The Time and Effort in Taking Care of Children with Disabilities

At Sommers Roth & Elmaleh, we understand that parents of children with disabilities spend an inordinate amount of time caring for their children. It is for this reason that we often seek compensation for our clients for both the past-care they have provided as well as financial recovery for any future care services, such as Personal Support Workers (PSW) or Registered Nursing care.

Care Required for Children with Disabilities

In addition to taking care of other members their household, much of their time is also spent on tasks such as:

  • Attending numerous medical or therapy appointments;
  • Extra vigilance in supervision to prevent injury or monitoring for seizures;
  • Extra vigilance related to administering medications, meal preparation or feeding (feeding difficulties – NG then G-tube – through the night and in the day);
  • Extra-ordinary cleaning;
  • Co-ordination of therapy appointments and equipment purchases and maintenance;
  • Extra-ordinary care associated with physical and cognitive development; and
  • Extra-ordinary assistance related to communication difficulties, working with their child’s schools, assisting their child with social issues, or simply providing emotional support and guidance.

Academic literature and studies have suggested that these parents are not alone.

For example, in the article entitled “Time demands of caring for children with cerebral palsy: what are the implications for maternal mental health?”, published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, the authors concluded:

On average, mothers reported spending 6.0 hours per day on weekdays and 8.3 hours per day on weekends caring for children with CP [cerebral palsy]. For mothers of children who required assistance with mobility, the time required for caregiving was even higher. Their results indicate that it is clear that children with CP require a much larger proportion of mother’s time than other children.

The authors acknowledged that their findings may even be an underestimate of the time pressure and total hours of care giving time required for children with cerebral palsy!

Although with most children the care-giving burden decreases as the child becomes older and is increasingly able to care for their own needs, this is not the case with children who have complex needs.

Another study “Daily Patterns of Time Use for Parents with Children with Complex Needs – A Systematic Review”, published in The Journal of Child Healthcare, critically examined the research that quantifies and describes the daily patterns of time used by parents of children with complex needs. Three key findings emerged from their review and these were that:

  • Parents of children with complex needs carry a significant care-giving burden that often does not reduce as the age of the child increases;
  • Supervision or vigilance carries a particular time requirement for these parents, and;
  • Parents of children with complex needs spend considerable time undertaking healthcare-related tasks outside the ‘normal’ parenting role.

The time demands placed on parents caring for a child with complex needs is taken very seriously by the lawyers at Sommers Roth & Elmaleh. We never lose sight of the real-life implications that caring for a loved one has for parents.

In our litigation, we often seek to recover compensation for attendant/respite care to ease the burden of care-giving and ensure that our client’s personal care needs are always met. Our highly experienced and respected medical malpractice lawyers can walk you through the process of making a claim, and help explain what sort of compensation you may be able to obtain. Call us at 1-416-961-1212 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation.

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