New program providing care to sick children at home

Released 10/06/2024

Children and young people who are unwell now have access to more care options following the launch of the new Child and Adolescent Hospital in the Home Program. 

The Child and Adolescent Hospital in the Home Program, delivered by Canberra Health Services, provides child and adolescent patients access to healthcare and treatment in their own homes.

Patients can be referred to the program while in a hospital ward, outpatient service clinic or in the emergency department. Patients are visited and treated in their home by a team of experienced paediatric nurses who communicate regularly with the patient’s medical treating team. 

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the establishment of the paediatric hospital in the home program will mean children and young people who are acutely unwell can spend more time at home while still receiving high quality care from Canberra Hospital’s specialist paediatric team.

“A hospital stay is a stressful time for any person, particularly when they are away from their family for an extended period. For parents and carers, splitting their time between the hospital and other children at home creates extra stress,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

“This program supports children and adolescents to heal and recover in a familiar and less stressful environment, surrounded by their family.

“Home health care also encourages family involvement in the care process. By allowing family units to stay together, they can actively participate in a patient’s treatment and recovery without the extra stress of travel and separation.”

The program also facilitates continuity of care with nurses closely monitoring patients and intervening promptly if complications arise. 

This seamless transition between hospital and home can help prevent gaps in care and reduce the likelihood of hospital readmissions.

The program provides a range of services, including:

  • intravenous antibiotic therapy for cellulitis or urinary tract infections,
  • infusions that provide vital blood clotting medications or treat some autoimmune diseases; and
  • step down wound care before transitioning to outpatient services.

The program has the ability to lower the risk of immunocompromised patients acquiring infections by minimising their exposure to other sick people in hospital.

The program has been funded as part of the more than $15.8 million investment in the 2023-24 ACT Budget to expand the paediatric workforce and deliver more services.

The establishment of a paediatric hospital in the home service was a key action in the Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan.

“The ACT Government will continue to invest in paediatric services and the workforce to ensure Canberra’s children and young people have access to quality healthcare when and where they need it,” said Minister Stephen-Smith. 

Quote attributed to Shannon Reakes, Acting Assistant Director of Nursing at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children:

“Feedback to date from children and families accessing the service has been positive, highlighting the ability to stay in the comfort of their own home whilst receiving treatment instead of in the hospital.”

- Statement ends -

Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

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