Parents of Chronically Ill Children Choose Respite Care Needs Over a Residential Rehabilitative Center

Planning residential treatment for chronically ill children and families

From 1992 to 1994, faculty at the University of Florida School of Medicine and the Institute for Child Health Policy surveyed families and health care providers of chronically ill children to determine what services would be needed and how they should be provided in a model residential treatment facility.

As planned, the treatment facility would to be linked to a residential camp facility run by the Hole in the Wall Gang South of Gainesville, Fla.

When parents indicated that a residential camp facility would not be helpful and that they were instead interested in respite care, project staff convened an expert panel of providers, third-party payers and families to develop policy and program recommendations for the service and finance goals identified in the surveys.

Key Findings

  • The parents indicated that a residential camp facility would not be helpful; instead, they were interested in respite care.

Key Recommendations

  • The panel recommended strategies in three areas:

    • System strategies: Develop cooperative systems for outreach, identification, and needs assessments across schools, healthcare organizations, churches and public health organizations.
    • Financing strategies: Obtain funding for studies of the cost-effectiveness of alternative approaches for chronically ill children, such as camping facilities, respite care and other supportive services.
    • Personnel strategies: Address liability and education issues while laying a foundation for holistic healthcare and acceptance of psychosocial benefits.