Children who survive critical illness and their parents commonly experience physical, emotional, and cognitive conditions as a result of the critical illness. These effects can also include prolonged absences from school and/or work.
What has not been fully understood is the rate and duration of school absences among these children and work absences among their caregivers.
A secondary analysis of a randomized trial of pediatric patients hospitalized for acute respiratory failure has shed important light on the subject. Martha A.Q. Curley, professor at Penn’s School of Nursing and senior researcher on the study, found that nearly 70% of pediatric patients missed an average of two five-day school weeks post hospital discharge and half of their primary caregivers missed an average of eight workdays post hospital discharge. The findings suggest a risk for negative downstream educational, financial, and health outcomes for patients and added stress and financial risk for their parents.
“This study suggests that post-PICU school absenteeism is an important target for future interventions including understanding the barriers to school participation, development of interventions to mitigate absenteeism, and to help children catch up on missed school,” says Curley.
Read more at Penn Nursing News.