In-Home Care For Pediatric Spinal Cord Injuries

If your child has a spinal cord injury, then they may require in-home pediatric care. Spinal cord injuries may be the result of a congenital defect such as spina bifida, or they can result from trauma. While some pediatric spinal cord patients are able to perform their activities of daily living, or ADLs, independently, others are totally dependent on someone else for their care. Here are some interventions an in-home pediatric care provider can offer children with spinal cord injuries.

PROM Exercises

If your child has mobility problems or is otherwise paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury, then their muscles may become atrophied. Because of this, it is essential that PROM, or passive range of motion exercises, be implemented. When spinal cord injury patients are unable to move their limbs through their normal range of motion movements, someone else has to do it for them.

Passive range of motion exercises are performed by the caregiver who actually moves the patient's arms and legs through their complete range of motion movements. These movements help maintain muscle tone and may even prevent painful contractions of the joints.

Dietary Interventions

The in-home pediatric care provider can also make sure that your child's dietary needs are met. If your child has mild to moderate swallowing difficulties as a result of their spinal cord injury, then the home caregiver can prepare mechanically altered foods as recommended by the physician. Mechanically altered foods include those which are pureed and chopped. If you do not know which food textures your child can tolerate, the physician may recommend a swallowing evaluation to determine if the individual is at risk for choking.

If your child's swallowing reflex is severely impaired, then they may require a feeding tube. If so, then the pediatric caregiver can maintain the feeding tube and the stoma, which is the opening in the abdomen where the enteral tube feeding leads to the stomach. The caregiver will also monitor your child for signs of aspiration pneumonia such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and fever. Aspiration pneumonia can develop in spinal cord patients when they aspirate the contents of their liquid tube feeding supplement into their lungs. 

If your child needs in-home care as a result of their spinal cord injury or other illness, contact an in-home pediatric care agency. The agency representative will answer your questions and address your concerns regarding services offered, available staff, and payment options.