At PHS, only the best need apply

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ROSEVILLE, Minn. - Caring for sick kids requires special people–something the staff at Pediatric Home Service (PHS) takes very seriously.

"You get to be very involved and really know your patient well," said Derek Hustvet, director of respiratory services. "But that extra level of what's needed today is also needed tomorrow. That responsibility is on your shoulders."

The company, which offers respiratory and infusion services for medically fragile children, was recently named a quality respiratory care provider by the American Association of Respiratory Care. The award recognizes companies that use qualified respiratory therapists (RTs) to provide care.

When an RT is hired at PHS, they are required to become registered respiratory therapists as well as earn a neonatal and pediatric specialty certification within two years. PHS offers staffers educational stipends of about $1,100 per year to attend conferences or earn online CEUs.

"We insist on making sure that we're delivering the best care we can and we can't do that unless the staff is current with their education," said Michael Ruhs, director of marketing and sales.

The pediatric population offers challenges that don't exist in the adult market, says Ruhs.

"When we look at kids, we see how quickly they change--not just the condition they may be struggling with, but changes in their bodies," he said.

New hires at PHS receive up to six months of training that includes educating parents on how to care for the child. They also learn how to be sensitive to overwhelmed parents.

"If you are a first-time parent, that's already challenging, but to come home from the hospital with a full ICU is asking a lot of these families," said Hustvet. "There is an emotional piece involved with children that can make it difficult for (parents) to deal with you rationally."

While a small percentage of PHS's patients are with the company for their entire life, most get better, says Hustvet.

"Our clinicians may have a patient for 10 years and then they no longer need our service," he said.