Taking care of a child with complex medical care needs isn’t just the responsibility of Mom and Dad; it’s a family responsibility. And, it’s a responsibility that can be filled with emotional ups and downs for each member of the family, including siblings, who may not be as emotionally equipped to deal with the particular needs their brother or sister encounters on a daily basis.
According to the clinical report Home Care of Children and Youth With Complex Health Care Needs and Technology Dependencies by Ellen Roy Elias, MD, Nancy A. Murphy, MD, and the Council On Children With Disabilities, “The needs of parents in their roles as long-term caregivers as well as the unique needs of siblings of children with complex, chronic conditions and disabilities should be recognized, with appropriate referrals to community agencies.”
This means that parents of a differently-abled child, along with the rest of the core family unit, should seek out the support of a professional care provider in the community for help with creating customized care plans, proactively working together to plan and accommodate for the medically fragile child’s prognosis, and taking advantage of respite care opportunities whenever possible – allowing for a much needed break from care for both parents and siblings from time to time.
The report also states that, “Siblings of children with disabilities may demonstrate behavioral problems or academic failures, as they often assume caregiving responsibilities and may have unmet needs for parental attention and support.”
It is important for the child’s siblings to be able to express their opinions and concerns regarding their own personal responsibilities within the family, and parents should ensure opportunities to spend quality one-on-one time with each sibling as well, planning fun outings to the playground or the movies, or letting each sibling choose his or her favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner once a week. In some situations, siblings of children with complex medical care needs may also find counseling helpful as a way to voice their feelings and find needed support.
At Stay Home Care, we understand the challenges that families of children with complex medical care needs face each day, and we’re dedicated to providing not just the best home care for a disabled child, but the support that the rest of the family needs to maintain a healthy life balance.
Partner with Stay Home Care for as much or as little ongoing respite care as needed to allow yourself as well as other children in the home the opportunity to enjoy quality time together, with the confidence that your medically fragile child will be enjoying his or her own time with a highly qualified and experienced caregiver. Contact us online any time or call 615-964-7726 to learn more, and visit our Locations Served page to find out if our services are available in your community.