May 13, 2015

Pediatric Home Health Care

Many aspects of caring for a medically fragile child can be a day-in, day-out struggle…every hour, every day.  It can be difficult, frightening and exhausting. Help is available, however. Pediatric private duty skilled nursing is more common than ever. The standards of professionalism and the availability of skilled in-home nursing personnel have never been higher. If you are raising such a child it is important to know what to expect from a private duty skilled nurse (PDN). It is also critical to know how to select the right PDN for your child. Epic is an industry leader in the field. What we know, and more importantly what our licensed nurses know and understand, is how to work closely and compassionately with both the child and his or her family to provide the best care possible.

So, how do you know if you need a PDN?   If your child has any of the following conditions, a PDN may be in your best interest:

  • Ventilator dependency
  • Tracheostomy
  • Respiratory disease or disorder
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • IV therapy
  • Medical transplant
  • Gastrostomy
  • Neurological disorder
  • Chromosomal abnormality
  • Cardiac anomaly
  • Endocrine disease or disorder
  • Quadriplegic / Paraplegic
  • Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Palliative care

If your child does fall into one of these categories, it is a good idea for the parents to know the process for getting approval for PDN care services. First, the nurse completes an assessment detailing the type(s) of care to be provided and their requirements in terms of time. The nurse will review the child’s medical history and answer any preliminary questions from the parents.

Second, the nurse creates a plan of care (POC) and submits it to the child’s physician. Once approved, the nurse sends documentation to the family’s insurance company, who usually provide consent for service care within a week. At this point, the rotation can be again. It is critical during this time for the nurse or nurses to build a close relationship with the family to ensure the best care for the child.

Needs differ by child so understanding the uniqueness of the child’s situation is of vital importance. Some of the more common tasks routinely provided by a PDN include:

  • Operating needed medical equipment in the home
  • Providing wound care
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Removing secretions
  • Documenting the ongoing treatment and progress of the child
  • Providing medical intervention

Of course, providing counsel to the parents is an important role for the PDN. Conscientious nurses teach parents how to better care for their child. Furthermore, nurses can help educate the parents when it is time to make decisions. The nurse should also help the parents understand the necessary safety parameters to be kept in the home. For all of these reasons, it is a great idea for parents to ask questions frequently.

Knowing what to look for in a PDN is the first step in ensuring your child is cared for appropriately.  These are a few things to look for when interviewing a PDN.

  • The level of experience, especially in pediatric care) of the nurse (or group of nurses)
  • Alignment between the needs of your child and family and the nursing care schedule
  • Reputable contacts for off-hour questions or needs
  • A willingness to teach you the “extras” that will better help you care for child

You may have other questions as well. Some parents prefer to have one primary nurse, while others enjoy the flexibility and convenience of utilizing a rotation of skilled nurses. Remember, if you utilize one nurse exclusively, you could find yourself in a bind should your nurse become ill or unreachable.

The Epic Approach

Since no case is the same, no form of care is ever identical. That is why we believe in caring for each child just as if we were caring for a member of our own family. We also believe that services our experienced, licensed nurses provide should be a benefit to the entire family.

We provide care services that match your specific situation: exactly the care you need at exactly the time you need. Contact us. We would love to see how we can help your child, whether you need us for just a few tasks or for more involved care. For more information about Epic’s pediatric private duty skilled nursing, please visit our website.