Study: RN Shortage Causes Kids to Stay in Hospital Longer Than Necessary

Most people equate home care with eldercare. “Aging in place” is vital, yes, but home care providers serve all demographics and myriad conditions, including medically fragile children.

The state incurs huge Medicaid expenses in the care of medically fragile children, whose needs frequently fall outside the parameters of insurance. Quick admission to home care is urgent for quality of life and Medicaid efficiency.

Nearly half-a-million children in the U.S. require medical or therapeutic services at home, but their ability to obtain services is especially susceptible to workforce shortages, as revealed in a recent study published in the American Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzing one sample of data found that home care nursing shortages were the primary reason why children had longer hospital stays. “Kids should not be hospitalized this long,” says the medical director in charge of the study.  

The study found that of 1,582 delayed discharges, more than 90% were directly attributed to lack of home care nursing availability.

This is the kind of analysis that demands attention in New York State as HCA urges solutions to the home care workforce crisis not only for kids but for persons with disabilities, the elderly, and chronically ill New Yorkers alike (see related story).

Underfunded reimbursement to home care agencies for pediatric nurses is a major reported contributor to the lack of pediatric home care access and potential consequences as depicted in the American Journal of Pediatrics report.