Home Care

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Many children who have a palliative care need are cared for at home. In this section Dr Maria Brenner offers practical advice on moving from care in a professional environment to caring for a child at home.

This is one of two types of "transition care" that a child who has a palliative care need may undergo. The other is when they move from a child care setting to an adult care setting. For advice on moving from child to adult services please click here: Transition Care - Moving from children services to adult services

At the bottom of this page you will find further links and downloads that will help you care for your child at home. 

Dr. Maria Brenner, Lecturer & Programme Coordinator Critical Care Nursing - UCD

Bringing you child home

Ideally, planning to care for a child at home begins once it is established that the child, with the appropriate support, could be cared for in their own home. This initially requires the main care team, the family and a wide range of health care professionals working together to identify the extent of support services required for a child to be cared for at home. This consultation phase is key to beginning the process of planning for home care and begins the process of establishing a trusting relationship between the parents and the various care services, as the parents begin to transition to being the primary care givers.  This initial stage can take a significant amount of time as a plan for caring at home is established.

Families have a number of support needs, educational, social, financial and emotional, during and after the transition to caring for a child with complex care needs at home. There are some very practical issues on which you as a parent or guardian can focus on, guided by your clinical care provider. This is not an exhaustive list but addressing each issue can enhance readiness for discharge and can form the basis of a safe and supportive transition. 

  • Understand what you are specifically responsible for in managing your child’s health at home.
  • Meet with your Public Health Nurse/Community Children's Nurse and your GP before your child is discharged home.
  • Learn what might make your child’s condition better or worse; know what warning signs to watch out for which might suggest a change in the child’s condition, and how you should respond to this.
  • Know your child’s medications and how to use our child’s medical equipment and supplies.
  • Know who to call if you have a concern - have a list of key contact information for all involved in your child’s care.
  • Have a written plan that describes how your child’s physical and developmental needs will be met, including access to appropriate support systems (transport, car seats, pushchairs etc.).
  • Understand the appointment schedule for each support service you will require after discharge. 

Main National Home Help Services

Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Further Information and Help