‘An incredible restoration of faith’: Positive developments in nursing shortage affecting fragile kids

Connecticut Families

(WTNH) — When we first met Coco Sellman and her step-daughter, Amelia, in early July, she was pleading with lawmakers and the Governor to help solve a home nursing shortage, causing medically fragile children long hospital stays.

“There are quite literally patients who’ve been in the hospital eight, 12, 16, 18 months,” she said. “I’m very dissatisfied with what’s happened. We’ve been left out again and again.”

But, since our initial story ran, good news has arrived for advocates.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) has proposed funding from the American Rescue Plan including a 31.7% increase for in-home complex continuous skilled nursing along with smaller increases for all other home health services.

“I feel an incredible restoration of faith in our system that voices can make it to those who make decisions,” says Sellman.

“Now we can now say competitive rates and benefits where it was a statement we couldn’t say in the past,” adds Tracey Wodatch, President & CEO of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home which held a press conference at the Capitol last month. She says this sets a foundation for more needed progress.

“We have to continue to work with our state agencies to ensure the sustainability of our providers and workforce,” says Wodatch.

“This is super important because children make relationships. Bonds get formed. They start understanding their care and can intuit their needs,” says Rachel Botts of East Hartford, explaining the relationship between nurse and child.

She says increases will improve her daughter Ariella’s life by providing the 9-year-old with muscular dystrophy the level of care she desperately needs.

“This work means she will likely be able to attend school on a regular basis because we might be able to attract nurses,” says Botts.

DSS is awaiting approval from the federal government right now which has until mid-October to approve the request.

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