Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Dorothy Brooten

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

JoAnne Youngblut

Third Advisor's Name

Sharon Pontious

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jean Hannan

Fifth Advisor's Name

Timothy Page


children with special health care needs, medically complex, medically fragile, family health and functioning, cost of care burden, time burden, prescribed pediatric extended care, medical day care

Date of Defense



Technological advances during the past 30 years have dramatically improved survival rates for children with life-threatening conditions (preterm births, congenital anomalies, disease, or injury) resulting in children with special health care needs (CSHCN), children who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who require health and related services beyond that required by children generally. There are approximately 10.2 million of these children in the United States or one in five households with a child with special health care needs. Care for these children is limited to home care, medical day care (Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care; P-PEC) or a long term care (LTC) facility. There is very limited research examining health outcomes of CSHCN and their families. The purpose of this research was to compare the effects of home care settings, P-PEC settings, and LTC settings on child health and functioning, family health and function, and health care service use of families with CSHCN. Eighty four CSHCN ages 2 to 21 years having a medically fragile or complex medical condition that required continual monitoring were enrolled with their parents/guardians. Interviews were conducted monthly for five months using the PedsQL TM Generic Core Module for child health and functioning, PedsQL TM Family Impact Module for family health and functioning, and Access to Care from the NS-CSHCN survey for health care services. Descriptive statistics, chi square, and ANCOVA were conducted to determine differences across care settings. Children in the P-PEC settings had a highest health care quality of life (HRQL) overall including physical and psychosocial functioning. Parents/guardians with CSHCN in LTC had the highest HRQL including having time and energy for a social life and employment. Parents/guardians with CSHCN in home care settings had the poorest HRQL including physical and psychosocial functioning with cognitive difficulties, difficulties with worry, communication, and daily activities. They had the fewest hours of employment and the most hours providing direct care for their children. Overall health care service use was the same across the care settings.





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