2-year-old Collins Brown of Winston-Salem, NC relies on the life-saving care that her home care nurses provide so she can stay at home safely with her family. Although Collins is not a typical toddler ─ with diagnoses of Holoprosencephaly, Gastrostomy, Otitis Media, Diabetes, Cleft Palate, and Dysphagia (Oropharyngeal phase) ─ the home health nurses that take care of her give her a sense of normalcy in her life not otherwise found if she were in a hospital or long-term care facility. Accompanied by her skilled and dedicated nurses, Collins attends an inclusive daycare that is tailored to medically fragile children, where she receives necessary therapies to keep her thriving, while also being able to interact and socialize with her peers in a safe environment.
Collins’ care does not stop once she is back at home. Nighttime nursing is sometimes the most critical part of her care and without it, not only is her safety and well-being at risk, but so are her parents’ jobs. “The current shortage in nighttime nursing hours creates an extreme burden on both myself and my husband who both work full time to support our family. Collins must be closely observed and intervened on often overnight. Because of her conditions, she requires routine deep suctioning, constant repositioning, and oxygen adjustments. Without night nursing, our family experiences significant stress as we burn the candle at all ends trying to stay up all night taking care of her and then needing to go to work every day too,” Collins’s mother Lauren Brown says.
“When we were staffed with consistent nursing hours, Collins’ hospitalizations decreased from 8-10 per year, to only 3 last year,” says Lauren. “We need these nurses.”