Aurora at Home caregivers like Evelyn travel all over southeast Wisconsin to care for patients like Jaleel. In 2015, caregivers travelled nearly 3.6 million miles, from Green Bay to northern Illinois. They helped over 17-thousand home care and hospice patients, including over 1,500 pediatric families.
“I went trick-or-treating with my dad and grandma; I walked a block and said, ‘I’m tired,’” Jaleel explains. It was Halloween, 2015, and Jaleel knew an 11-year-old shouldn’t be tired already. That was his first warning something was wrong.
Finally, in January of 2016, Jaleel was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL. And soon he would begin months of chemotherapy and suffer many different infections and setbacks, like pneumonia and blood clots, related to his treatment.
But fortunately, when Jaleel was diagnosed, his mother Kashuan learned of the Aurora at Home program that allows for home health monitoring of chronic illnesses or even provides caregivers to deliver specialized care, like chemotherapy, in the comforts of a person’s home. That meant that Jaleel, who was greatly at risk of infections, could remain at home in a safer, more comfortable environment.
“When I’m at home I get to watch movies. I get to be around things that are familiar to me, it’s a lot easier,” Jaleel explains.
Evelyn Hansen is Jaleel’s Aurora at Home nurse who has been making “house calls” to care for him since the end of January. At that time, Evelyn was coming several times a week. She helped put his feeding tube back in when it would fall out. She has administered his chemotherapy medications and helped to treat numerous other infections. She has pediatrics patients like Jaleel all over eastern Wisconsin.
“Some days I drive 20 miles, other days I drive 120 miles. I love working with children in their home setting, I get to see them watching their favorite movies or video games. You get to know their families on a much more personal level,” Evelyn shares.
Aurora at Home caregivers also train family members to care for their loved ones as well. Here, Evelyn reviews medication with Jaleel’s mom, Kashuan.
“It was interesting to learn we didn’t have to go to the hospital all the time and family members could be with him here. Not only is Jaleel more comfortable, but I have three other children and a granddaughter to care for as well, so it is much more convenient. I wouldn’t know what to do without it,” says Jaleel’s mom, Kashuan.
Jaleel is now finished with the intense chemotherapy, though he will continue with oral treatments and several procedures still remain. But he is going back to school this month where he is looking forward to “being the phenomenal one,” he says.
And that spirited answer is exactly how Evelyn knows he’s ready, “I can tell when he’s feeling better, because he starts acting ornery.” Back to a typical 12-year-old, indeed.
If you would like to support the care provided by Aurora at Home, or learn more about the pediatrics program, contact Judi Strout at Judi.Strout@aurora.org.
You can also make a gift to support the Aurora at Home pediatrics program, and support the care offered to kids like Jaleel. CLICK HERE to make a gift and learn more.