There is some misconception that in-home nurses are typically only needed for older adults, seniors or the elderly with chronic conditions or health complications. While a home health nurse can be a huge support for the elderly–especially in cases of recovery after hospitalization, chronic disease or in-depth symptom management or pain control–they can also be an enormous benefit for children.
Many families with babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens who are medically fragile or need long-term medical support use an in-home pediatric nurse. This medical professional is typically part of an overall treatment strategy for the child. A pediatric nurse might be needed for short term (in the case of providing extended NICU services at home for premature babies) or throughout a child’s life (in the case of a chronic condition or illness).
Understanding the Role of a Pediatric Home Health Nurse
What is a pediatric home health nurse?
A pediatric home health nurse is a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse who specializes in caring for the medical needs of individuals under the age of 21. They provide care in the child’s home, which helps both the child and family receive the attention they need outside of a hospital or long-term care facility.
In-home pediatric care provides a sense of stability as well as a consistent, trusted presence for the child. It also allows the child and the family to experience as much independence as possible without losing the comfort of home.
A pediatric home health nurse spends as much time with the child as directed by the child’s medical care team and the child’s needs. The nurse may be needed from just few hours several days a week, to most of the day or even 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes the care is short-term and sometimes the child and family may know their pediatric nurse for years.
What does an in-home pediatric nurse do?
Pediatric nurses help children receive daily nursing or medical care beyond what other children typically need. Sometimes, a pediatric nurse may work with a family for a few weeks or months when a child comes home from the hospital after a serious illness or accident. Other times, a nurse might be required for a child with a chronic condition well into their teen years up until adulthood. Each child’s need for a pediatric nurse is different, and a pediatric nurse is used primarily for both monitoring and executing medical care for the child at home, as directed by their physician or specialist.
In-home pediatric nurses will perform many of the medical tasks they would in a hospital, doctor’s office or long-term care facility.
Responsibilities of a pediatric nurse include:
- Changing out oxygen tubing
- Monitoring, changing or cleaning out feeding tubes or preparing formula for feedings
- Taking temperatures and monitoring vital signs
- Cleaning wounds and changing bandages
- Administering medications (including injections), calling in refills, if needed, and monitoring any new side effects or changes from medications
- Supporting physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists in helping the patient complete their exercises or adapt to new routines
- Helping with daily hygiene and dressing routines
- Monitoring and tracking health and symptoms, and working with the care team to adjust medications or care protocols
- Changing diapers and keeping patient’s area and bedding clean
- Helping patients with daily tasks and play times (e.g. playing with toys, picking up play room, eating meals, reading to or with the patient, etc.)
- Taking notes, keeping track of patient’s file and helping to organize and monitor insurance paperwork
- Supporting parents and caregivers with childcare routines while on duty (e.g. running errands, helping with mealtimes, running loads of patient’s laundry)
- Monitoring all medical equipment and making sure it’s in good working order and working with the care team, parents and insurance companies to replace equipment when necessary
- Monitoring if and when the patient needs extra medical care, like going to the hospital or doctor
- Attending doctor visits while on duty
Private duty nurses for children often handle the bulk of a child’s medical care at home. They may train caregivers on some aspects of the child’s care, but their overall medical expertise is needed for the well-being of the child. They are often a necessity for children with chronic conditions, extreme illness or even children in end-of-life scenarios.
Pediatric home nurses play a vital role in a child’s emotional and physical comfort and treatment plan, while providing a structured routine that both the child and their family can depend on.
In-Home Pediatric Home Care Services and Nurses for Children in Akron, Ohio
My Family Home Health Care in Akron, Ohio offers home health pediatric nursing services for children. Our goal is for children to enjoy the comfort and routine of their home and family. Contact us today for an assessment and let My Family take care of your family.