If you have a medically fragile child who needs constant, high-level, medical care at home, Dakota Home Care (DHC) can provide a well-trained, experienced Pediatric Private Duty Nurse (PPDN).
A PPDN can come to your home to work one-on-one with your child all day, every day. The hours can vary depending on the care needed and what insurance will allow. Some children receive up to twelve hours of care per day and others require less. Your PPDN will be an LPN or an RN, depending on your child’s needs. They will be highly skilled and will have met stringent requirements. They have had training in working with children with special needs and in giving care that can be both fun and therapeutic. Before a child is discharged from the hospital, the family gets training in care during a PPDN’s off-duty hours.
Private duty nursing is about the whole family. Nurses will adapt to and fit in with all family’s needs and routines. Making therapeutic care seem like play is really important. Nurses have to be creative in how they get the job done and incorporate day-to-day care into developmental play.
A PPDN could be home alone with your child. Because they don’t have a whole medical team there with them, your nurse must be competent, confident, and able to react quickly to medical needs that arise. Most will have had on-the-job experience in other types of nursing to broaden their skills before becoming a PPDN. They also have quick access to resources via DHC. They can make recommendations to the physician for physical and speech therapists and to come in and develop exercise and therapy routines that the PPDN can help the child work on throughout the day.
The PPDN can administer meds, feedings, and provide central line and respiratory care. A physician prescribes different types of therapy, works with the PPDN, and consults with family for level and frequency of care.
Types of Care that Qualify for PPDN Services
- Monitoring and intervention for respiratory care
- Respiratory treatments
- Tracheostomy and ventilator-dependent care
- Oxygen-dependent in conjunction with other medical needs
- Assistance with eating
- Receives continuous nutritional feeds through a G-tube, GJ, or NG-tube
- Gastric tube care
- Management of bowel or bladder conditions
- Catheter care
- Administering and monitoring medication
- Premature and high-risk infant care
- Diabetes management
- Asthma care
- Neurological disease management
- Cancer care, such as a child with a port
- Frequent seizure disorder monitoring
- Traumatic brain injury care
- Other complex medical needs
Children who qualify for care from a PPDN are most commonly between newborn to 3 years old. Many of these children have respiratory needs and are ventilator-dependent. They might be weaned from it as they get older. A feeding tube is also common with a tracheostomy to help protect the airway. Being older than pre-school doesn’t make a child ineligible. PPDN care is based on the level of need.
“Medically Fragile” Is an Umbrella Term
The term “medically fragile” covers a variety of conditions that could require PPDN care. Some of these include homecare for cardiovascular events, heart defects, complications of premature birth after a long NICU stay. All require constant medical attention. In addition to meeting a child’s medical needs at home, your child’s PPDN could accompany him or her to daycare, school, or other activities.
DHC provides expert PPDN care for as long as needed.
The length of time with the same nurse can vary, based on medical needs, insurance coverage, family situation, and a nurse’s schedule. Alternate nurses are available whenever the situation requires. We will be in constant contact with the nurse and the family to make sure everything is going well.
When asked what she likes most about her job, Mandy Persson, Nurse Case Manager for Dakota Home Care said. “It’s really fun to be an important part of a child’s and a family’s life, to see the child grow and progress. Even when a child is really struggling, it’s still very satisfying to be a support to a family. I get to know them quite well, feel close to them, care about them and they care about me. We’re in it together, through thick and thin. We celebrate and cry together.”
It’s comforting to know that if you have a child who needs a lot of care, you have the option of getting the medical care that they need at home. At DHC, we know it’s important to be aware of the family’s goals and their concerns with the type of care needed for their special child. With open communication, we can make your goals our goals. We can include in our care what’s most important to you. Call us anytime at (701) 663-5373 for a free, in-home consultation.