Boot Camp for Caregivers of Children With Medically Complex Conditions

Julie Van Orne, Kaylan Branson, Mary Cazzell
AACN Advanced Critical Care 2018, 29 (4): 382-392

BACKGROUND: The safe transition of children with complex medical conditions who are dependent on technology from hospital to home requires that caregivers receive specialized training from qualified health care professionals. Inadequate caregiver training can lead to discharge delays and hospital readmissions, often resulting in caregiver distress.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of a structured boot camp-style predischarge training program for caregivers of pediatric patients with complex medical conditions.

METHODS: We conducted a quasi-experimental interventional study to compare outcomes before and after implementation of the training program, which involved 34 caregivers. Pre-boot camp data were collected retrospectively from the medical records of 34 control patients.

RESULTS: After program implementation, statistically significant decreases were found in mean unit length of stay (92 vs 60 days; P = .02), mean discharge training days (60 vs 16 days; P < .001), and median total parental stress score, expressed as a percentile (49 vs 45; P < .001). More than 90% of caregiver participants were very satisfied with the program. On the basis of minimal length of stay limits, cost savings were estimated at between $53 300 and $69 900 per patient.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that the training program is a valuable tool to track and verify caregiver education, reduce hospital length of stay, increase caregiver satisfaction, decrease caregiver stress, and reduce medical costs.

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