BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Hospitalization-related nonmedical costs, including lost earnings and expenses such as transportation, meals, and child care, can lead to challenges in prioritizing postdischarge decisions. In this study, we quantify such costs and evaluate their relationship with sociodemographic factors, including family-reported financial and social hardships.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional analysis of data collected during the Hospital-to-Home Outcomes Study, a randomized trial designed to determine the effects of a nurse home visit after standard pediatric discharge. Parents completed an in-person survey during the child’s hospitalization. The survey included sociodemographic characteristics of the parent and child, measures of financial and social hardship, household income and also evaluated the family’s total nonmedical cost burden, which was defined as all lost earnings plus expenses. A daily cost burden (DCB) standardized it for a 24-hour period. The daily cost burden as a percentage of daily household income (DCBi) was also calculated.
RESULTS: Median total cost burden for the 1372 households was $113, the median DCB was $51, and the median DCBi was 45%. DCB and DCBi varied across many sociodemographic characteristics. In particular, single-parent households (those with less work flexibility and more financial hardships experienced significantly higher DCB and DCBi. Those who reported ≥3 financial hardships lost or spent 6-times more of their daily income on nonmedical costs than those without hardships. Those with ≥1 social hardships lost or spent double their daily income compared with those without social hardships.
CONCLUSIONS: Nonmedical costs place burdens on families of children who are hospitalized, disproportionately affecting those with competing socioeconomic challenges.
- Accepted June 14, 2018.
- Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics