Caregivers Community

A Nurse Shares The Joys Of Working With Medically Fragile Children

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
03/23/12  10:30 PM PST
Medically Fragile Children

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Contest

Story by Becky W.

As a nurse, I have worked in the home health setting for over 24 years. It has been my good fortune to meet and work with literally hundreds of caregivers. All have been very different people with different approaches and attitudes, but all have shared the same goal; to give quality to the lives of those they care for.

While I have enjoyed caring for people with a broad range of needs and disabilities in their homes, I realized a few years ago that the practice most rewarding for me was helping medically fragile children attend school. Many special needs children receive adaptive education and therapies at home, but with a trusting family and nursing support, a medically fragile child can leave home each school day and join his/her peers in class. In addition to receiving adaptive language arts and math, a child can express themselves in classes like music and art. He or she can learn to access a computer or play team sports in PE with assistance, and enjoy lunch and recess with both special needs and typical peers. It is such a joy to see young students learning early on to accept and include their special needs friends. We learn about adaptive technology together, so my patient can greet and communicate with teachers and friends and participate in classroom activities and games.

Days can be medically difficult and logistically challenging, and include lugging medical and technical equipment and supplies back and forth and helping to develop and facilitate adaptive programs to include my patients. I find myself frequently teaching about and advocating for this particular population of children and their ADA right to access to an education in the least restrictive environment. But seeing the excitement in a child’s face on the morning school bus ride, or the palpable pride when sharing about their school day with Mom or Dad, reminds me that there is no higher purpose than giving quality to the life of those you care for. That is what makes caregiving rewarding.