Nursing shortage making it harder to find home health care providers

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- The nursing shortage is impacting all areas of nursing, including home care.

Some medically fragile kids can't leave hospitals without nursing care at home, and a local nursing company said they are having to turn away families daily.

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Meet Jamell, a micro preemie who was born weighing just over a pound and is now 21 months old. While he's come a long way, he requires 24/7 care for now. Jamell can only be home with the help of a private duty nurses to monitor his health and equipment constantly.

"Having that nurse here, having that extra help," said Adraniece Johnson, his mother, "having that skillset for questions that I don't know the answers to."

Donnelle Cramer has been one of Jamell's day nurses since he came home.

"Within the first month that he was home, you could just see the difference in him already," Cramer said.

And now, Cramer said he's made even more progress.

"He's very active," she said. "He grabs everything and anything."

"It's not just about work with her, this is her passion," Johnson said. "I know that she truly cares about my son. She truly loves my son."
With the nursing shortage, Jamell's mom said the family has had to sacrifice work and sleep as night nurses have been hard to find.

"Sometimes there have been weeks when I had no night nursing," Johnson said.

"We are not only losing some of our staff to better paying jobs," said Katie Rhea, director of nursing at Team Select Home Care, "It's made it increasingly difficult to find qualified nurses, and it's really impacted our families."

Cramer had been a pediatric ICU nurse for years, but wants to be helping families in their home.

"It just means everything to me," Cramer said. "I try to put myself in the parents' place and the child's place to see how I can help them best."

Cramer said while there may be more money to be made, this is the right fit for her and hopes others may consider the rewarding work of private duty nursing.
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