Improving Support for Care at Home: Parental Needs and Preferences When Caring for Children with Medical Complexity

Carolyn C. Foster*, Sara Shaunfield, Laura E. Black, Patricia Z. Labellarte, Matthew M. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: We sought to characterize the current supports used by parents to care for children with medical complexity (CMC) at home and parental preferences for additional supports to meet identified gaps. Method: Semistructured interviews were conducted with parents of 18 CMC. Interviews were transcribed then analyzed using a constant comparative approach. Results: Extended family and community offloaded nonmedical tasks, assisted financially, gave emotional reinforcement, and cared for CMC. Home health providers also directly cared for CMC, but access and quality varied. Government programs paid for in-home care, but eligibility varied. Parents wanted more paid home care but also more support completing nonmedical tasks, mitigating financial strains, and accessing mental health services. Discussion: Parents of CMC relied on family and community members to help fill existing gaps in-home care, but gaps remained, suggesting the need for more medical and social supports for the in-home care of CMC and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Children with medical complexity
  • family caregiving
  • home health care
  • long-term services and supports
  • private duty nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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