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Abstract

In the 1980s home care, in contrast to hospital care, was reported substantially to reduce costs for third-party payers who provided funding for technology-assisted children. Savings were realized primarily because parents substituted for nurses, eliminating or reducing those costs. Third-party payers' savings thus were directly related to the number of hours parents assumed care. Because home care relies on parents doing some of the work of nurses, decisions regarding nursing hours must consider family factors in addition to medical factors. We evaluated the number of nursing hours 31 Minnesota families with technology-assisted children received, as well as the factors that determined the allotment of nursing hours. Most families (96.8%) received some hours of professional nursing care per day, and 16.1% received 24-hour care. Multiple regression, however, showed that family factors, rather than the child's medical condition, influenced the number of hours, with married, lower-income families with a younger child receiving the fewest.

Further discussion and study are recommended to understand more fully the impact family factors have on the allotment of nursing hours and home care costs.