Families Provide 1.5B Hours of Care to Special Needs Children

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Families Provide 1.5B Hours of Care to Special Needs Children
Families Provide 1.5B Hours of Care to Special Needs Children

TUESDAY, Dec. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) receive 1.5 billion hours of health care at home from family members, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in Pediatrics.

John A. Romley, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2009 to 2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, a nationally representative sample of 40,242 parents/guardians of CSHCN. The authors sought to assess time spent by family members providing health care at home to CSHCN.

The researchers found that approximately 5.6 million U.S. CSHCN received 1.5 billion hours annually of family-provided health care. Replacing family care with a home health aide would cost an estimated $35.7 billion ($6,400 per child per year in 2015 dollars). The foregone earnings from family care were $17.6 billion or $3,200 per child per year. The greatest amount of family-provided health care was for CSHCN aged 0 to 5 years, Hispanic, living below the federal poverty level, having no parents/guardians who had finished high school, having both public and private insurance, and having severe conditions/problems.

"U.S. families provide a significant quantity of health care at home to CSHCN, representing a substantial economic cost," the authors write.

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