Caring for Medically Complex Children: The Role of In-Home Nursing

Caring for Medically Complex Children: The Role of In-Home Nursing

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Caring for a child is difficult on its own, let alone when there’s a health condition that requires complex care. But this is the reality for millions of parents across the country. Approximately 3 million children are medically complex, and the current healthcare system often fails to provide adequate support to these families.

As challenging as it can be to have a child with a complex condition, there are ways to make it easier on parents and guardians. A bit of reassurance, support and compassion goes a long way in keeping these families strong and whole.

If you are one of the many people caring for a medically complex child, we invite you to learn more about in-home pediatric nursing services and how they can support your child and family.

What is a Medically Complex Child?

“Medically complex” is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of medical conditions that require specialized care on an ongoing basis. Children who are medically complex typically have a rare illness that impacts their quality of life. They may also have several conditions at one time and be at risk for potentially life-threatening events.

Children with complex needs also tend to require more frequent and longer hospital stays, as well as around-the-clock, hands-on care when they return home. Some of the more common medically complex conditions are:

  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Functional impairment
  • Severe neurological conditions
  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunological conditions

What is the Difference between “Medically Fragile” and “Medically Complex”?

Medically fragile and medically complex are often used interchangeably, but they are different. A medically fragile child requires constant monitoring and assistance, though they may only have one condition. A medically complex child is also fragile, but they often have several conditions that impact their quality of life.

To say a child is medically complex, they generally have to meet the following criteria:

  • Diagnosis of several major medical conditions
  • In need of constant, high-intensity care
  • Potential risk for life-threatening events

How In-Home Nursing Can Support Medically Complex Kids

Parents with medically complex children face many struggles. They’re required to provide routine care and medications, travel back and forth to doctors’ appointments and take on the financial burden of healthcare, among many other things. As one can imagine, living this life can take a physical, emotional and financial toll on a family.

Fortunately, these families do not have to face these burdens alone. While no one can take away the emotional pain of having a child with special needs, support is available through in-home pediatric nursing services.

Privately owned and operated, Continuum Pediatric Nursing is one of the most trusted names in pediatric nursing, offering a highly skilled team of medical professionals who care for medically complex children. Here are some of the ways we can support our families:

Normalize the family home

Our pediatric nursing staff focuses on normalizing the family home. Many times, the families of medically complex children feel separate from the rest of the world. We aim to close this gap and offer a sense of normalcy for everyone, particularly the child.

Minimize the impact of the child’s condition

Children with medical complexity are living longer than years before. Part of this is due to improved medical care. In-home nursing services aim to reduce the impact that the medical condition has on the child’s life. This allows them to grow and develop and learn essential self-help skills that will carry them into adulthood.

Develop coordinated home care plans

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re receiving discharge notes, prescriptions, follow-up appointments, etc. from multiple doctors. Unfortunately, forgetting an appointment or a medication can lead to a life-threatening emergency. Pediatric in-home services help coordinate this care so that moms, dads, siblings, doctors and discharge planners can all work together.

Support the family unit

Continuum Pediatric Nursing delivers care and compassion in everything we do. We want our families to feel less alone and more connected to their communities. By easing some of the burden, providing optimal care and coordinating treatment plans, we can get the family working together in a cohesive manner. We accomplish this through education, supportive resources and compassion.

Common Treatments and Procedures for Medical Complexities

Complex health conditions are complicated. They can be physical and/or mental and require therapy, medications and hospitalizations. Continuum Pediatric Nursing most commonly treats congenital diseases, respiratory disorders, infectious diseases and cancer. Below you’ll find the types of treatments and procedures we offer to our young patients and their families.

  • Feeding tube in the nose or stomach
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Oxygen support or ventilator
  • Urinary catheterization
  • Cardiorespiratory monitoring

This is by no means a complete list.  In addition, we provide case management services for home-bound children and coordinate benefits, pharmacy and home medical equipment. By bridging these gaps, we make the home setting less stressful for everyone. Your child can also benefit from fewer hospitalizations and doctors’ visits, as well as have a care plan that travels with them.

Contact Continuum Pediatric Nursing

Improving the care and quality of life for medically complex children and their families is not impossible. To achieve this, there needs to be a higher standard of coordination and communication from the care team, as well as attention given to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of care.

Continuum Pediatric Nursing is Joint Commission Accredited, Medicare/Medicaid Certified and endorsed by most insurance companies, discharge planners and case managers. Contact us today to learn more about our in-home pediatric nursing services.  Call (800) 828-5659 or email us here.

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