Home care services for sick children: Healthcare professionals' conceptions of challenges and facilitators

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Aims and objectives: To explore healthcare professionals' conceptions of caring for sick children in home care services. Background: Families often prefer home care to hospital care, and the number of home care services for children is increasing. Caring for children at home has been recognised as challenging for healthcare professionals in home care services used to providing care predominately for adults. Design: An inductive qualitative design. Method: Seven focus group interviews were performed with 36 healthcare professionals from multidisciplinary home care services. Data were analysed stepwise using a phenomenographic analysis. Results: Three description categories emerged: "A challenging opportunity", "A child perspective", and "Re-organise in accordance with new prerequisites." Providing home care services for children was conceived to evoke both professional and personal challenges such as feelings of inadequacy and fear and professional growth such as increased competence and satisfaction. Conceptions of whether the home or the hospital was the best place for care differed. Adapting to the child's care was conceived as important. Cooperation with paediatric departments and a well-functioning team work were important organisational aspects. Conclusion: Providing home care for children was a challenging but rewarding task for healthcare professionals used to care for adults. To provide care with a child perspective was experienced as important even though there were conflicting conceptions of how this should be done. Close cooperation with paediatric departments and teamwork were prerequisites that make up for the low number of paediatric patients and facilitate confidence and competence. Relevance to clinical practice: A sufficient number of referred children and enabling healthcare professionals to be part of the re-organising and implementation processes might facilitate the home care services for sick children. Enough time and good teamwork must be emphasised. Early referrals, continuous cooperation with paediatric clinics complemented with individualised support when a child is referred is desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2784-2793
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number17-18
Early online date2017 May 3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Nursing


  • Children
  • Conceptions
  • Experiences
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Home care service
  • Multiprofessional
  • Phenomenography


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