The Atlbacker Family: Caring for a Medically Fragile Child
Until the 1980s, medically fragile children were most often cared for in hospitals and then institutions. Deinstitutionalization, which started with Willowbrook, resulted in children being moved into community settings. In addition, advances in healthcare technology have enabled more children with special needs to leave hospitals.
More and more children are leaving hospitals which puts extreme pressure on these families to provide for their children who require more medical equipment and 24 hour specialized care. This all comes at a very high cost, emotionally, physically and financially.
Our show takes a look into the lives of the Altbacker Family. You will meet Liz and Chris Altbacker and their three beautiful children, Kiera, Sydney and Timmy. Their oldest daughter, Kiera has multiple challenges that require constant medical care. She is “medically fragile.”
The Altbackers brought Kiera home and their lives have never been the same.
Not only do we meet the Altbacker Family, we also have the privilege of hearing from Bob Policastro, the Founder of Angela’s House, and one of my law firm’s partners, Frank L. Buquicchio, who shares their insights about services and resources including specifics involved in special needs planning.
The topic of this episode is very personal for me and my wife as we brought our medically fragile daughter, Theresa, home to live with us. When a child has profound disabilities and complex medical needs, providing the needed round-the-clock care can be exhausting and overwhelming. Though it sometimes may seem daunting at times, with the love and support of family, children who are medically fragile children can grow and thrive at home. The Altbacker family shows all of us that a loving family is often the best medicine.
When my daughter was born, there was no Angela’s House that helps care for these children living at home with parents or in special homes that offer 24 hour nursing support. Today, with the help from organizations like Angela’s House families can continue to provide a loving home for their children.
In Theresa’s honor, we founded the Theresa Foundation which supports music, dance, art and recreation programs and have opened the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for children with special needs in Lido Beach, New York. Find out more by visiting www.TheresaFoundation.org.
We are ALL one big family and we must do our best to help each other. Learn more about Angela’s House at www.angelashouse.org and for more information on resources for special needs visit www.VJRussoLaw.com.
In 1992, the non for profit Angela’s House, was created to offer families and professionals an agency to call to help medically frail children and their families. Angela’s House has helped to simplify home care options for families by coordinating the extensive array of services needed to support medically frail children at home.