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The Experience of Housing Needs Among Families Caring for Children With Medical Complexity

Background: Caregivers of children with medical complexity (CMC) face many stressors related to their child's medical condition(s). Financial stress and its impact on housing has been reported to be a challenge among this population. However, unique housing challenges specific to CMC, including disability accommodations in the home and housing space and layout, have yet to be examined in the literature. Methods: We conducted 20 individual semistructured interviews with parents of CMC. Interviews were recorded, coded, and analyzed by using thematic analysis to emphasize, examine, and record patterns of meaning within the data. Results: Eighteen mothers and 2 fathers participated in individual interviews. Two major themes and subthemes (in parentheses) were identified: (1) the impact of health on housing (housing preferences, housing possibilities, and housing outcome as a trade-off) and (2) the impact of housing on health (health of the caregiver and health of the child). Parents had preferences regarding the location and layout of their home specific to their child's illness and medical needs. In addition, parents indicated their child's illness affected their income and home ownership status, which in turn shaped their housing possibilities. The location and layout of the family home was often the result of a trade-off between the caregiver's housing preferences and possibilities. Conclusions: Housing outcomes among CMC are often the result of a trade-off between housing preferences and possibilities, both of which are influenced by the child's health status. Policy changes targeting housing accessibility and affordability are vital to support the health of CMC. 


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