Now more than ever, modern technology is making it possible for infants and children with chronic, complex, or special medical needs to receive comprehensive treatment and care at home. For instance, children can now be discharged from the pediatric intensive care unit or PICU with ventilators, gastric tubes, or a tracheotomy. It’s a cost-effective way to avoid long-term hospital stays or chronic care facilities.
When it comes to pediatric home health care, it’s a holistic avenue for the effective treatment of children with developmental disabilities or complex medical conditions. Children who often require frequent or prolonged hospitalizations are usually in need of pediatric home health care services.
In this post, you’ll learn more about pediatric home health care, ideal candidates for receiving pediatric home health care services, the actual services offered, and the important benefits of seeking such kinds of treatment.
How To Know If Your Child Is A Good Candidate
Pediatric home care services are not for everyone. However, any infant or child who is under the constant supervision of a doctor, or is leaving the hospital with a complex physical trauma or chronic medical problem is a good candidate for home care services.
Here are some examples of pediatric cases that qualify for home care services:
- Premature Infants: Babies born prematurely, or between 24 to 32 weeks of gestation or pregnancy, usually have complications qualifying them for pediatric home care services.
- Infants And Children With Gastrostomy: Those who need special feeding through a gastrostomy button, also called a G button, or a nasojejunal or NJ tube, qualify for pediatric home care services.
- Infants And Children With Cardiac Problems: Pediatric patients with complications arising from congenital anomaly, congenital heart defect, or syndrome-related complications would require home care services.
- Infants And Children With Chronic Respiratory Problems: Patients who need to rely on a ventilator for prolonged periods or infants and children with traumatic brain injury complications, temporary or permanent tracheostomy, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or syndrome-related complications are good candidates for pediatric home care services.
- Infants And Children With Neurological Problems: Pediatric patients who have cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, or syndrome-related complications don’t need to stay in the hospital for a long time because they can be treated and supervised at home.
Benefits Of Pediatric Home Care For The Entire Family
Once parents and other family members understand how pediatric home health care works, it’s easier to embrace the support and relief they can obtain from a pediatric nurse or pediatric home health aide. Allowing your child to stay at home while receiving medical treatment provides enormous benefits for the family.
Here are the benefits of pediatric home health care for the entire family:
- Parents don’t need to commute every day or relocate to temporary housing to be with their children.
- Pediatric home health care reduces children’s stress because they get to see their siblings and pets on a consistent basis.
- Parents can avoid missing work, tardiness, or absenteeism, which can put the financial security of the family at risk.
- Pediatric home care services, like the kind Diversity Home Health Group can provide, relieve the hassle and stress associated with long-term hospital stays while keeping children and all family members comfortable and safe in their homes and local communities.
- The family won’t need to spend a hefty amount of money on paying daily hospital room charges. Also, pediatric home health care services are generally less expensive than hospital services, thus helping with the family’s financial situation.
- Patients and their families have more time to see and bond with each other at home instead of dealing with the stress, costs, and hassle of staying in the hospital for weeks or months.
- Infants and children show faster recovery when taken care of at home because of family support and less environmental stress.
What Is The Role Of A Pediatrician In Home Care
A well-coordinated pediatric home service is headed by a pediatrician who ensures that your child’s medical home environment closely resembles the hospital setting with comprehensive pediatric health care services.
Here are the key roles of a pediatrician responsible for in-home care:
- The pediatrician provides direct hands-on care to infants and children who qualify for medical care at home.
- Pediatricians help parents, caregivers, and the child in accessing and coordinating specialty care, family support, in-home, and out-of-home care. They additionally assist with educational and health care services, as well as other private or public community services important for the overall well-being of the child and the whole family.
- The pediatrician formulates all orders, acting as the leader of the child’s medical home team.
- The pediatrician prescribes and monitors necessary care in terms of medications, therapies, private nursing needs, and medical home equipment required. Regular updates are given to parents and caregivers based on the feedback of the medical home care team.
- A pediatrician can also act as a child’s advocate if you have problems getting insurance coverage.
Who Will Be Involved In Providing Pediatric Home Care Services
Pediatric home health care staff are qualified and trained to monitor and provide medical services at home. This will prove helpful in making better decisions for your child’s home nursing needs. Aside from the pediatrician, other additional staff members will complete your child’s medical home team.
Here are the types of staff who can provide pediatric home health care services:
- Registered Nurses: They are the primary pediatric home health care providers under the direct supervision of the child’s doctor.
- Other Health Professionals: The other healthcare professionals who can be involved in providing in-home care services may include speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, medical social workers, licensed practical or vocational nurses, nutritionists, personal care aides, and home health aides.
What Are the Services Included in Pediatric Home Health Care
There’s a wide range of services offered under pediatric home health care. Apart from rehabilitative care such as speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy, here are the other pediatric home health care services offered:
- Hospice care
- Personal care such as bathing and grooming
- Coordinating pharmacy supplies and home medical equipment
- Administration of fluids, antibiotics, intravenous nutrition, and other prescribed medications and therapies
- Tracheostomy care
- Respiratory support such as BiPAP, CPAP, and respirator or ventilator support
- Complex medical or surgical care such as chronic pain management and wound care
- Family education, support and training, including respite and psychosocial support
- Mobility and transfers assistance
What Is Your Role
Before your baby or child is discharged from the hospital or the chronic care facility, you’ll undergo training so you can also provide home care, along with the other healthcare professionals. In this way, you’ll be aware of the care plan or medical interventions your child would need to receive at home. Take this chance to express all your concerns and ask questions.
Here are the roles of the parents and other family members in pediatric home health care:
- Communication Facilitators: Parents or designated family members facilitate the communication needed between healthcare service providers, payer sources, and case managers.
- Health Care Support: If gaps in services arise, you should be ready to assist in wound care, tracheostomy care, enteral feeding, use of ventilators, nebulizers, and other respiratory treatments. Also, you should have the basic knowledge and skills required for intravenous line care and medication management.
- Emergency Support: If help is required in performing high-level functions, parents should be ready to respond and help, such as performing emergency medical services like cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. That’s why training is very important before deciding to bring your child home for medical care. Aside from being taught the skills to perform the required medical services, parents will also be trained to perform a basic clinical assessment, such as determining when a child needs suctioning of tracheostomy tube change.
General Tips When Considering Pediatric Home Health Care
Before making a final decision to switch your child to medical home care or pediatric home health care services, it’s important to consider a lot of things. It’s a major decision that would entail careful planning and preparation, not just on the part of the healthcare team or the primary caregiver of the child, but also the entire family.
Read some expert tips below before deciding whether your child should receive pediatric home health care.
- Your Child’s Medical Condition
While you may be eager to lessen the burden of your baby or child’s stay in the hospital, it’s also crucial to consider your child’s medical condition. Unlike in a home care setting, hospitals always have state-of-the-art equipment and supplies on hand, and round-the-clock doctors and other healthcare professionals to handle emergencies.
- Ask Questions
Talk to your child’s pediatrician to ask about the possibility of transferring your child to medical home care. If you have doubts, concerns, and questions, feel free to talk to your child’s doctor about it.
Here are some examples of pediatric home care questions you can ask your child’s primary care doctor:
- Do you recommend transferring my child at home and availing pediatric home care?
- What are the possible risks or consequences of switching my child to medical home care?
- How will my child and my family benefit from pediatric home care?
- What is the best mode of communication for us to remain in contact with you with respect to my child’s medical needs? Is it possible for you to still be my child’s primary care doctor, even in an in-home care setting?
- Can you recommend a great pediatric home care provider?
- Do Your Homework
Once you have landed on a final decision to bring your child home for pediatric home care, it’s time to research prospective pediatric home care providers. Remember that not all pediatric home care providers are the same.
Here are some tips when hiring a pediatric home care provider:
- Inquire about the company’s certifications, accreditation, permits, and licenses to provide pediatric home care services. It’s essential to choose a trusted, experienced, and dependable pediatric home care provider.
- Check the pediatric home care provider’s website to learn more about the company, how long they’ve been in the industry, client testimonials, and services offered.
- Ask for referrals from healthcare professionals, like your child’s pediatrician and registered nurses. These people are highly qualified to make recommendations based on their experience and background.
- Make sure that you get to know all caregivers, nurses, and health aides who will help you take good care of your child at home. Check everything about their background, including education, any criminal records, and work experience. You don’t want to entrust your child and family’s safety to complete strangers without conducting a proper background check.
Government Healthcare Programs Supporting Pediatric Home Care
Taking care of a sick child at home can be a drain on a family’s finances. This is particularly true for long-term and permanent cases, such as syndrome-related conditions. That’s why it’s important to also know what sort of help families can get from the government, including the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income Or SSI
It’s a federal program that provides monthly assistance for infants and children with special needs or disabilities. Once your child qualifies for Supplemental Security Income or SSI, your child will automatically qualify for Medicaid.
- Comprehensive Care Program Or CCP
With prior authorization, it is possible for the services not usually covered by Medicaid to also now be given coverage, wherein it could cover the majority of nursing hours.
- Medically Dependent Children Program or MDCP
It’s a Medicaid waiver program, providing qualified children with home care services so that they can be brought home and still avail medical services covered by Medicaid. The services may include adaptive aids, respite for the caregiver, and provision of support to allow an eligible family member to participate in child care. Once your child is accepted into this program, he or she is automatically qualified to receive Medicaid benefits.
Pediatric home health care services are crucial for the successful care and treatment of your child with special and chronic medical needs in the comfort of your home. Pediatricians, registered nurses, therapists, medical care workers, and other healthcare and child professionals work together to develop the best medical home plan for your child.
Pediatric home care services may include a wide range of services, from grooming, wound care, and mobility assistance to the administration of prescribed medications, enteral tube feeding, suctioning, and use of a ventilator and other advanced medical equipment. Aside from healthcare professionals, parents, and other family members also play an important role in a child’s medical home care to ensure successful outcomes.