Social isolation,United States dollar,Legal guardian,Home care,Special needs,1,000,000,000,Health care,Child

US families provide billions in unpaid care to kids with special needs

December 28, 2016
in Kids

Millions of U.S. children with special needs receive care from family members that would cost billions of dollars if it was instead provided by home health aides receiving minimum wage, a recent study suggests. Researchers examined data from a nationally representative sample of about 42,000 parents and guardians of children with special needs surveyed from 2009 to 2010. Overall, they estimate that approximately 5.6 million children with special needs receive about 1.5 billion hours a year of unpaid care from family members. In 2015 dollars, replacing this unpaid family-provided care with a home health aide would cost an estimated $35.7 billion, or $6,400 per child per year, the researchers report in Pediatrics. "Although caring for a child with special health care needs can be rewarding, the time and effort families of children with special health care needs must often devote to providing health care at home has been found to potentially create financial problems, marital discord, sibling issues, problems at work, social isolation, and regular sleep disruptions," said senior study author Dr. Mark Schuster of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Parents and other adults providing...

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