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A group respite pilot project for children with special needs

Background: Providing ongoing care for a family member or loved one with special needs is challenging. It is estimated that about 21% of the adult population in the United States are providing unpaid care for loved ones at home. Of that group, 5.7% are caring for children with special needs. Special needs can range from developmental delay to the provision of complex medical treatments. Family caregivers take on numerous roles to coordinate activities of daily living, therapies, in‐home services, school, and appointments. This is often a great source of stress on family caregivers. Providing the proper support for care to remain at home reduces the disruption to children and families’ lives (Carter et al., 2012). Methods: A pilot project was developed for children with physical, cognitive, and/or developmental impairment. This project was coordinated by nursing and physical therapy faculty and their students. Parents as well as nursing and physical therapy students benefited mutually. Findings: Our preliminary responses from families indicated stress relief from caregiving and benefiting from the ability to talk to other parents in similar circumstances.

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Public Health Nursing
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