Whether your child has been hospitalized due to an illness, injury, or for complications from a chronic disease, transitioning from the hospital to home health care is always an adjustment. For many parents, this is an overwhelming time. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ease your child's transition and give you peace of mind as well.
Depending on your child's condition, modifications might need to be made to your home before he/she can be cared for there. If a wheelchair will be used, you will have to make sure your home can accommodate one.
The room your child will stay in might also need modifications to accommodate any machines that will be part of his/her home health care. Make sure there are enough outlets, and that a backup generator is available in case of a power outage. In some cases, your insurance company can provide reimbursement for this expense.
It's a good idea to contact your local ambulance company of your child's situation ahead of time so you can review with them the best procedure if an emergency should arise.
You should also think about how you would handle an emergency disaster situation, such as a fire or tornado. Make a plan for how you will get your child to safety while protecting any life saving machinery that he/she needs to be with him/her.
Speaking of machines, you should always familiarize yourself with all medical equipment that will be going home with your child before he/she leaves the hospital as well.
Arrange for Assistance
In many cases, children will need some assistance from medical professionals as he/she makes the transition from hospital to home health care. The social worker at the hospital will go over in detail what kind of assistance will be provide and how often.
If possible, meet with the caregiver ahead and go over your child's condition. Discuss his/her medication and therapy schedule and whatever machines are needed for his/her care. Provide a journal near your child's bed so that different caregivers can keep notes to make sure communications are clear.
Have a Support Network
Providing home health care for a child can be challenging. Make sure you have a support network, not only of medical professionals but of friends and family as well. Sometimes the only ones who can truly understand are those going through a similar situation. A great source of support made possible by the internet is online bulletin boards where you can meet parents facing similar challenges.