Parents' perspectives of the transition to home when a child has complex technological health care needs.
Larkin, Philip J.
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Introduction: There is an increasing number of children with complex care needs, however, there is limited evidence of the experience of families during the process of transitioning to becoming their child’s primary care giver. The aim of this study was to explore parents’ perspectives of the transition to home of a child with complex respiratory health care needs. Methods: Parents of children with a tracheostomy with or without other methods of respiratory assistance, who had transitioned to home from a large children’s hospital in the last 5 years, were invited to participate in the interviews. Voice-centred relational method of qualitative analysis was used to analyse parent responses. Results: Four key themes emerged from the interviews including “stepping stones: negotiating the move to home”, “fighting and frustration”, “questioning competence” and “coping into the future”. Discussion: There is a need for clear and equitable assessments and shared policies and protocols for the discharge of children with complex care needs. Direction and support are required at the level of health service policy and planning to redress these problems. This study provides evidence that the transition of children with complex care needs from hospital to home is a challenging dynamic in need of further improvement and greater negotiation between the parent and health service provider. There are tangible issues that could be addressed including the introduction of a standardised approach to assessment of the needs of the child and family in preparation for discharge and for clear timelines and criteria for reassessment of needs once at home.
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