Pediatric Patient’s Caregivers Receive Support From VHAN Care Management Team

Caregivers play a vital role for anyone unable to care for themselves due to illness, disability or mental health challenges. Whether it’s a relative, partner or friend, caregivers provide needed medical, emotional and decision-making support. While they make a significant difference in the lives of patients, the hard work and dedication of caregiving can take a serious toll. 

In fact, studies show that stress and considerable physical demands place many caregivers at risk for significant health problems. Despite these risks, family caregivers are less likely to take part in preventive care. 

The many-pronged tensions of caregiving are illustrated by a young parent who recently gave birth to a female with Down syndrome. At 6 months, the child was admitted to Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for an atrial ventricular canal repair. To further complicate matters, the mother was preparing to return to work after taking an extended maternity leave to care for her medically fragile child. With the child’s aging grandmother serving as the only helper, the new mother was worried about finding a backup plan for caregiving.

After hearing her story, a VHAN RN Care Navigator quickly referred the mother to the VHAN social work team. Knowing of the mother’s anxieties about leaving her child, the team educated her on online childcare services and support, such as and They also detailed the benefits available through the mother’s job, including a program that connects parents to last-minute childcare through In addition, the team recommended contacting area churches that could connect the mother with a retired nurse who could serve as a backup caregiver.

“When I followed up with the mom, she had gone back to work and the grandmother was able to take care of the child,” says VHAN Charge Nurse Crystal Brown. “Things really worked out in the child’s favor, and the mother and grandmother felt supported. Our program is unique because we have an interdisciplinary team, with the nursing aspect supporting the social work aspect and vice versa. We work together to solve these issues during some very trying times.”

To refer a patient to the VHAN Care Management program, fill out this form or call (615) 936-2828.

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