Cincinnati home health care nurses also facing cuts - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cincinnati home health care nurses also facing cuts

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Home health nurses are on the chopping block in the City of Cincinnati's 2011 budget. In the New Year, the City's Health Department will be trying to figure-out how to do more with even less.

The Department has been working with less since 2007 under a 25-percent cut since then. And now, the total Health Department General Fund cut is $4 million. That's a 25-percent cut from last year.

This is not good news for people who rely on these home health care nurses for critical care every day, in a city ranked second in the country for high infant mortality rates.

Bonnie Burge is a client of these home health nurses and had a tough time with her Caesarian delivery.

"I was really sore," she said.

Her abdomen was stapled and she was in pain. The thought of climbing up or down these stairs was not an option.

"After I had her," Burge said referring to her baby girl Tatum. "She had an issue where she lost a whole lotta weight."

Now, just past 3-months, Tatum had to be checked frequently by a nurse.

"What are you doing?" Bonnie cooed to her baby as she dressed her for home healthcare nurse Carol Parker's visit.

Burge is grateful Parker could make the four-story climb to her Walnut Hills apartment.

"The first two weeks I think they came and saw me like 5 or 6 times and it made it nice because I didn't have to get out, go on a bus," Burge said.

The nurses check everything from the baby's heartbeat to the size of their growing bones.

"I'm measuring her head to see how it has grown," Carol Parker said.

She also feels around the baby's scalp, to see that the bones are forming as they should be.

"We check their strength when we have them grasp," Parker said as the baby held tightly to her finger.

"Circulation is good," Parker said. "Nerves are working because you're curling the toes."

They also check their client's living quarters.

"I actually observe to see if anything is abnormal," Parker said. "And I talk to mom and I look around, for anything that can increase infant mortality."

And they make sure the baby is sleeping in the proper position in a safe bed.

"It is well appropriate," Parker said nothing her crib. "There's no big thick fluffy blankets or pillows or stuffed animals in there, which Bonnie is doing an excellent job with that."

"She loves getting her hair brushed," Burge said as she ran a baby brush through Tatum's fine hair. "She does, sometimes I'll do that when she's fussy, it'll put her to sleep."

Four home health nurses handle 5 to 10 clients each, every day. They make house calls for all of the city and county.

"But for us to have even fewer would be even worse," Parker said.

"It was nice to have somebody come to the house," Burge said. "It was a lot better for the baby and for me."

And late Thursday, a courier hand-delivered a letter from the Board of Education to the Mayor and each Council member, making it clear, they have budget issues of their own and quote, "CPS has neither the responsibility nor the resources to absorb the expense."

All of the nurses we are told will get to work through at least halfway through the year. 

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