Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that families with children admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) incurred significant nonmedical, out-of-pocket expenses and demonstrated work absenteeism and inability to perform daily activities, with lowest income brackets bearing the highest burden.
In the single-center study of parents of children admitted to the PICU for 2 or more days, researchers found work absenteeism across all families was 78 days, with high levels of distraction noted in those who did work due to the emotional stress of having a child in the PICU in addition to financial stressors. The mean out-of-pocket expense was $127, which varied among families regardless of length of stay or income level reported.
"The study found several strategies families used to reduce these nonmedical out-of-pocket expenses, including skipping meals, keeping a car at the hospital to use as a storage place for food and clothing, and choosing to sleep at the hospital with a child to avoid additional costs of food and travel," said Natan Noviski MD, Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. "The study revealed a significant opportunity for PICU staff and hospitals to reduce the burden of nonmedical out of pocket expenses to aid families in these difficult situations."
Materials provided by American College of Chest Physicians. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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