Families take many forms, especially when trying to care for a medically fragile child at home. In one Kingman family working with Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care (TSPC), the grandparents are the legal guardians and primary caregivers for the patient, while the mom works outside the home. Arizona’s new Family Licensed Health Aide Program (FLHA) will allow family members like this mom to work as licensed caregivers for their own children.
The grandmother, who wished to remain anonymous, is encouraged by the program. “We are very excited about this program, which will better meet the extensive needs of our child and our family. It will also provide a living wage for our family member providing the services. It’s a win-win for our family!”
Thrive SPC, with offices in Kingman and Scottsdale, held its first Licensed Health Aide (LHA) training in its Kingman office on June 8 and 9.
New Scottsdale Location Director Traci Nicely, who is also the LHA Training Program Administrator, was thrilled with the turnout and response from the family members who attended.
“The in-person training was invaluable because they were able to ask questions and learn from each other’s questions. They received a much better education than they would have if they just watched videos,” she said.
One parent told the group she wished they had this type of training when bringing their medically fragile child home from the hospital. An ancillary benefit to the in-person training was the rare opportunity to interact with other parents of medically fragile children, according to Greg Mazick, class instructor.
“It was great to see these parents interacting with one another between modules and during the practicum work,” said Mazick.
Thrive SPC is approved to train LHAs to be part of their children’s at-home care teams. Once they receive their certificate of completion, they will need to apply to the state for a license. The Thrive SPC team will work with families to guide them through the process, said Thrive SPC-Kingman Location Director Stacie Addy, a licensed RN for almost 15 years, parent, and Arizona resident.
This program will improve access to and quality of care for medically fragile children in Arizona. “We are very excited to be offering this program that will supplement the care that our nurses deliver and provide much needed respite for families who cannot get the coverage they need,” said Addy.
In April of 2022, the Board of Nursing and Arizona State Medicaid approved the FLHA Program to support families with children in the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) who have skilled needs. The program provides a path for qualified family caregivers to become licensed and paid to provide some skilled care in the home (e.g., bathing, grooming, meal prep, oral and nail care, medication administration, tracheoscopy care, G-Tube Feeding, and range of motion exercises), to minor children aged 21 or younger, under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Thrive SPC specializes in pediatric home care. Its acquisition of Dependable Nurses of Phoenix in 2016, made it one of the nation’s largest providers of pediatric home health services. Its Arizona team has been providing home care for more than 25 years.
“We applaud Arizona for recognizing the dire need for improved access to care for the families of medically fragile children,” said Nicely. “This program can help alleviate some of the burden caused by the nursing shortage and provides a unique way for family members to get reimbursed for the necessary care they provide their loved ones.”
About Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care
Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care (www.thrivespc.com), which has a national resource center in Wakefield, Massachusetts, provides in-home nursing care in Arizona. Additionally, the company provides nursing, therapy services, and durable medical equipment and nutrition supplies to medically fragile and developmentally challenged children in more than 30 locations across the country in the states of Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas.
IMAGE: Thrive SPC Director of Clinical Excellence Greg Mazick (top left) with Thrive SPC’s inaugural Licensed Health Aide class.