Carolinas Healthcare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital announced June 21 a gift of more than $289,000 from Receptions for Research, a foundation founded by Carolina Panther Greg Olsen.
The gift will support the launch of the HEARTest Yard, a program which will help provide home care support for pediatric heart patients once they are discharged from Levine Children’s Hospital.
Olsen’s son T.J. was born in October 2012 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a serious and often fatal heart defect. T.J. underwent the first of three surgeries at Levine Children’s Hospital days after being born. After going home from the hospital, the Olsen family soon discovered the need, as well as the benefit, of having in-home nursing care for their fragile son.
The HEARTest Yard Fund will address this issue, extending family-centered care beyond the walls of Levine Children’s Hospital and making the transition from the hospital to the home much easier for families.
“I couldn’t have been more excited when we finally got to take T.J. home but it wasn’t until after that we realized the true scope of the challenges that we would face in caring for him,” Olsen said. “Families are often not ready to take on the intricate care that a baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome requires. Thankfully we had the resources to get the support we needed and this program will provide families of babies affected by hypoplastic left heart syndrome with improved access to the multitude of support services they need to successfully bring their child home from the hospital.”
The HEARTest Yard program will help families successfully navigate the transition from the hospital to their home by providing support for in-home, private nursing care, physical therapy and speech therapy among other benefits, to families of children born with HLHS.
The program aims to improve the interstage mortality rate, increase life expectancy and long term prognosis of children born with HLHS. The services will be determined based on the needs of the patient and family as determined by the hospital medical team and in partnership with Healthy at Home. The HEARTest Yard fund will provide this option to families at no charge, while incurring no additional expense to the hospital.
“The HEARTest Yard Program will allow our program to monitor, support, and intervene on this group of patients during this crucial period of their development,” said Benjamin Peeler, M.D., chief of the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Surgery Department at Carolinas HealthCare System. “This is all aimed at improving quality of life in addition to improving survival.”