RECENT YEARS have seen a resurgence of interest in organized Home Care programs as a variety of factors have spurred the search for alternatives to hospital care. Chief among them has been the economic burden of spiraling hospital costs.
Many programs have been devised to enable chronically ill persons in the older age group—the "home-bound" geriatric patient—to be supervised in their own homes. There are, however, special reasons for attempting to control the admission of children to hospitals. Illness is a time when a child becomes more dependent than usual and seems to need the security of parents and the comfort of familiar home environment. Even though enlightened hospitals now encourage visiting, many parents cannot take advantage of this for such reasons as distance and having to care for the other children at home. There is debate as to the amount of emotional harm caused by hospitalization of small children; most workers would say it does no good, and, in some cases, can lead to serious sequelae.
The Home Care Program for sick children at St. Mary's Hospital in London was started in April, 1954. One of us (A.B.B.) had the opportunity of participating in this program in 1961 while serving as an Exchange Registrar from Children's Hospital (Boston). It is felt that even though conditions in the United States and Great Britain may be different, there are enough similarities to make a descriptive account of the program of interest to American physicians.
The Development of Home Care Schemes
Historically, doctors looked after the sick in their own homes when private fees could be afforded.
- Received January 28, 1965.
- Accepted March 17, 1965.
- Copyright © 1965 by the American Academy of Pediatrics