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Thread: COLLEGE CAREGIVING

  1. #1
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    COLLEGE CAREGIVING

    MY SON TAYLOR IS A NEWLY INJURED C5/C6 SCI PATIENT WHO WILL WANT TO BE GOING OFF TO GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN WASHINGTON DC IN SEPT'05.DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY THOUGHTS OR SUGGESTIONS AS TO HOW TO SET UP A MEDICAL TEAM AS WELL AS A CAREGIVING TEAM IN A CITY 250 MILES FROM HOME.WILL COLLEGE STUDENTS BE WILLING TO BE HIRED FOR ANY CAREGIVING OR RELIABLE?THNX A MILLION FOR YOUR SUGGESTIONS OR FEEDBACK WITH ANY LOCAL CAREGIVERS IN THE WASH DC AREA.

  2. #2
    Hello, willypx.

    The kind of aid available varies from state to state, so I would suggest contacting the university immediately to speak with the Office of Student Affairs. Ask to speak with someone who deals specifically with physical disabilities. They will likely be able to provide information on local caregiver options since there will be other students on campus who struggle with the same needs. In my experience, Student Affairs has always been a wealth of information.

    I also have a C5/6 level injury and managed to get through 6 years of college (BA and MA programs), so it's definitely within reach for your son. Finding reliable caregivers is tough, though. I found students, usually roommates were great for some needs (meal prep., leg bag draining), but too unskilled or unwilling to do the more difficult tasks. I relied on local, Homecare nursing for 3 years before I discovered a state funded program that allowed me to hire/fire my own PCAs and set my own hours.

    I ran a quick search of the Georgetown University website and came up with this number: 202-687-8354. It's for the Learning Services/Disabled Student Services Dept., and, if nothing else, they might be able to point you in the right direction.

    Good luck to you and your son.

  3. #3
    Funding will be critical. Who is paying for his attendant care now? If it is a private insurance, they will probably pay for the same level of services he is now getting. If it is Medicaid, he would have to qualify where he lives, and they may not provide the same services. If it is private pay, then private hire would be much cheaper and more under his control than agency.

    I would agree with talking to Disabled Services at the school, but also talk to the local ILC (www.ilusa.com).

    As for medical care, in that area I would recommend linking up with the National Rehabilitation Center outpatient clinics:

    National Rehabilitation Hospital
    102 Irving Street NW
    Washington DC 20010

    Phone: 202-877-1000
    Website: www.nrhrehab.org

    (KLD)

  4. #4
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    Thank you to the SCI nurses and to Sarosa for replying to my inquiry for my son Taylor.Please keep me posted with any other thoughts.Sarosa will college students help on some of the more difficult things such as bowel/bladder if they are paid to provide the service.Do you think any of the nursing students at G'town Nursing School might be a good place to start.How about any premed students? A million thnx for your thoughts

  5. #5
    Willypx,
    Congratulations on Taylor's getting into Georgetown. That is a great accomplishment. A few questions: You mentioned, "newly injured." How newly? You mentioned, "C5/C6." A complete or incomplete injury? Was part of Taylor's high school curricular and extracurricular experience in his current condition? The college experience is totally different from the high school experience as is the responsibility that is usually put on the student and not the parent. Is Taylor involved in your research? Decisions? Can he live off campus, and if so, is that necessary and can he (will he) still be involved in campus life?
    Assuming that it is affordable and feasible, I think that you would want to find local trained and experienced caregivers - perhaps associated with the Medical Center. Probably not students, since they would not be trained and experienced, and your son's relationship with the students would be (should be) quite different. Also, your son might be very mature, but most other students (freshmen) are not. I too suggest that you and Taylor talk with and meet with the Office of Student Life and the Office of Disability Services. They should be a wealth of information or should be able to find information and resources at other DC schools. Since the current school year has just started, wait a couple of months.
    This will hopefully be a wonderful experience for Taylor (and you). It was for my son.
    Good luck,
    Carl

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clipper's Avatar
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    I primarily hired other studednts while in college. I had a couple live-in PCAs and a few who lived nearby. My college years were, by far, the easiest in terms of hiring reliable and fairly inexpensive PCAs.

    If you opt to hire non-students, you will encounter a significant language barrier in DC. A one-day ad in The Post will get you TONS of responses, but many will lack good English skills. (This was always an issue for me. I don't mean to offend anyone.) Also, since The Post is circulated widely, you will get replies from people who live all over the area. Even though the DC area is relatively compact in terms of distance, actual driving time can be trouble. I would make sure that you hire someone who lives in the Georgetown area, if possible.

    NRH is a pain in the butt. It's hard to reach if time is of the essence, and seeing a doctor associated with the hospital can be a frustrating ordeal. But NRH has good doctors and is certainly worth looking into. Georgetown and GWU hospitals will be closer, however, and are both very good. Please be absolutely sure to hook up with a urologist who has experience treating people with neurogenic bladders.

    Make sure to have your transportation figured out. There's no Metro stop in Georgetown.

  7. #7
    Originally posted by willypx:

    Sarosa will college students help on some of the more difficult things such as bowel/bladder if they are paid to provide the service. Do you think any of the nursing students at G'town Nursing School might be a good place to start.How about any premed students? A million thnx for your thoughts
    In my experience, it was very hard to find nursing students willing to commit to more extensive care responsibilities because they often had their own hectic schedules (classes, homework, college life, etc.) and didn't have the time. Don't be discouraged, though. Georgetown is a big school and if you're able to place an ad in the campus newspaper or ask around the nursing school you might get lucky. In the end, I found the most reliable student PCAs were nursing student roommates/suitmates who had some CNA or nursing experience already. And the more you can pay, the better. The state program I used restricted me to $7.35/hr and only 6 hours a day, which made things tough because I had to stretch that between three PCAs.

    Good luck with everything

  8. #8
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    Hi~ I'm a Senior psychology and nursing major at UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina. I work for a quadraplegic man in my neigborhood as a part time caregiver and also for a female quadraplegic college student as well. The college student only needs me to help with bathroom twice a day while on campus. I provide basic care for the man helping with bathing, bathroom and other needs around the house. I came to get these jobs by ads they placed in the local newspaper. They pay as much as a CNA(usually about $9-$12 and hour~the girl pays $12 the man $10). More full time might be harder to find in a student because of schedule and all but as far as reliability, someone who applys for this will most likely be a reliable and responsible person! Good Luck!

  9. #9
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    Thanks a million to all for your great advice .Please keep posting if there are any additional thoughts.The idea of posting in the local student newspaperor employment office is a great one.God Bless all who have taken the time to help with a family who is new to this (7/08/04) and somewhat overwhelmed.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    My fiance was in his second year of college (1988) when he was injured (C4/5 complete). He went back to college and he lived in a dorm - I highly recommend this ... or rather, *he* highly recommends this! *laugh* (I'm just relaying the message) The dorm provides a built in security net of people who are around all the time even if they aren't official caregivers.

    My fiance ended up hiring a ton of friends and acquaintances from the dorm and nearby dorms and patched together a network of caregivers to provide his care (which was/is extremely extensive because he has no movement or sensation whatsoever below the shoulders). None of them were trained professionals, they were just kids who learned who to do this. They were paid by his family a relatively low wage, but fair.

    It was very hectic to juggle up to 16 employees (yes, 16 at one point!) to cover 24 hours a day every day (because someone had to feed him, go to class with him, everything), but it worked. He got a degree on time and it all worked out.

    It CAN be done, it's just hard. Congrats to your son!!

    Zillazangel

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