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Measuring the Impact of the Home Health Nursing Shortage on Family Caregivers of Children Receiving Palliative Care

Journal title
Journal of hospice and palliative nursing : JHPN : the official journal of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
Publication year
2018
Author(s)
Weaver, M. S.; Wichman, B.; Bace, S.; Schroeder, D.; Vail, C.; Wichman, C.; Macfadyen, A.
Pages
260-265
Volume
20
Number
3

The national nursing shortage translates into a gap in home nursing care available to children with complex, chronic medical conditions and their family caregivers receiving palliative care consultations. A total of 38 home health nursing surveys were completed by families receiving pediatric palliative care consultation services at a freestanding children’s hospital in the Midwest. The gap in the average number of nursing hours allotted versus received was 40 h/wk per family, primarily during evening hours. Parents missed an average of 23 hours of employment per week to provide hands-on nursing care at home, ranking stress regarding personal employment due to nursing shortage at 6.2/10. Families invested an average of 10 h/mo searching for additional nursing coverage and often resorted to utilizing more than 6 different home nurse coverage personnel per month. Families reported multiple delays to hospital discharges (mean, 15 days per delay) due to inability to find home nursing coverage. Respiratory technology and lack of Medicaid coverage (P < .02) correlated with the gap in home nursing access. This study examines how the pediatric home nursing shortage translates into a lived experience for families with children with complex medical conditions receiving palliative care.

Research abstracts