The impact of having a child with complex and continuing health needs on employment
Authors: Hewitt-Taylor, J.
Journal: Journal of Children's and Young People's Nursing
This paper discusses the experiences of parents whose children have complex and continuing health needs in relation to their ability to engage in paid employment. The findings are taken from a qualitative study of parents’ experiences of having a child who has complex and continuing health needs. The principal findings of the study are that having such a child often alters their parents’ ability to engage in paid employment and the type of employment they can consider. The nature of their children’s needs means that they usually need more opportunities for flexible and part-time working than other parents. In addition, the availability of suitable out-of-school childcare for children with complex needs means that parents are often very limited in the hours they can work. Changes in their employment status can mean a significant reduction in the family’s income, and changes in the ways in which parents perceive themselves and in how others perceive them. Service providers should consider the effect that the support offered may have on parents’ ability to return to work and, where parents cannot return to work, the loss of earnings that this occasions means families may need support to enable them to appropriately access the benefits to which they are entitled. In addition, where parents’ roles are significantly changed by being their child’s carer, nursing staff should be aware of the effect of society devaluing such roles on parents’ sense of self. While this is a small study, it contributes to an increasing body of evidence that should inform the delivery of support for children and their families.
Preferred by: Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor