2008 Report the Community

Aurora is making the difference in children's lives

Because children have unique physical, psychosocial and development needs, Aurora Visiting Nurse Association has developed a special home care program just for them. The VNA team is comprised of nurses specializing in pediatrics and health management who care exclusively for children.

Our No. 1 priority is providing specialty care to the pediatric population and their families that enable them to remain as independent as possible in the home,” said JoLyn Zamora, pediatric clinical manager for Aurora VNA.

The Aurora VNA nurses manage a variety of pediatric patients and conditions, both acute and chronic. Some examples include but are not limited to: cancer, diabetes, high-risk infants, cardiac, asthma, medically fragile children, post operative follow up, cystic fibrosis, failure to thrive and wound care. The team delivers leading-edge medically complex care in a family centered environment. It provides home assessments, education, treatment, coordination of care and evaluation of caregiver competence.

“Many people do not understand the depth and breadth of this program,” Zamora said. “In 2008, we had 714 patients referred to us by metro area hospitals alone. That doesn't include referrals from physicians and clinics.”

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin works in collaboration with the VNA to provide families multiple home care services including nursing, pharmacy, therapists, respiratory therapy, and durable medical equipment. This collaboration includes having VNA coordinators on site at the hospital. They are the first to see the patients who will transition to home care, and they work with the rest of the VNA pediatric team who will make the first home visit and do an initial assessment to help set up services based on each child's needs.

Zamora said that the collaboration with Children's Hospital is very important to patients. “By placing our coordinators at the hospital, It helps provide a continuity of care that otherwise would be unobtainable,” she said.

The variety of services change to fit the patient. “We provide care, education, resources and outreach,” Zamora said. “At one home visit we may help make sure that the mom of a newborn has the support and the resources she needs to care for her baby or help her find a parenting class. At another, our staff may do IV therapy or teach a parent to use a feeding tube. We do whatever is necessary to help a family keep their child at home and keep them comfortable and independent.”

Supporting the team is a network of professionals who champion the needs of the child and family. These include social workers, speech and occupational therapists, certified home health aides, physical therapist and dieticians.

Aurora VNA also is a source of home medical equipment such as apnea monitors for high-risk infants, tube feeding pumps, IV pumps and supplies, oxygen and phototherapy, which is used on jaundice patients.

In addition to home infusion therapies, home medical equipment and transitional services, the Aurora VNA provides a variety of specialty programs, including pediatric hospice, to meet the individual needs of our patients and families.

For more information about the Aurora VNA pediatric home care services program, call 414-327-2295 or 800-862-2201

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