Dancing with the Knoxville Stars helps provide home health care

Dancing with the Knoxville Stars to help provide home health care for children

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The sixth annual Dancing with the Knoxville Stars is less than one week away, coming up on Saturday, March 22.

The event is a fundraiser for East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

This year, all the money raised will be used to fund Children's Home Health Program.

The program provides care not just for patients at ETCH, but from all across East Tennessee.

ETCH believes the sooner they can get children out of the hospital and back into their own homes, the faster they can recover. That's the idea behind Home Health.

The final steps of a patient's treatment is performed after they go home, with patients or caregivers taught how to provide the care they need on a daily basis.

The program is working wonders with patients like 8-month-old Rachel Donovan of Knoxville.

"She's just the sweetest little baby," said Connie Donovan, Rachel's mother.

Rachel was born at just 25 weeks, weighing only one pound.

"Scary. Scary. We didn't know if she would survive the first day," said Matthew Donovan, Rachel's dad.

After four months at UT Medical Center, she was finally ready to come home, but her care was far from over.

"We certainly needed to take care of her and needed a lot of help taking care of her when she came home," said Connie Donovan.

Rachel's been receiving home health care since October, and ETCH home health nurses have been guiding her parents every step of the way, providing them with the oxygen equipment she needs and training them on how to use it.

Home Health nurses also visit once a week, working with Rachel on things like developing her motor skills.

"She's working on rolling and sitting and reaching for toys and holding things with both of her hands," said Stephanie Kitelynn, an occupational therapist with ETCH Home Health.

Home health nurses are on standby 24/7.

"Any care or any concern I had. I remember calling her once on a Saturday night and she was at home cooking dinner and she was willing to drop anything and come over and help me," said Connie Donovan.

Rachel is growing every day, progressing by leaps and bounds.

"She is starting to sit up and wanting to stand on her own," said her mother.

That's something her parents say wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for home health care teaching them how to care for their only child.

It gave them peace of mind.

"We were terrified. New parents, used to 24 hour nursing care and then coming home to a new situation, not sure what to do," said Connie.

ETCH provides home health care for patients from every hospital in East Tennessee, so donations from Dancing with the Knoxville Stars will help children just like Rachel all across our area.

"She's got a little more work to do but she's getting there," said Kitelynn.

To donate towards Dancing with the Knoxville Stars, visit East Tennessee Children's website.

6 News Anchor Hayley Harmon is representing WATE in this year's competition. You can vote for by visiting her fundraising page.

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