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Nonprofit provides extra layer of care to families with medically complex needs

Pay it Forward:{ }Nonprofit provides extra layer of care to families with medically complex needs (Photo: KUTV)
Pay it Forward: Nonprofit provides extra layer of care to families with medically complex needs (Photo: KUTV)
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Families with children who have complex medical needs have a lot to juggle.

"These kids have an average of five medications, 16 doctors that they see a year," said Becky Oakley, a nurse practitioner.

Oakley started the nonprofit Brades' Place to provide extra help for these kids and their families.

Its motto is "Unique medical care for unique kids."

"We don't replace your pediatrician, we don't replace your specialist, but an added level of care for the whole child--mind, body, and soul," Oakley said.

Brades' Place offers services and therapies not covered by insurance at little cost to families. Those can include medical massage, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and more.

Everything is done in the home.

"We really prioritize not increasing the financial burden of a family," Oakley said. "They have a lot of co-pays, they have a lot of visits, they have other kids who also have a lot of needs as well."

Oakley says 40% of what they do can be reimbursed by insurance and the other 60% relies on donations to get covered.

There is also a number families can call 24-7 to talk to a medical professional who knows them and knows their medical needs.

Oakley knows firsthand what the families deal with. She was a foster parent for Brady Parkin--who she called "Brades"--who had cerebral palsy.

"His smile could light a room better than any kind of light you can think of," said Bill Parkin, Brady's father.

Parkin says Brady's mission in life was to teach people how to love each other. Oakley is carrying on that mission with Brades' Place.

"It's wonderful; she really is an angel," Parkin said.

One of the patients who receive this essential care is six-year-old June, who also has cerebral palsy and needs full-time help.

"It's like having 'charlie horses' in all parts of your body all day, every day," said Courtney Demmitt-Rice, June's mom.

She gets some relief with medical messages from a member of the Brades' Place team.

"It teacher her muscles kind of the right way to be, releases that pain, and increases her function," Demmitt-Rice said.

Demmit-Rice and her husband carry June up and down stairs every day, which can take a toll on their bodies. Brades' Place offers medical massages for them, too.

The whole family gets attention when it comes to assessing needs and services that Brades' Place provides. The nonprofit also hosts events for parents and siblings of patients to give them a chance to connect and support other families.

"It's very unique and I'm really glad we have it," said Demmitt-Rice said. "I didn't realize what we were missing until we had it."

Donations are important to this organization, so Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to help Brades' Place provide these services to families.

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If you want to donate, volunteer, or partner with the nonprofit as a business or a medical professional, visit the Brades' Place website or Facebook page.