CINCINNATI — A few months ago, Spectrum News 1 shared the story of Amir Keys, a baby boy, who because of medical conditions, has been in the hospital for nearly two years because of an in-home nursing shortage. But thanks to some extra help, Amir is now embarking on a new chapter.
Amir Keys was born in November of 2020 at just 22-weeks-old, weighing a little over a pound and had a survival rate of 1%. Although he beat the odds, in order to go home, he needed a team of home care nurses. But with there being a shortage, Amir’s parents, Kadijah and Kevin Keys, were left with the possibility of putting him in a long-term care facility.
“It was really restrictive visits down to almost, at max, two-hour visits per day to see him, and that was hard for us to grasp that concept,” said Kadijah.
This would have been a huge transition, considering how much the Keys used to visit him every day while at the hospital. Despite the uncertainty, Kadijah was determined to bring her son home, no matter what it took.
“I’m not giving up on my baby,” she said. “We are not sending him there, which was a great facility, but it was just like, we fought too long and hard to get to the point to give up now.”
At the time, Kadijah was also in nursing school in hopes of one day becoming a part of Amir’s care team. While balancing that, she took to social media to raise awareness around his situation and need for nurses.
“I got busy, and I started making social media posts,” she said. “I started joining all these groups with nursing and different parents and just continuing to post.”
Several nurses responded to her posts. But nearly five days later, she connected with home care licensed practical nurse Lauren Palmer. After a long, hard fight, Amir finally came home on Aug. 15.
“I kind of got emotional on the phone with her because I think she felt my frustration of needing to get my baby home,” she said. “And she came to visit him and she was the one to seal that deal for us.”
By 2028, home health and personal care aides openings are expected to increase by 37%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there may still be a shortage, countless nurses, like Palmer, are stepping up to help children like Amir.
“The length of time that he had been without home care was disturbing,” said Palmer. “I’m just one person, one case, but I wanted to help however I could.”
Palmer is one of seven nurses who are a part of Amir’s in-home care staff. Now that Amir is home, the Keys are able to spend more time together as a family, and it gives Kadijah more time to focus on her schooling.
“I am so grateful for these nurses because they are able to take care of business here while I’m able to finish school,” she said. “So therefore, I can join Amir’s team and become his nurse still.”
To learn more about Amir's journey, click here.