the Stickle family be what they’re meant to be—a family. “BAYADA Nurses give me peace of mind, knowing that there is a highly skilled medical professional working with Evan at all times. I’m a special education teacher, and I’ve been able to return to work full time thanks to them.”
Donna continues, “It would be very difficult without the nurses caring for Evan. Not only do they care for him, but they have a great relationship with our other two children which means a lot.”
For Yadira, being Evan’s nurse means a lot to her as well. “I love what I do,” says Yadira, who was recently named a “BAYADA Hero” in recognition of her nursing skills and dedication to the core values of BAYADA—compassion, excellence, and reliability.
“When Evan is 16, he’s not going to remember any of this, but wherever he gets in life, I’ll feel like I had a little part in it,” Said Yadira, who an LPN who is working toward her RN degree.
“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in nursing to try home care. You’ll be making a big difference in a patient’s life and that’s very rewarding,” says Yadira.