Introducing our new Edgewood location!

“First of its kind” residential home setting for Young Adults with Medical Complexity

 

Over 500,000 adolescents with special health care needs become adults (turn 18 years old) every year in the USA. A small, but frequently unsupported group have medically complex needs that require daily nursing, respiratory therapy and other supports. Some families are unable to support medically fragile adult children in their homes, for short or long term care. Until now, the only option in western Washington for either short or long term care of medically fragile young adults between the ages of 18-30 years was nursing homes and a couple of adult family homes, predominantly used by elderly clients.

Ashley House (AH), a non-profit organization, was developed in 1989 to fill a gap in service in the South Sound for medically fragile children and teens. Soon AH is opening a “first of its kind” Young Adult program, in Edgewood, WA. At the Ashley House Edgewood Home, as with 5 other South Sound locations for children and teens, young adults with medical complexity will be provided with round the clock nursing support and also be able to live in a residential setting with peers and family style interactions, local school and community integration, and social work care coordination for families or caregivers, to meet both short and long term care needs.

Over 90% of infants and children with complex and serious medical conditions, who previously did not survive childhood, now THRIVE into adulthood. Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, a UW Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician and Ashley House Board member noted, “without a wide variety of supports for medically fragile young adults, we know that these individuals will likely experience deterioration in their health status, become socially isolated, and be less likely to achieve a meaningful quality of life.   Along the continuum of care, the Edgewood Home is designed to meet the specific needs of young adults with the most complex medical and psychosocial needs in our community”.

The new Edgewood residential group home accepts up to 6 young adults with medical complexity to live in a home-like setting (short or long term). Medically fragile young adults are often individuals with complicated medical histories, such as organ transplantation, ventilator dependency, or traumatic brain injury and experience lengthy hospitalizations, need specialized care giver training, and have equipment or nursing needs that may exceed what can be provided in their family homes. In 2014, Ashley House Board of Directors and leadership, led by Ken Maaz, Executive Director, began looking for a South Sound location to ensure some of these young adults could receive needed 24 hour/day nursing care without sacrificing a natural, nurturing, developmentally appropriate living environment.  We saw our own Ashley House kids “ageing out” of the system without a proper place to go and knew we had to address this issue” said Ken Maaz. 

Transition to adulthood is a complex process for all adolescents. Adolescents with complex medical and /or developmental conditions and their families have even more challenges maneuvering the adult world of health care, insurance, loss of educational processes, employment, transportation and socialization. Ashley House now extends its comprehensive supports and care coordination from infants, children, and teens to an emerging young adult population!

Federal Way, Washington

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