The focus of pediatric care has changed in recent years. In 2012, the National Institute of Health highlighted the trend toward family-centered care. This is an approach that recognizes and respects the value of the familial bond in promoting the physical, emotional, and psychological health of the child receiving pediatric treatment. Family-centered care is rapidly evolving, and to foster greater involvement among family members, a growing number of parents are choosing in-home long-term pediatric care for their medically challenged children.
The Principles of Family-Centered Pediatric Care: Family-centered care is essentially a partnership between families and health providers, which takes into account the unique culture, values, beliefs, and opinions of each family in crafting the treatment and recovery plan. The principles of this approach include:
- Recognition of Familial Importance: Family-centered care starts by recognizing and valuing the important role family members play in the treatment and recovery of medically challenged children. Health providers who adopt this approach respect the unique contribution family members make in promoting a healing environment for the child.
- Open Communication with Key Family Members: Family-centered health providers openly share information with parents and other key family members in a way that is useful, supportive, and respects the privacy of the patient. Open communication during pediatric care helps foster a stronger relationship between the provider, family members, and patient.
- Collaboration Between Key Family Members and Health Providers: Family-centered pediatric care goes beyond just communicating openly, it also involves parents and other key family members in the development of a proper treatment plan. With the valuable input of family members, health providers are most often able to develop better approaches to treatment that serve the specific needs of the child.
- Enabling Familial Support During Treatment: During family-centered pediatric care, parents and key family members are empowered to administer some control of the treatment plan. This, of course, is always done with the skilled guidance of a health professional, and the level of direct involvement family members have in the caring and treatment of the child depends on the condition being treated and other specific circumstances.
How In-Home Pediatric Care Supports Family-Centered Principles
Family-centered pediatric care is an approach that is most often preferred by parents of medically challenged children. And one of the best ways to support this type of approach is through in-home long-term pediatric care. There are many advantages to at-home pediatric care. This option is more convenient as it saves time and money traveling to and from a hospital or clinic to receive care. Children also receive more individualized care at home, because the provider does not have to move back and forth between patients. Patients tend to prefer in-home care as well because it is a more familiar and comfortable environment than a clinic or hospital.
Perhaps the most important advantage to in-home long-term pediatric care is that it is in keeping with the goals of the family-centered care approach. When receiving care at home, parents and other family members have an easier time staying directly involved. They can observe the progress of the child 24/7, provide real-time input to the health provider, and collaborate with the provider to make adjustments to the treatment plan when needed. This level of familial involvement is an important factor in promoting the well being of the child, and it is a factor that is nearly impossible to duplicate in a clinic or hospital setting.