Serving Children with Complex Care Needs and the Positive Effect of Home Health Support through COVID-19
By Amanda Musser, RN
HomePointe HealthCare Administrator
To say that 2020 and 2021 have been a challenge is an understatement. As a whole, the healthcare industry has had to make frequent and significant changes in the way care is delivered and HomePointe HealthCare (HomePointe) is no exception. HomePointe, a division of Benchmark Human Services, is a pediatric-based homecare company, serving children and young adults with complex healthcare needs. Throughout the last two years, two things have remained consistent for our staff — the necessity for frequent change and adherence to our mission to provide quality and compassionate care to those we serve.
With HomePointe’s extensive history working with medically fragile kids and young adults, infection control has always been at the forefront of our minds, and we are accustomed to following best practices put in place by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Indiana Department of Health (IDOH). Though comprehensive infection control practices were in place prior to the pandemic, the fear that many families felt intensified as the coronavirus spread throughout the country and eventually reached their neighborhoods.
For the families of children with complex healthcare needs the pandemic has been life-altering. Parents know that if their child contracts COVID-19 it could have life-threatening consequences and if they contract it, there will be no one to care for their child. While many of us were searching for toilet paper, our clients’ families were calling medical supply companies attempting to locate ventilator tubing and oximeter probes necessary to keep their child alive.
The majority of HomePointe clients require hospital-level care; they represent the Nation’s most vulnerable. Through diligent infection control practices, HomePointe has consistently maintained a much lower COVID-19 positivity rate than the general population, oftentimes with a rate of 0%. This has helped to ease the minds of our families. Trusting they are able to leave their child in the loving and capable hands of their longtime nurses allows for parents to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities, whether that be returning to the workforce, caring for other children in the home, or simply getting the rest they need.
Life for HomePointe families has always required a delicate balance between ensuring a meaningful day while maintaining safety. Our clients tend to be very active, participating in therapeutic horseback riding, summer camps, power wheelchair soccer, and much more. The pandemic left no choice but to forgo recreation and remain home. However, staying home did not stop HomePointe nurses and aides from making the most of each day. Some staff held spa days, some assisted with painting canvases or walking to a nearby park to play, while others supported their client with virtual school, ensuring they did not miss out on their education or the opportunity to interact with classmates.
Because HomePointe provides extended hours care rather than short intermittent visits, our nurses and aides are in tune with their clients – they notice the smallest changes and act on them quickly to prevent further decline and hospitalization. Preventing hospitalization means minimizing the client’s exposure to COVID, influenza, and many other viruses.
HomePointe families have come to trust and rely on our staff more than ever and many consider their child’s nurse or aide to be part of the family. This is truer now as their bonds continue to strengthen through the various waves of the pandemic. We’re grateful to our staff for diligently serving their clients through these challenging times and grateful to our clients and their families for trusting us with their care.