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Hunter Makes Progress with PCA Choice

PCA Choice helps Hunter learn new skills and grants more freedom to his family.

Photo of Accra PCA Choice Client Hunter

Life was really intense before Kari and her husband Brent teamed up with Accra for their son Hunter. There was never a moment to rest, let alone to get chores done or take time for pleasure.

“Before Accra, I remember that it was survival,” Kari said. “It was waking up early trying to survive the hours until an afternoon nap. I would crash on the couch and zone out because as soon as Hunter woke up, he was moving every second until bedtime.”

Kari and Brent brought Hunter into their home at 10 months old as a foster child and adopted him soon after. The couple had seen some delays in his development as a baby, and his attention span had waned as a toddler. 

Now nine years old, Hunter lives with ADHD, marked by inattentiveness and hyperactive impulsiveness, as well as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which affects all five senses and can cause sensitivities to stimuli. 

Hunter is also diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder known as Dias-Logan Syndrome. Not much is known about this condition, but it can cause delayed psychomotor development, intellectual disability and variable dysmorphic features. 

As a result, Hunter is behind kids his age in areas such as speech, language and fine motor skills, and he experiences hyperactivity, impulsiveness and low attention span.

“A lot of parents told me, ‘Oh, all boys are busy,’ or ‘Yep, my kids do that.’ This was different,” Kari said. “Hearing other professionals say there was more going on spoke volumes.”

Getting Help at Home with PCA Choice

In May 2018, Hunter’s neuropsychologist informed his parents that their family desperately needed a PCA for in-home care.

“She said in all of her years of experience, she saw that kids and families in situations like ours didn’t last without help,” Kari said. 

In the fall of that year, Kari made the call to Accra and for more than five years now, Hunter has been receiving PCA Choice services. 

Personal Care Assistance (PCA) can help with the “activities of daily living” such as dressing, grooming, eating, bathing, transfers, mobility, positioning, and toileting for adults and children, as well as light housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation for adults.

With PCA Choice, clients independently recruit, hire and train the PCAs who provide their care. The PCA Choice option gives them a greater level of responsibility in managing their care while Accra assists in handling the employment and management-related functions of their PCA.

“Right away, we knew we would choose Accra because we got to choose who our PCA was, and we got to decide on who would be stepping into our lives as they spend many hours a week with us,” Kari said.

Hunter is now in third grade, so during the school year, his PCA helps out in the afternoons and evenings. During the summer, his PCA provides support from the morning through the late afternoon.

Because of Hunter’s low attention span and high impulsiveness, he can wander and get into mischief very quickly, so his PCA follows him throughout the house wherever he goes. Though he sometimes plays nicely, Hunter occasionally breaks toys and other objects or goes into fight or flight mode if frustrated. 

“We’ve worked to set up our home, and it is like child proofing for a toddler that doesn’t ever grow out of it,” Kari said. “Having that extra help for safety and items around the house really helps.”

Having an extra set of eyes on Hunter allows Kari to get work done around the house. She loves to make granola from scratch but could never get that and laundry done in one day before the PCA assumed some of her caregiving duties.

“The first week we had a PCA, I did laundry and made a batch of granola on the same day. I just about cried at the end of it. I could do two things in one day,” Kari said. “It allowed for the mental freedom of knowing he was okay.”

Hunter’s PCA also helps to remind him of various tasks throughout the day. At mealtime, she reminds him each time to take a bite and may sometimes need to help him eat due to his deficiency in fine motor skills. 

“The way his brain works, we can talk every day about how you hang up your coat and put your boots away, and it is like a brand-new concept some days for him,” Kari said. “So, our PCA will help with reminders and make sure that his school stuff is taken care of.”

The Bug Hunter

As a boy bursting with energy, Hunter loves the outdoors. One of his favorite things to do outside is bug hunting. He is fascinated by insects and can spend hours watching and playing with them. He also likes swinging on the swings and visiting his favorite parks. 

“Hunter would stay outside every second of the day if he could,” Kari said.

Hunter is very interested in anything mechanical; cars, trucks and robots, all things that go. Sometimes the family will drive past construction happening in town just to check it out. 

“He’s so smart with it all, and it’s really fun to see,” Kari said. “There are lots of things that Hunter cannot remember, but he knows the name of every piece of construction equipment, and he watches intently to see what its job is.”

Kari, the Caregiver

Kari is a caregiver at heart. She is a registered nurse but left her position in February 2019 to care for her two children and elderly parents who live close by. While caregiving at home, she still applies much of what she learned from a career in the hospital.

“Kids don’t complain about being in a hospital, but families might. So, I loved getting them to trust me, and we could watch them get better together,” Kari said. “Translating that to home, getting to watch Hunter learn to put on a shirt when his body couldn’t do it before. He keeps learning, and I get a front row seat.”

Kari also feels grateful for the smooth Accra client experience.

“I appreciate how Accra has been set up with a qualified professional, whether it’s a nurse or somebody with a different background, and there is a person that I can contact when I need to,” Kari said. “Accra has been a great company to work with. They have always been really helpful.”