Parents of medically fragile children cope with a myriad of challenges. For these families, it’s helpful to know that high quality pediatric home health care is available all day, every day, 365 days a year. Home health care services allow children with short-term or chronic medical needs to receive safe and appropriate pediatric care in the comfort of their own homes.

When a child has been discharged from the hospital, has an acute illness or injury, or has long-term disabilities or special needs, a physician will often recommend in home pediatric services as an alternative to facility care, to help children get the clinical care they need at home.

Pediatric home care benefits for the entire family

When parents understand how in-home health care works, it is easier to welcome the support and relief they can receive from a pediatric nurse or specially trained pediatric home health aide. Allowing a child to stay safely at home offers enormous benefits for the entire family. When a child is hospitalized, parents often travel daily or relocate to temporary housing to be with their child as much as possible. Siblings and pets may be far away, contributing to a child’s emotional distress. For parents, the cost of travel and lodging, along with missed work, can be staggering, putting the family’s financial security at risk. Pediatric home care relieves these burdens while keeping children safe in their homes and communities.

Before engaging in home care, a home health care agency will coordinate care with parents and the child’s medical providers to customize a plan of care. A quality home health care agency should employ fully-insured professionals, carefully matching them to meet your family’s needs. They should also be supervised in the home by a registered nurse clinical manager, who is part of your child's home health care team. The clinical manager provides oversight to keep the caregiver’s training current, and will regularly assess and adjust the care plan to adapt to a child’s or family’s changing needs.

Recognizing that each child and family is unique, home health caregivers may include nurses, home health aides, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers. Besides nursing and therapy, caregivers can provide personal care services to help children who need special assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, exercise, and even playing. Pediatric home health aides may accompany children to school or on school trips, or assist families with transportation, nutritious meal preparation, and light housekeeping. Home health care professionals can also be engaged for short or long-term respite care, allowing family caregivers the time they need to take care of themselves, as well.

Many reimbursement sources help families cover the cost of in-home pediatric nursing. BAYADA, for example, accepts most payors, including private health insurances, HMOs, Medicaid, and other governmental programs, and will coordinate coverage and manage paperwork and billing to give families peace of mind.

Choosing the right home care agency is a decision that may significantly enhance your family’s quality of life. Take the time to thoroughly research home health companies and ask about accreditation, hiring standards and screenings, training, scope of services, scheduling, pediatric experience, and reliability.

Keep in mind that home care nurses often become integral members of a family’s health care team and support system. Heather Fotopoulos, director of a BAYADA Home Health Care office in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says, “As a highly-skilled professional, the home care nurse is a wealth of information, security, compassion, and support at a time when parents need it most.” Working collaboratively with the family and the child’s medical team, the home care nurse can teach parents how to care for their children and cope with their new situation. They can also be helpful in connecting families to important community resources.”

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