Hospital unit bonds nurse and patient, changing lives forever

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) -- LifeScape is a statewide organization in South Dakota, providing a number of services to children and adults with disabilities.

And it was at the LifeScape Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls where a young patient met a nurse who would soon become the most important person in her life.

Four year-old Kaymbria suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at 3 months-old. Ever since then, life hasn't been easy. Kaymbria was admitted to LifeScape's Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. She was not quite four months old, and the plan was to get her strong enough to go home to a loving foster family. There, she made huge strides.

"She's able to walk now which was something doctors said she may not be able to do independently. She can run now, climb stairs. Fully independent with all that," Brittany Lux said.

Brittany Lux is Kaymbria's mom and for the last seven years, she's been a nurse inside the LifeScape Behavioral Unit. What makes this story unique is that Kaymbria came to LifeScape as a foster child.

"I did foster parent classes and got my certificate, licensed as a foster parent. My first referral was this 4-month-old baby who had suffered a TBI at 3 months old," Lux said.

Her connection with Kaymbria was instant. From there, she explained, everything changed.

"After time went on, I had built such a bond with her and knew it was meant to be at that point," Lux said.

It was so meant to be, in fact, Brittany adopted Kaymbria exactly two years ago: December 28, 2015.

"Sometimes I think, 'Where would she be? Where would I be?' It's hard to think about that. She's really made me a different person. She's helped me understand what's truly important and what working hard for whatever you need," Lux said.

Director of Therapy Megan Johnke says LifeScape services are unique in South Dakota, providing the only pediatric inpatient rehabilitation program.

We can see kids post-orthopedic surgery, after a brain surgery, after a spinal chord injury, motor vehicle accidents, head traumas, anything like that. We can do in-patient rehab. When they're discharged, they can continue their therapies in our out-patient program," Johnke said.

She says at LifeScape, you can find just about every type of therapy a child would need.

A child doesn't have to have a specific diagnosis, they could have a very small need to function in their community, school, at home all the way to children with very complex needs," Johnke said.

These services have made a huge difference for Kaymbria and many other South Dakota children.

"It takes a special person to do pediatric therapy. They can motivate kids to work on something that's really hard for them or that they don't want to do whether it be through a game, a special toy or make believe," Johnke said. "We will see kids for short periods and long periods. As long as they continue making progress and the family wants to keep trying at it, we'll keep trying with them."

They are services that have bonded a mother and daughter forever.

"It's given us the building blocks to get started. I don't even know where we'd be without LifeScape therapy," Lux said. "They've gotten her to walk, and she's starting to talk a little. She's doing a lot of stuff they didn't think she would."

For more information about the Inpatient Rehabilitation and Medically Complex Care, visit the attached link in the 'related links' section of this page.

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