Since Ambassador is a new site this semester, we want to let everyone know what has been going on there so far. Ambassador is a long-term care facility for kids (and adults, but we work with the kids) located on 72nd and Dodge next to Creighton Prep. Most of these have tracheostomy tubes, feeding tubes, and some require oxygen and ventilators. The kids we work with are ages 6 months to 17 years old. Unlike different rehabilitation facilities that work on getting people in and out these kids are mostly here long term. This facility is not a hospital, it is the kids home, and the staff tries hard to make it feel that way. Each room is personalized to what the kid likes. As you can see above with the girl pictured, her room has art she has created, with help of her teachers, friends and family.
At Ambassador we do all sorts of activities. We like playing with toys, drawing pictures, painting, and reading stories. Sometimes we play in the play rooms, there is one on each floor. Each one has a TV for movies and shows, toys, and tables for books and games. Almost every interaction we have is educational. When we read stories we ask kids to identify objects and talk about what we are reading. We are helping these kids with important social interactions, with people other than their caregivers.
When reflecting last week the question was posed, “Why is it important for us to see this aspect of these kids life”. Our group said, “I take so much for granted, I can talk, walk, feed myself real food, have the blessing of speaking and people understanding me”. It helps us understand and check our privilege at the door. We also have parents who are involved in our lives and who were from the start. Many of the kids here are wards or the state, or have parents who are relatively uninvolved. The kids who have parents who are involved usually go home when their medical needs are decreased.
Unlike other facilities or hospitals the staff have very few boundaries with the kids. These nurses call the kids “my baby” and hug and kiss them frequently. They even plan events that they think the kids would like. There are weekly outings to places in town like the Omaha Zoo, Children’s Museum, and Movie theatre. This summer we even had a prom. Link below! It is so good for the kids to get this type of positive interaction with the staff. If they did not interact with the kids and just did their medical interventions, the kids would get no love. Even though most of the kids cannot communicate back to you, innately you just know that they understand the love you are giving them. Even though having such loving relationships with the kids makes the nurses, and our job harder, the benefits for them outweigh the hardships for us.