Role of Family In Enhanced Recovery Of Children

Children add positive energy and meaning to our lives. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching to see them suffer from a critical illness.

However, when families get the opportunity to work closely with rehabilitation experts while administering treatment, an enhanced recovery has been observed in children.

In recent years, paediatricians have witnessed early discharges from hospitals as a prevalent trend. Early discharge of young patients are done in order to minimise the risk of developing hospital-acquired infections and most importantly to reduce the separation time from the family. However, reducing the length of the stay in hospitals needn’t necessarily mean, the only option available is to receive post-discharge care at home. The risk of morbidity and mortality of children during the months following hospital discharge is high in developing economies. In conditions like cardiac, orthopaedic and neurological failures, 24X7 medical supervision is important, and children are more vulnerable to complications. Therefore, a comprehensive follow-up care provided at an inpatient rehabilitation facility is more desirable.

The following are the common conditions which require rehabilitation in children:

  • cerebral palsy.
  • neuromuscular disorders.
  • musculoskeletal conditions.
  • spinal cord injuries.
  • brain injuries.
  • limb deficiencies.
  • gait abnormalities.

Rehabilitation programs designed for the recovery of children are centered on their emotional well-being. Several physiological and behavioural changes have been observed in children based on the support and involvement of the family. Therefore, family is deemed to be a constant unit of care in the rehabilitation model for children. Hence, it’s crucial to educate them about the processes involved, care-plan and modes of implementation.

The following are some of the major benefits of the role of family in recovery of children:

a. When involved in goal-setting, family helps in making realistic and right decisions for their children.
b. Family knows the child well. They can understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses.
c. They can significantly help the doctor or rehabilitation expert by providing them insightful feedback, by observing the child closely.
d. Family adheres to the care-plan for the child, without any gaps.
e. They can motivate children to achieve more milestones.
f. They could help children recover during the rehabilitation programs to a great extent, without compromising on their safety.
g. Preventing recurrences is key for any rehab. When family gets involved, the chances of preventing complications is high.
h. Family can share the knowledge with school, where child might spend most of the day.
i. Family can build the right ecosystem for improved recovery.

Family is the key decision-maker for the child, and it is therefore essential for them to be part of a child’s rehabilitation to achieve the desired goals. Parents might feel isolated, and experience a sense of helplessness while attending to one’s own child, who is recovering from a critical illness. Rehabilitation specialists prove to be a great help at this point. Experts can empower families with specialised on-boarding sessions to help them drive the care-plan for their children. This way, families are empowered to help their bundles of joy tread the path of recovery, confidently and happily.

Dr Vijay Janagama is Director- New Initiatives, SuVitas Holistic Healthcare. He is also a health council member at Healthhunt.


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