When your child has complex medical needs, meeting their care needs is often complex. As their parent, you are their biggest cheerleader. You are and advocate and their support system. However, most parents find it challenging to take on the role of around the clock caregiver for a medically frail child while also meeting other household needs and maintaining a career and personal life. A professional pediatric home health nurse serves as a lifeline for parents faced with these struggles. They provide top-notch respite for family caregivers and the highest quality medical care for children.
While it is often easy to recognize the valuable role that pediatric nurses play, inviting a stranger into the home is never easy. Knowing they are the right fit for your family and your child is sometimes difficult to do. In this situation, it helps to clearly convey your needs, expectations and preferences up front.Many families start their search for home health care by consulting with an accredited provider like Salus Homecare Salt Lake City. After the initial interview, opportunities present to speak directly with the person providing care for your medically fragile child. When they do, it is a good idea to have an outline of the most important things you want to discuss handy to begin the conversation.
The nurse assigned to you will spend a lot of time in your home. Interacting with your entire family is likely to be part of their day-to-day duties. They also might spend time alone in the house when you are not home. To feel confident when this happens, make sure they understand your household rules. No two families act in the same way or follow the same rules. Therefore, it is a misstep to assume professional caregivers know what your expectations are unless you explain them.
Speak clearly about rules and boundaries. Plan to discuss things like what time you expect her to arrive and leave, which appliances you are comfortable with her using if there are some you prefer she not touch, whether or not she is to answer the phone and doorbell and how you feel about her joining your family at mealtimes. Having this conversation during one of your first meetings will help your nurse to feel confident that she is respecting your house rules and wishes.
Your Child’s Routine
When you are not home to assist your child, it is important that their normal schedule remain as consistent as possible. This includes wake-up times, bedtime routines, meal times and activities. Discuss these things with your nurse, and consider leaving a written schedule to help for the first few days. It is also a good idea to discuss them with the homecare agency during the initial consultation so you know they are implemented into the care plan. If your child takes any medications, make sure to review the dosing schedule for each one as part of this conversation.
Likes and Dislikes of the Child
A nurse’s primary duty is meeting your child’s medical needs. However, they are also charged with keeping your child comfortable and happy. To accomplish this, it is important that they understand your child’s likes and dislikes. These include favorite games or television programs, meal preferences, books, music and activities. Help your nurse understand ways to calm your child. Discuss how they like to be held, whether loud noises frighten them and what works best when they are frightened, anxious or upset.
Hiring a nurse and entrusting them with your child’s care does not mean they will take over. Have a conversation about the role you want to continue playing during times when you and the nurse are in the home together. Do you prefer to feed your child? Is the naptime or bedtime routine something you enjoy doing? Should your nurse consult you when making decisions about clothing, meals or any optional medications?
Are there siblings in the house who you would like to play a role? Will they help to calm your child or participate in certain activities? If so, keep in mind that the nurse is there to take care of your child with special needs. It is important for you to be available to supervise other children. Alternately, plan for a different caregiver to assist while siblings are participating.
It is normal to experience some level of hesitation when it comes to inviting a pediatric home health nurse into your life. Keep in mind that they are there to help you. Hiring a professional makes life easier for your family. Plan to have conversations early in the process. Then, continue to keep the lines of communication open at all times. This is the best way to ensure a successful relationship that truly benefits you and your child.