The Cardiac Home Monitoring Program
Supporting Groundbreaking Pediatric Health Research to Improve the Care of High-Risk Infants with Heart Defects
The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is proud to support the Cardiac Home Monitoring Project. Since 2015, this project has received over $263,000 in grant funding.
Parents of high-risk infants with heart defects can take their babies home from Children’s Hospital of Michigan with peace of mind, thanks to a Ticker Tracker app made possible with the generous support of Hope for Hearts and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. The app links families to the hospital, where staff can track infants’ vital signs in real time.
The aim of the cardiac home-monitoring program is to keep vulnerable infants with complex cardiac conditions alive and well before and after the multiple heart surgeries these infants will need. Studies have found dramatically reduced mortality rates among fragile cardiac patients who are part of home-monitoring programs at other children’s hospitals, says Colette Squire, RN, BSN, and nurse coordinator for Children’s Hospital’s home-monitoring program.
Over two years, 24 patients have been enrolled in the program. At the end of 2017, 10 patients were participating, with five families using the Ticker Tracker app on loaned iPads. Parents can transmit the baby’s daily feedings, urine/bowel output, weight, and pulse oximetry readings through the app. Squire and doctors review the data and call families if they see anything of concern — “before they get really, really sick,” Squire says.
Jessia Lee is using a Ticker Tracker for her infant son, Lovell. Born without a tricuspid valve, Lovell spent five months in the hospital after his first surgery. He’ll need another surgery around his first birthday and a third around age 3. The monitoring program allows Lovell to be at home while still receiving closely monitored care.
Lee, 26, of Taylor says the program has been easy to use and alerts her if Lovell’s readings are off. So far, it flagged two infections that sent Lovell to the hospital for treatment. “It’s helped us a lot,” Lee says. “It feels good that you’re directly connected to the hospital.”
Squire is thankful for the generous support of donors to the program — and ultimately, for helping children get to the point where they can have a normal childhood. “We have one (child), she’s a year out now,” Squire says. “To see her just up and running, it is just amazing.”