Andrew, 2, is one happy, healthy, and handsome young man! Today, we are overjoyed to announce Andrew’s graduation from our Home Nursing program. He has completed one tough journey and now he is ready for life without skilled home nursing care from Independence Plus. (Read more about Andrew’s journey here: Part I and Part II.)
This day is filled with many emotions as his full-time nursing staff and clinical team say their goodbyes and celebrate Andrew’s incredible progress. After great planning and preparation, Andrew underwent a planned (and successful!) decannulation earlier this month.
“We encouraged Andrew the whole way,” explains Lisa, RN, one of Andrew’s nurses who has worked with him for most of his life.
Andrew’s Planned Decannulation
Andrew learns fast. He wasn’t any different with his readiness to wean off the ventilator and ultimately, with his successful decannulation (removal of the tracheostomy tube).
Jennifer, Andrew’s mom, recalls when she first learned that Andrew would require a tracheostomy, “I thought a trach meant that Andrew wouldn’t be able to move and would lay in bed all day.” She continues, “Once Andrew was trached, he started smiling immediately. He was so happy.”
“If I ever had to do it again, I’d trach him much earlier,” Jennifer reveals.
Andrew’s stoma will most likely close on its own. Since decannulation, Andrew’s nurses keep the site clean and bandaged.
“He still breathes out of it,” says Jennifer. “But it’s closed a lot already.”
Andrew is on a roll. In August, Andrew begins preschool where he’ll go for a few hours every day. During a recent visit to his new school, Andrew showed off by recognizing his shapes, letters, and numbers. This young man is a real communicator!
Andrew participates in speech and feeding therapy to help him accomplish his next goal—learning how to talk and eat. He’s already doing tastes by mouth and his favorite thing to eat is his grandmother’s pasta e fagioli.
Jennifer and her husband are looking forward to resuming their annual trip to Florida later this summer. They haven’t been back since Andrew was born.
“We’re not sure what Andrew will think of the sand,” Jennifer smiles.
Most of all, Jennifer is excited to finally share this trip with her son. They are joining Andrew’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for two weeks of relaxation.
Parting Advice for Other Parents?
Jennifer’s advice for other parents and families who require Skilled Home Nursing: “Set ground rules, but also be understanding and flexible.” She continues, “We found that if we didn’t over think nursing in our home, it started to feel normal.”
Andrew’s parents thought about only one thing—helping Andrew get better.
“And take all the help you can get.” Jennifer says as we’re leaving. “Don’t be ashamed.”
Andrew flashes us one of his big smiles as we wave goodbye. We smile, too. Andrew has his whole life ahead of him and we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next!