Monday, January 4, 2010

TennCare for Heather Bridges

To: Governor Phil Bredesen, Rep. Jim Cooper, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Charles Michael Sargent, Rep. Beth Harwell, Rep. Gary Odom, Rep. Moore, Senator Jack Johnson, Senator Bob Corker, Sen. Douglas Henry, Rep. Janis Sontany
Sponsored by: Paige Barton-Cantrell

Why should Heather have to Beg?

Heather Bridges has ALS. She is completely quadriplegic that is, she cannot move her arms or legs. She has a little movement in her fingers, which enables her to use a computer. She has a tracheotomy and is on a ventilator part of the time, which breathes for her. She is totally dependent on others for all aspects of care, including shifting position every two hours to prevent skin breakdown and ulceration, toileting, transfers from bed to chair, and feeding. She cannot speak clearly, and cannot even call for help should something go wrong. In spite of this, she is bright and alert and quite eloquent by computer. Heather is a widow. She lost her husband in 2007. Her father James Shearon was murdered in a home invasion robbery more than a year ago. her only remaining family caregiver is her mother, who is employed at Vanderbilt. Heather's survivor benefits plus the disability benefits put her over the TennCare limit.

She obviously needs care 24 hours a day by someone who is trained to manage a tracheostomy, ventilator, and her other needs. Heather is requesting nursing care 11 hours a day, 5 days a week. Her mother will assume the rest of her care performing the work of three nurses (113 hours of care per week) plus her own full time job at Vanderbilt. Without this support, either Heather will have to be placed in long-term care there is only one such facility in Middle Tennessee or her mother will be forced to quit her job and the family will be completely indigent. Her need for care and the willingness of her family to assume the major portion of this care are very clear. Please help us get Heather the help she deserves!!!!

The more supporters, the better. Please Sign: TennCare for Heather Bridges

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