Two-and-a-half-year-old Phin has spent most of her life in the hospital. Born early, she was diagnosed with severe intrauterine growth restriction, a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than she should be from not growing at a normal rate inside the womb. This delayed growth can put an infant at risk for a host of health issues.
In Phin’s case, her medical problems have been extremely complex. “For almost two full years, she was in the hospital continually,” says Phin’s mom, Lori Ann Dotson. “Her care has required an unusual amount of coordination from subspecialists.” While at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, Phin has been seen by specialists from Otolaryngology, Nephrology, Endocrinology, Urology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology and Orthopedics, among others.
During her time in the Hospital, Phin began receiving Supportive Care services, and she was seen regularly by the inpatient Supportive Care team. A care plan was then developed so Phin could go home. The team referred Phin to the Home Supportive Care program, which provides at-home nursing care and social work services for patients with significant care needs. She would also see her specialists on an outpatient basis. In addition to the at-home nursing care provided by the Supportive Care program, Phin has round-the-clock nursing care through a healthcare services agency.
Phin was released from the Hospital in December of 2015. Largely as a result of the supportive homecare visits, she has spent only eight days away from home in over six months. “We’re on her 105th consecutive day home, and we could not have done it without the homecare support,” Lori Ann says. Trips to the emergency room have been avoided as well. “Homecare gave us help so Phin didn’t have to go to the ER,” Lori Ann says. Twice a week, we were averting ER visits.”
The medical expertise provided by the Supportive Care Program nurses has given Lori Ann and her husband peace of mind as well as a sense of confidence. “They can confirm medical issues by providing a vetting process,” Lori Ann says. “They can also train my husband and me.” Among the things the nurses taught Lori and her husband was how to access Phin’s port, a device implanted in the skin that delivers medicine and nutrients.
Having Home Supportive Care has also enabled Phin to go for a longer period of time without doctors’ visits. And when Phin does have scheduled appointments, the nurse case manager has helped to coordinate them, enabling Lori Ann to make just one trip to the Hospital campus.
“I can’t imagine stronger clinical support,” Lori Ann says, adding that having supportive care at home has also been financially beneficial. “We are very fortunate.”