Convenience amidst challenge: CentraCare’s Pediatric Services ease life for family from Brandon
Story provided by CentraCare
When you’ve just learned that your 2-year-old has an aggressive form of cancer and you have a 5-year-old to take care of and a newborn on the way, anything that can make things a little easier can have a major impact on your family’s life. For Adrianna and Kyle Sletto, who found themselves in that situation after their daughter Kaidence was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, that relief came in the form of CentraCare’s Pediatric Short Stay and Infusion Unit.
The specialized unit provides up to eight hours of care for children who need medical attention, but not a hospital stay. The unit provides a variety of services such as antibiotic infusions and specialized medicines, including the chemotherapy required to treat Kaidence’s condition. By offering this to children in Central Minnesota who would otherwise be forced to seek treatment in the Twin Cities, parents can get back to work sooner and patients miss less time from school.
“We much prefer to take Kaidence to St. Cloud rather than drive to Minneapolis for her chemotherapy,” said Adrianna. “It’s so much more convenient.”
The family lives in Brandon, so taking Kaidence to St. Cloud rather than Minneapolis saves three hours a day and avoids the hassles of navigating big city traffic.
Kaidence was first diagnosed with leukemia at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in December 2017. She initially required complex care for a mass in her chest and was placed in a medically induced coma and put on a ventilator to assist with breathing. Shortly thereafter, Kaidence began receiving chemotherapy at Children’s.
From the Sletto’s perspective, Kaidence’s care has been coordinated smoothly between CentraCare and Children’s Hospital.
“We’ve never had a problem,” said Adrianna. “The care we’ve received in St. Cloud feels like an extension of Children’s.”
Kaidence’s prognosis is good, but she’s expected to need chemotherapy for a total of up to three years. She first started receiving her treatments at CentraCare in January. Most weeks, she requires multiple trips to St. Cloud.
In addition to convenience, the Slettos enjoy the comfort of the CentraCare setting.
“We love it there because when Kaidence is there it feels like home away from home,” said Adrianna. “Everyone is so personable and since it’s always the same staff, they get to know Kaidence well and vice versa. The staff from Child Life Services [which assists and supports patients and families in their adjustment to the hospital experience] brings in toys and plays and talks with Kaidence. She loves them!”
CentraCare also offers physical therapy to help Kaidence adapt to the balance and walking issues that sometimes result from chemotherapy.
In addition to Kaidence, who is now three, the Slettos have a 6-year-old daughter and a four-month-old infant. Needless to say, the demands of three young children, one of whom requires frequent medical treatment, can be a tall challenge.
“This is another aspect of what we offer that saves a lot of time,” said Yvonne Leedahl, RN, charge nurse of the Pediatric Short Stay unit. “Without our ability to provide physical therapy, Kaidence would have to go to Children’s.”
“We couldn’t have done it without all the staff and people we’ve met along the way,” said Adrianna. “They’ve made it so much easier to deal with a child with cancer.”
To help fund the cost of cancer treatment and because she’s unable to work full time due to Kaidence’s needs, Adrianna created a business out of a longtime hobby of making custom, hand-painted wood signs. A&K Rustic Creations can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/aandkrusticcreations/.
Video created by Kaidence's Mom, Adrianna Sletto.